by Chet Hardin
Joseph Martinez, the young man who spent 40 days in jail due to some seriously flawed investigative work, has filed a lawsuit against the city and the police department.
We wrote about him in March:
Martinez was booked into the county's Criminal Justice Center on Jan. 12, 2010. For the next two weeks, he says, he didn't know why he was being held. Turns out he was facing two charges: one for dealing meth, and the other for dealing within 1,000 feet of a school building. He was looking at a mandatory eight years in prison.
In September 2009, Colorado Springs Police Detective Chace Passanante made an undercover meth buy from a man who identified himself as "Casper." Passanante described Casper as having "a tattoo on his left shin" with no reference to the man's size, height or eye color.
Martinez has no tattoos on his shins.
The lawsuit, which was submitted to the court by his attorney Daniel G. Kay, alleges that the police "failed to do the most minimal amount of work to determine whether the person in the warrant was in fact the person who committed the crime" when they arrested Martinez.
Martinez, who said he lost his roofing job during his incarceration, is seeking "a monetary judgment ... in an amount sufficient to compensate him for the damages suffered as a result of Defendants violation of his constitutional rights. Plaintiff seeks any further relief as deemed appropriate by the Court including costs, attorney fees, expert witness fees, and prejudgment, and post judgment interest."
You can read the lawsuit for yourself: Martinez_lawsuit.pdf