Sayles Werbner Helps Wrongfully Convicted Man Win Day in Federal Court
DALLAS – Attorneys from the Dallas law firm of Sayles Werbner won an important appeals court decision for a man who spent more than nine years in prison after he was wrongly convicted of rape. The federal court ruling will allow the man to continue his lawsuit against a police detective accused of manipulating evidence in order to get a conviction.
Dallas attorney Mark Werbner, co-founder of Dallas-based Sayles Werbner, called the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit a major victory for his client, Donald Wayne Good of Irving. Mr. Werbner says the ruling also represents a significant milestone for other exonerated men and women.
“This is a great day for Donald and any other person who has suffered in prison because someone on the outside wanted a conviction at all costs,” says Mr. Werbner. “By allowing this lawsuit to proceed, the appeals court has affirmed Donald’s right to ask a jury to hold somebody responsible for costing him nearly 10 years of his life.”
In his lawsuit, Mr. Good charges that retired Irving Police Detective Fred Curtis intentionally manipulated evidence and caused him to be wrongly arrested and convicted. Mr. Good was convicted of burglary with intent to rape in connection with a 1983 assault of a suburban Dallas woman. He served nine years of a life sentence before his 1993 release. In 2004, a DNA test found conclusively that he is not the man who committed the assault.
The lawsuit charges that Det. Curtis framed Mr. Good for the sexual assault because the detective didn’t think Mr. Good was cooperating in a separate burglary investigation. Det. Curtis altered a photo of Mr. Good so that it would more closely resemble the victim’s description of her attacker, according to the lawsuit.
Det. Curtis attempted to get Mr. Good’s lawsuit thrown out of court by arguing that he was exempt based on his role as a police officer. A lower court rejected that claim, and a panel of three Fifth Circuit judges affirmed the lower court decision, clearing the way for Mr. Good’s lawsuit to go to trial.
In addition to Mr. Werbner, Mr. Good’s legal team includes attorney Sean Modjarrad of Dallas-based Modjarrad & Abusaad.
Sayles Werbner maintains an international reputation as a proven trial law firm in complex business litigation, intellectual property matters, life-altering personal injury cases, product safety claims and practically every type of case that requires courtroom expertise. The firm’s work in a 2009 patent infringement lawsuit resulted in the largest intellectual property verdict in U.S. history.