N.D.Okla.: “Actually innocent” plaintiff framed by ATF who served four years gets judgment for $5m

Plaintiff was framed by an ATF agent acting on behalf of the government because she and her family were believed to have escaped lawful prosecution for years. “Ms. Barnes was actually innocent.” The district court initially dismissed the case, and the Tenth Circuit reversed. Barnes v. United States, 707 Fed. Appx. 512 (10th Cir. 2017). Plaintiff spent four years in jail and pled to a state case in the meantime to concurrent time; the court finds only because of the federal conviction. After discussing the evidence and the law, the court finally awards $5m, less $300,000 paid by a joint tortfeasor. Barnes v. United States, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26614 (N.D. Okla. Feb. 17, 2020).

This protective sweep was justified. “Detective Payne testified that the protective sweep was necessary because in his experience of conducting undercover buys, it’s very common for other parties to be involved. When officers approached the house, the front door was open, and a firearm was seen through the open door. Officers were not sure whether anyone else was inside. The purpose of the protective sweep was to be sure, for officer safety reasons, that there were no other individuals in the house that could cause a risk to the public or law enforcement. [¶] TFO Douglas also testified that the purpose of the protective sweep was to ensure there were no other suspects inside the house. Because Wallace had entered the house to conduct the narcotics transaction, officers did not know whether anyone else was inside, whether they may be armed or whether they would come to the aid of the person just arrested.” United States v. Wallace, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26625 (E.D. Mo. Jan. 13, 2020).*

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