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Lawsuit against Ogdensburg police dismissed


CANTON — A $287 million lawsuit brought against the city of Ogdensburg and its police department by Wayne T. Oxley after he was acquitted of murder has been dismissed by a state Supreme Court judge.

Mr. Oxley, 47, formerly of Ogdensburg, filed the lawsuit containing 18 causes of action against the city in connection with his 2005 arrest in the murder of his neighbor Bernard A. Trickey Jr. Mr. Oxley won the appeal of his conviction at his first trial on the murder charge. A second trial ended in a hung jury. Mr. Oxley was acquitted at his third trial.

Named in the lawsuit were former Police Chief Andrew P. Wells and 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 was Steven M. Fisher, a detective with the city police during the murder investigation, and Detective Shawn R. Shaver.

The complaint against the city included alleged violations of his civil and constitutional rights, punitive damages and a loss of wages and benefits while he was incarcerated on murder charges.

State Supreme Court Justice David R. Demarest issued an 11-page decision Wednesday, granting the defendants’ request to dismiss the lawsuit in its entirety, stating that Mr. Oxley did not file certain causes of action in a timely manner while also not providing sufficient evidence to prove he was unjustly arrested and prosecuted. The judge’s document notes it is established as a matter of law — by a grand jury and a trial jury and the appellate court — that there was probable cause for Mr. Oxley’s arrest.

Attorney John J. Muldowney of Fischer, Bessette, Muldowney & Hunter LLP, Malone, the law firm representing the city, said the judge’s decision supported his stance that his clients followed the rules of the law.

“One of the major points that we made in this case was that the city of Ogdensburg, as a municipality, and its police department, didn’t do anything wrong that could rise in a civil complaint,” Mr. Muldowney said. “They followed the rules and had reasonable grounds to do what they did.”

Mr. Oxley said while he was disappointed in the judge’s decision, he was glad to move on.

“I gave it hell and it’s time to move forward with the rest of my life as I have done since my acquittal,” Mr. Oxley said in a statement. “It is time to move on to bigger and better things. Somehow, someday, someone needs to be held accountable for the unsolved murders in this county.”

Mr. Oxley has another lawsuit pending against the state for unjust conviction. A trial date is set for July 14.

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