City Of Tulsa Disagrees That Audits Should Be Done On Past Crimi - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |


City Of Tulsa Disagrees That Audits Should Be Done On Past Criminal Cases

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

Tulsa will not be going back over old court cases in light of an $8 million settlement for a wrongful conviction.

The attorneys for Sedrick Courtney say the city should be auditing past cases to see if some convicts deserve to be set free.

City lawyers say they were making plans for a possible retrial of Sedrick Courtney for armed robbery, believing the evidence was still there to convict him.

They do not plan to review old cases, and they say they only settled with Courtney to avoid the risk of paying even more.

9/23/2015 Related Story: City Of Tulsa Gears Up To Fight Million-Dollar Wrongful Conviction Lawsuit

Sedrick Courtney walked away from court with an $8 million settlement, but his attorneys aren't walking away from the City.

They believe old cases should be reviewed if they relied on evidence taken from hair samples instead of DNA.

Today, DNA is the gold standard for prosecutors and defense attorneys.

The lack of it helped Courtney's attorneys get his conviction set aside.

Now Courtney's lawyers want a complete audit of the work of one lab analyst, who they claim manufactured evidence and came up with a faulty analysis in more than just one case.

"We worked in good faith to settle Courtney's case, and they roll in here and trash the reputations of fine police officers and crime scene technicians who worked for the city for a number of years, it's absolutely reprehensible,” City of Tulsa’s Gerry Bender said.

The city's chief litigation lawyer not only rejects their claim other cases are questionable, he believes Courtney's case could have been retried -- and prosecuted -- on the eyewitness testimony of the victim alone.

But in his first comments since the settlement, Sedrick Courtney says, "I hope they will look hard at their old cases to make sure other innocent people are found and freed."

Modern DNA testing wasn't available when Courtney was convicted, and hair analysis was used in the trial.

It's since been discredited and isn't used now by Tulsa police.

"Hair comparison, that was an exam done about 20 years ago, and now, that wouldn't even be an option for investigators to request," TPD’s Byron Smith said.

While Courtney's attorneys claim the hair was a key error, testimony from the trial wasn't nearly that conclusive. The lab analyst, during cross examination, plainly said the hair didn't include or exclude Sedrick Courtney.

And that testimony was only a few minutes of the trial, and that's why the city doesn't put stock in the notion that Courtney was wrongly convicted by hair evidence.

As for why they settled, for $8 million, it was a calculated move. Click on the Web Extra video and listen to Bender explain.

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