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Man wrongfully convicted of rape cannot sue the victim

On Wednesday, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Jeffrey Moldowan cannot sue the woman who incorrectly identified her ex-boyfriend as having participated in her Macomb County rape in 1990.  Moldowan, who spent 12 years in prison before his exoneration in 2003, filed suit against Jane Doe and several law enforcement officials as well as the City of Warren.  The appellate court ruled that even if the victim (who suffered permanent and serious injuries in the attack) lied to officers as part of their investigation, she was immune from her ex-boyfriend's lawsuit:  it concluded that rape victims must know that they can participate fully in a police investigation without concern over future civil liability. 

Other individual law enforcement defendants were also dismissed from the suit, however, the panel allowed the suit to go forward against an officer who allegedly withheld exculpatory evidence, against the bite-mark expert who allegedly fabricated evidence and committed gross negligence, and against the City for inadequate training of personnel.  Moldowan's attorney indicated he would not appeal and would instead focus on the improper conduct of the remaining defendants.  An attorney for the City indicated it would appeal to the full Sixth Circuit in an attempt to strike claims against the officer who allegedly withheld evidence.

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