Court reinstates suit over California woman’s conviction
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A U.S. appeals court has revived a lawsuit against a Los Angeles police detective by a woman who spent 17 years in prison on a murder conviction before a judge declared her innocent.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Friday a lower court prematurely threw out Susan Mellen’s lawsuit against Detective Marcella Winn.
Mellen was convicted of the 1997 beating death of a homeless man. A judge declared her innocent in 2014, saying a witness who claimed Mellen confessed was a habitual liar.
Mellen says Winn failed to disclose that the witness’s sister had called the witness the biggest liar she had met.
The 9th Circuit said if the sister made those comments, they were key evidence that Winn should have disclosed.
An attorney for Winn referred comment to a spokesman for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office, who did not immediately respond.