LAWRENCE WINS EXCESSIVE FORCE JURY TRIAL

On October 23, 2009, a federal jury rendered a defense verdict in a police excessive force case entitled Olvera v. Weidenkeller, CV 06-07585. Here, Orange County deputies arrested Plaintiff when they found him smoking methamphetamine in a car with an acquaintance. While handcuffing the male suspect, Plaintiff punched the deputy in the jaw and the deputy pepper sprayed Plaintiff. After placing Plaintiff in handcuffs, Plaintiff slipped the cuffs to the front of his body and somehow broke the rear window out of the police car and crawled out. After a struggle, the deputies re-applied Plaintiff’s handcuffs and placed Plaintiff in leg restraints. Plaintiff was convicted on a variety of charges and served four years in prison until his writ of habeas corpus was granted. The Office of the District Attorney decided not to re-try the criminal case, and this suit followed. It originated as a false arrest, malicious prosecution, and excessive force case. A number of defendants including the District Attorney and Sheriff were dismissed before trial along with all causes of action except the federal excessive force claim against one individual defendant. After a four day trial, the jury rendered a verdict in favor of the deputy.