Miles to get one trial, not two
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City police accused of beating Jordan Miles lost their bid to split the civil case against them into two trials Friday following a 90-minute, closed-door status conference on the case.
Attorneys for officers David Sisak, Michael Saldutte and Richard Ewing had sought to have one trial on whether the officers were liable and a second on the damages. But Mr. Miles' attorneys filed a brief early Friday opposing the two-trial proposal, countering that "evidence of [Mr. Miles'] injuries is inextricably bound to both the liability and damage issues."
Hours after the conference, U.S. Chief District Judge Gary L. Lancaster wrote in an order that he expects that a federal jury would "base its verdict on the law and evidence, and not on sympathy," and denied the motion for two trials.
"I think it's the right [decision]," said J. Kerrington Lewis, one of Mr. Miles' attorneys.
The judge did, however, throw out accusations of assault and battery and false imprisonment against the city because it paid $75,000 to settle claims against it. He also nixed efforts by Mr. Miles' attorneys to expand their malicious prosecution claims into accusations of denial of due process.
Mr. Miles' attorneys said that much of the conference was spent discussing the roughly 20 other pre-trial motions in which both sides seek to limit the evidence presented, but none was decided. City Solicitor Dan Regan declined comment, saying he would wait for the judge's rulings.
The trial set to start July 16 will focus largely on a few minutes on Jan. 12, 2010. The officers, on a plainclothes anti-gun patrol, have said they felt suspicious as Mr. Miles, then an 18-year-old senior at Pittsburgh's School of the Creative and Performing Arts, walked along Tioga Street in Homewood.
The officers have said they identified themselves as police, but Mr. Miles ran. The officers thought he had a gun, so they subdued him. Mr. Miles has said the officers did not identify themselves, chased him down and beat him.
Both federal and county prosecutors found insufficient evidence to prosecute the officers.
The city would still have to pay any monetary verdict against the officers.
First Published June 30, 2012 12:31 am