Last week, a federal court in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, found that Chaunte Ott deserves a trial on his claims against the City of Milwaukee and the detectives who orchestrated his wrongful conviction for the 1995 murder of a 16 year old Jessica Payne. Mr. Ott was exonerated in 2009 after new DNA evidence connected the semen obtained from the victim matched the semen obtained from two other rape/murder victims, which was later found to match the DNA profile of the convicted serial killer, Walter Ellis. The court denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment with respect to Mr. Ott’s claim that they had coerced one of the prosecution’s main witnesses to falsely testify against Mr. Ott and then hid the evidence of their coercion in violation of Mr. Ott’s constitutional rights. In addition, the court found that sufficient facts existed for Mr. Ott’s claim that the detectives hid exculpatory evidence of another witness’s identification of the real murderer, Walter Ellis’s, connection to the Payne murder. Mr. Ott expects his case to proceed to trial next year.

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