Constitutional Law

Federal Judge OKs $97.5K Verdict Won By Goodwin Procter in Pro Bono 'Contempt of Cop' Arrest Case

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The chief federal criminal trial judge in Washington, D.C., yesterday rejected the city’s call for a new trial in a “contempt of cop” arrest case in which a jury awarded a woman $97,500.

Represented by Goodwin Procter on a pro bono basis, Lindsay Huthnance contended she had been unconstitutionally arrested in 2005 after she criticized a group of district police officers for hanging out in a convenience store one night, according to the Blog of Legal Times. The local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union assisted in the case.

Associate Jeffrey Skinner of Goodwin Procter said researching hundreds of arrest records helped the law firm make their case that the police department was arresting individuals without probable cause, an earlier BLT post reported.

The district’s attorney general, Irvin Nathan, is reviewing the decision by Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of Washington, D.C.

Arthur Spitzer, who serves as legal director of the National Capital Area ACLU, said he would be smart to end the case now.

“Attorney General Nathan complains about how attorneys’ fees are sucking the city dry,” Spitzer tells the legal publication. “The city could have settled this case years ago for a small fraction of what it will cost them now. And they could settle it now for a lot less than it will cost them if they appeal.”

Related coverage: “Sutherland Partner Sues D.C. Over Arrest and $35 ‘Post & Forfeit’ Fee, Seeks $1.2M and Class Status”

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