Trials & Litigation

After City of Detroit Ignores Civil Rights Suit, Federal Judge Declares Default, Awards $1.1M


The City of Detroit is facing a $1.1 million judgment in a civil rights suit, after failing to respond to the litigation and being held in default by a federal judge.

Caleb Sosa, who is now 19, says he was coerced at age 14 into initialing a confession he couldn’t read, to a murder he had nothing to do with, and held in juvenile detention for two years before he was acquitted at trial. His lawyer, Ronnie Cromer Jr., said he might well have been able to persuade a jury to award even more than U.S. Judge Sean Cox did had the case gone to trial, the Associated Press reports.

The city has declined to discuss the management of the Sosa case and why no response was ever filed to the 2010 suit, even after an amended complaint was filed in 2011 and hand-delivered to Detroit’s law department. The suit accused city police of faking Sosa’s confession and covering up evidence in his favor.

Related coverage:

Associated Press (March 2007): “Gang member, 14, charged with killing teen”

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