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Oxley represents himself against the city that “burned him”

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Correction: An earlier version of this story gave an incorrect date for the denial to state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s motion to dismiss Mr. Oxley’s lawsuit against the state. The correct date is Dec. 19, 2012.

By W.T. ECKERT

TIMES STAFF WRITER

CANTON — The man who once stood before the court system accused of murder is now representing himself in a $287 million lawsuit against the city that he said put him behind bars unlawfully for almost five years.

It was Wayne T. Oxley’s time in the courtroom and working with lawyers putting together the lawsuit filed May 17 against the city of Ogdensburg that gave him enough know-how to successfully represent himself in state Supreme Court, he said.

Mr. Oxley, 47, formerly of 1022 New York Ave., Ogdensburg, was accused of beating his then-neighbor Bernard A. Trickey Jr. to death with a wooden baseball bat in 2005. He was convicted of second-degree murder in 2006, but a state appellate court sent the case back for retrial. A second trial in 2010 ended with a hung jury. In his third trial, in February 2012, a St. Lawrence County Court jury acquitted him.

Named in the multimillion-dollar suit are former Police Chief Andrew P. Wells and police officers Andrew D. Kennedy and Harry J. McCarthy. Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Kennedy both testified against Mr. Oxley during his trials. Also named in the suit are Steven M. Fisher, a detective with city police during the murder investigation, and Detective Shawn R. Shaver.

Mr. Oxley is looking to collect on alleged violations of his civil and constitutional rights, punitive damages and a loss of wages and benefits while he was incarcerated on murder charges that couldn’t hold up in court after three trials.

“It was OJT, on the job training,” Mr. Oxley said. “I have learned the law quite well over the years and I have chosen to represent myself.”

Mr. Oxley said he still hoped that an attorney would sign on to his case and said his search for an attorney continues. He said he even went as far as Staten Island to seek counsel.

“The lawyer and his partner decided not to get into it because it was too large and too much overhead involved for a payoff that might not even bring them a profit, if break even,” Mr. Oxley said.

He said the problem he has come across is that all of the law firms in St. Lawrence County are entangled with one another in some way, calling it a “good old boys club.” And the firms out of the area, like the one he approached in Staten Island, find the case too burdensome.

Mr. Oxley also represents himself in a lawsuit he has pending against the state.

The lawsuit against the state is for his time spent in state correctional facilities from Aug. 30, 2005, until May 23, 2010, when he was bailed out by his father. His lawsuit against the city is from the moment he was arrested by city police until his acquittal.

State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman filed a motion to dismiss against Mr. Oxley’s lawsuit, which was denied on Dec. 19 2012. That case is scheduled for a hearing in July 2014.

The city of Ogdensburg also has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit against it, according to WWNY-News 7.

Mr. Oxley said the law firm representing the city, Fischer, Bessette, Muldowney & Hunter LLP, Malone, filed the motion at the last minute.

Attorneys from that firm, along with Ogdensburg City Attorney Andrew W. Silver, did not return calls for comment.

But Mr. Oxley said he is not concerned about the motion.

“The state motion to dismiss I didn’t reply to, but this I am replying to and come Sept. 13, I will have my argument for the court,” Mr. Oxley said.

In his lawsuit against the city, Mr. Oxley wrote that he has been successful representing himself against the state in that his papers survived the motion to dismiss in the Court of Claims.

“(I) had hoped that the victory would convince the attorneys with whom (I) was speaking in New York City to take the case. However, that did not happen,” the lawsuit said.

Mr. Oxley wrote that he hopes to obtain legal counsel to continue the suit against the state as well as his case against the city.

He said he was seeking $120 million for “negligence,” “false arrest” and “malicious and unlawful imprisonment,” among other alleged violations of his rights, including denial of his right to counsel and attorney fees for representing himself.

He also is seeking $125 million in punitive damages and $42 million in lost wages.

Mr. Oxley said he arrived at that $287 million figure after consulting with lawyers and looking over other court cases.

He said that he went after the city because it “burned” him and that he wished only to be exonerated in the court of public opinion.

“It’s their doing. They have insurance policies for that,” Mr. Oxley said. “They have insurance policies for the police force and that should back them up. It’s protecting the taxpayers.”

“One of the problems in that city is that they have no policies or procedures,” he said. “I would hope that this will change that.”

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