Bankruptcy Shields Detroit From Exoneree’s Claims
Michigan State Police investigated the case in 2015, and Tolbert admitted that he had fabricated a sketch that had been attributed to [Davontae] Sanford.
Sanford was released in July 2016 and sued the city 14 months later alleging due process violations, malicious prosecution and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
He also claimed that Detroit endorsed the practice of handling high-profile cases by hastily arresting any available suspect while ignoring evidence that points elsewhere.
The city argued that it was barred from being sued as a result of its 2013 bankruptcy, and Judge Lawson agreed.
Eddie Joe Lloyd was an emotionally unstable man. Detroit police convinced him that if he falsely confessed to a rape/homicide that it would smoke out the actual perpetrator. Eddie was in prison for 17 years before he was DNA exonerated. His health was compromised, he died young. His contractual settlement with the City of Detroit called for police to record all interrogations.
Eddie’s settlement PRECEDED 14-year-old, developmentally delayed, half-blind Davontae Sanford’s coerced confession to a quadruple homicide by Detroit police. They did not record all of the interrogations.
If Judge Lawson knew the terms of Eddie’s settlement, he knew he was diminishing the deceased exoneree’s contribution to society, as well as making a ruling that likely wouldn’t stand up to challenge.
If Judge Lawson didn’t know about the terms of Eddie’s settlement, he shouldn’t have been the judge … judges are supposed to be impartial, not oblivious.
Eddie and Davontae had another thing in common, now-disbarred attorney Robert Slameka, who had unethically publicly stated that Eddie was guilty and who had unethically advised Davontae to plead guilty.
Slameka isn’t a common name. There was an Amy Slameka working in the Wayne County prosecutor’s Felony Trial Division office for much of this century. She also served the State Bar of Michigan Character and Fitness Committee. If they are related, and related as closely as I suspect, it may explain why Robert Slameka was not disbarred long before Detroit police decided to frame Davontae.
There are other Detroit innocents waiting to be freed. They will be treated unfairly at every turn, because Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy – Amy Slameka’s former boss – is still on the job, and still pleased with police that fabricate evidence.
Davontae Sanford was a disabled child, and Detroit police and Wayne County prosecutors plunged him into hell. Perhaps if this post is shared often enough, Detroit will belatedly honor its settlement with Eddie Joe Lloyd, and pay Davontae.