Category: Archive

Feds renew bid to jail Conley

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Last August, Chief Judge William Young wrote in his decision: “Because the government has withheld crucial information, Kenneth B. Conley did not receive a fair trial. Insofar as it is in my power, he shall have one.”
But late last month, after consultation with the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office, prosecutors appealed that ruling.
Conley was convicted in 1998 of lying to a grand jury about what he saw moments before a black police officer, Michael Cox, was severely beaten by fellow officers who mistook him for a fleeing murder suspect during the early morning hours of Jan. 25, 1995.
A jury in a subsequent civil case cleared Conley of having witnessed or participated in the beating. That same jury found three officers liable for the beating and abandonment of Cox, but Conley has been the only one ever criminally charged in the case. His supporters claim that he has been scapegoated by prosecutors frustrated with the so-called “blue wall of silence” that surrounded this case for years.
Conley’s attorney, Robert S. Bennett of Washington, D.C., said last Friday that the government is “circling the wagons” around prosecutor Theodore Merritt, who did not share with Conley’s original defense team an FBI memorandum that revealed that a witness against Conley, patrolman Richard Walker, had said that hypnosis might help him recover his memory about events surrounding the beating.
“The case has gotten personal, and they are going out of their way to deny Ken Conley a fair trial,” Bennett said.
Conley, 35, who has a 34-month federal sentence hanging over him, lives with his wife in the suburban town of Norwood, where he works as a carpenter. Friends said that he is disappointed and upset with this latest turn of events. He now faces many more months of uncertainty.

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