On February 21, 2012, The Leto Law Firm filed suit against the City of Miami, alleging a violation of Ioannis Kralievits’ civil and constitutional rights. The lawsuit is the result of the City’s failure to produce material, exculpatory evidence about an officer that arrested Mr. Kralievits for DUI. This purposeful and/or grossly negligent failure by the City to provide constitutionally required discovery in a criminal trial led to a wrongful conviction of Mr. Kralievits. It was only years later, when a local news station unearthed the damning evidence against the arresting officer, that Mr. Kralievits’ conviction was vacated. Unfortunately for Mr. Kralievits, he had already paid significant attorney’s fees in his defense and had served the entirety of his sentence. Now, Mr. Kralievits seeks damages for the City’s violation of his constitutional ad civil rights.
It all started on June 10, 2011. Mr. Kralievits was pulled over by Miami police Lieutenant Jeffrey Locke. Suspecting that Mr. Kralievits was intoxicated, Lt. Locke conducted a series of roadside tests. Based upon these roadside tests, Lt. Locke arrested Mr. Kralievits for DUI. The case proceeded to trial. The only witness that testified against Mr. Kralievits was Lt. Locke. Based upon Lt. Locke’s testimony, the jury found Mr. Kralievits guilty of DUI.
After serving his full sentence, a WSVN investigative report broke news that revealed Lt. Locke had been suffering from a traumatic brain injury and subsequent permanent cognitive brain disability following two on-the job auto accidents in 1996 and 1997. The WSVN report found that Lt. Locke sued the City in 2003 for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act when they denied him accommodations for the Lieutenant’s exam. Documents from that lawsuit revealed that Lt. Locke had been involved in two on-duty car accidents in 1996 and 1997, which left him with a 10% permanent disability – a disability that affected his “thinking, sleeping, speaking, memory, learning and reading” and his ability to handle stress. Despite knowing about this permanent cognitive disability which affected the very faculties necessary to properly and adequately perform the responsibilities of a police officer, the City allowed Lt. Locke to continue to patrol the streets of Miami and make thousands of arrests over a twelve-year period.
When Mr. Kralievits learned that the City and State never provided this information regarding Lt. Locke’s cognitive deficits prior to trial, he hired criminal defense firm Hirschhorn and Bieber, P.A. to have his conviction vacated for the violation of his right to receive such material exculpatory evidence under the Fourteenth Amendment and Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). On January 4, 2013, Mr. Kralievits’ conviction and sentence were thrown out. His criminal attorneys argued that the City and State had a duty and obligation to provide this information about Lt. Locke prior to trial. Why was this information so important? Because clearly his attorneys could have convinced the jury that Lt. Locke was unable to effectively determine whether Mr. Kralievits was intoxicated based upon his traumatic and permanent brain injury. The decision to withhold this information amounted to a clear violation of Mr. Kralievits’ constitutional rights.
As a result of the City’s misconduct, Mr. Kralievits has filed suit in federal court. The lawsuit alleges that the City of Miami knew, as early as 1998, that Lt. Locke suffered from this permanent cognitive brain disability, but purposefully withheld this information from the State Attorney’s Office so it would not be turned over to criminal defendants arrested by Lt. Locke. As a result of this conduct by the City, Mr. Kralievits’ constitutional right to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was violated. The lawsuit seeks damages from the City for the violation of Mr. Kralievits’ civil rights.
WSVN reported on Mr. Kralievits’ case, which can be found here: http://www.wsvn.com/features/articles/carmelcase/MI97085/. The original report by WSVN can be found here: http://www.wsvn.com/features/articles/carmelcase/MI96153/.
The Leto Law Firm is a Miami personal injury law firm specializing in representing victims of civil rights violations, medical malpractice, products liability, traumatic brain injury, auto accidents and business disputes.