Judge won’t reinstate wrongful conviction verdict against C. Bluffs


February 21st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A federal judge has refused to reinstate a verdict that favored the city of Council Bluffs and two former police detectives sued in a wrongful conviction lawsuit that ended in a mistrial. Terry Harrington and Curtis McGhee, both of Omaha, sued the city and the retired officers in 2005, claiming the officers coerced witnesses and hid evidence during their 1978 trials.  Harrington and McGhee went to prison but were released in 2003 after the courts found their constitutional rights were violated.

A jury returned Dec. 14 with a verdict favoring the city and the officers but three jurors indicated they did not agree with it. Judge Robert Pratt declared mistrial because the verdict wasn’t unanimous.  Attorneys for the city and officers asked Pratt to reinstate the verdict. In a ruling Wednesday, he declined.