March 31, 2006
The conduct by the Charlottesville Police Department during the serial rapist investigation was once again challenged today--this time in federal court in a civil lawsuit. Attorneys for the City of Charlottesville brought forward a motion in federal court to try and throw the case out, claiming the trial had already come to a decision in the state's courts, and therefore was not a federal matter.
Attorney's for both the City of Charlottesville and plaintiff Larry Monroe had a hearing today concerning Monroe's civil suit against the City. The question, whether or not Charlottesville's General District Court decision against Monroe should affect the federal case.
"Our position was that because Virginia allows for you to appeal a case in General District Court to Circuit Court, that nullifies the initial decision and therefore it's not binding in the State Courts and should not be binding in the Federal Court either," said Monroe's attorney Neal Walters.
Back in January of 2005, a General District Court judge ruled against Monroe's claim that his rights were violated after Detective James Mooney asked for a DNA sample to rule him out of the search for the serial rapist. Monroe's attorney later appealed the case but dropped that appeal in favor of a federal class action suit. He is seeking $15,000 in damages, a number that Walters says seems fair.
"What would you put on the dollar value of being singled out to provide a DNA sample to prove that you are not a serial rapist based solely on the color of your skin? A lot of people would say $15,000 doesn't come anywhere near to doing that," he said.
If the federal judge, Judge Moon rules in favor of Monroe, attorneys will next ask for a certification of the class action status for the suit. From there, it should take 9 months to a year to get to trial.