Court rules against officers in Kansas wrongful conviction

Nov 16, 2022, 2:13 PM | Updated: 2:32 pm

A federal appeals court has rejected an appeal by several Kansas law enforcement officers who were seeking qualified immunity for their roles in the arrest and prosecution of a man who was wrongfully convicted of killing a young girl.

Floyd Bledsoe spent 16 years in prison after being convicted of killing 14-year-old Camille Arfmann in November 1999 in rural Jefferson County, Kansas.

Floyd Bledsoe’s brother, Tom, was originally charged with murder after he confessed and led authorities to the body. But those charges were dropped and Floyd Bledsoe was arrested. He was convicted in 2000 of murder, kidnapping and indecent liberties with a child and sentenced to life in prison.

His brother committed suicide in 2015 after writing a note confessing to killing the girl. The charges against Floyd Bledsoe were dismissed and he was released from prison later that year after DNA evidence showed he could not have been the killer.

Bledsoe filed a federal lawsuit in 2016 against 10 defendants, including Jefferson County law enforcement officers and Kansas Bureau of Investigation agents, alleging they violated his civil rights by fabricating and suppressing evidence that would have proved his innocence.

The defendants appealed a U.S. District Court judge’s decision allowing Bledsoe’s lawsuit to proceed. They contended they should have qualified immunity in the case, and that Bledsoe had failed to show his rights were violated.

Qualified immunity generally protects public officials from personal liability if they acted on good faith at the time of their actions.

On Tuesday, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the law officers’ argument for qualified immunity and their motion to dismiss the case.

“We conclude that Bledsoe adequately alleged that each appellant participated in depriving him of his constitutional rights,” the appeals court’s decision said.

Ruth Brown, one of Bledsoe’s attorneys, said in an email Wednesday that they are pleased with the appellate court’s decision.

“We hope that the parties will now resume the fact-finding process of discovery without additional delay,” Brown said. “Mr. Bledsoe looks forward to getting a trial and holding Defendants accountable for causing his wrongful conviction.”

Attorneys for the defendants did not immediately return messages seeking comment on the ruling.

In 2019, the state agreed to pay Bledsoe $1.03 million under a mistaken conviction law.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Flowers and candles are placed around crosses on May 28, 2022, at a memorial outside Robb El...
Associated Press

Uvalde shooting victims seek $27B, class action in lawsuit

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Victims of the Uvalde school shooting that left 21 people dead have filed a lawsuit seeking $27 billion against local and state police, the city and other school and law enforcement officials for failing to follow active shooter protocol because authorities waited more than an hour to confront the attacker inside […]
20 hours ago
The Democratic National Committee Rules and Bylaws Committee discuss proposed changes to the primar...
Associated Press

Dems move to make South Carolina, not Iowa, 1st voting state

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats voted Friday to remove Iowa as the leadoff state on the presidential nominating calendar and replace it with South Carolina starting in 2024, a dramatic shakeup championed by President Joe Biden to better reflect the party’s deeply diverse electorate. The Democratic National Committee’s rule-making arm made the move to strip Iowa […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

GOP’s Joe Kent contests results of Washington state race

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — Republican Joe Kent’s campaign said Friday it intends to request a machine ballot recount of the counties within southwest Washington state’s 3rd Congressional District. “We believe the election workers did their best to ensure a fair election and count the ballots accurately,” his campaign said in a statement. “But given the […]
20 hours ago
FILE - In this May 24, 2004 file photo, a Mount Graham red squirrel darts through trees on Mount Gr...
Associated Press

Endangered red squirrel found in Arizona sees increase in population

The latest survey shows another increase in the population of the endangered Mount Graham red squirrel in the Pinaleno Mountains of Arizona.
20 hours ago
FILE - Johnny Hincapie raises his fist as he leaves the courthouse in New York, Jan. 25, 2017. Atto...
Associated Press

Man to receive almost $18 million for wrongful NY conviction

A man who was freed in 2015 after spending a quarter-century in prison for an infamous tourist killing will receive nearly $18 million in legal settlements from the city and state of New York, his attorneys confirmed Friday. Lawyers for Johnny Hincapie said it marks one of the largest settlements for a wrongful conviction in […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Mamie King-Chalmers, woman in civil rights photo, dies at 81

DETROIT (AP) — Mamie King-Chalmers, who as a young Black woman appeared in an iconic photo about civil rights struggles in Alabama, has died at the age of 81. She died Tuesday in Detroit, her home since the 1970s, daughter Lasuria Allman said. A cause wasn’t disclosed. King-Chalmers, 21 at the time, was one of […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Court rules against officers in Kansas wrongful conviction