A man whose 1995 conviction was vacated after serving nearly 16 years in prison is facing evidence issues in a lawsuit he filed against the state of Indiana that were similar to those in his case.
Walter Goudy's conviction was vacated after a federal appeals court determined Madison County authorities had withheld evidence that would've cleared his name, the Indianapolis Star reported.
Now, U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker has sanctioned two attorneys for withholding documents from Goudy's attorneys as he fights the state for compensation for the time he lost behind bars.
Barker ordered the lawyers, Deputy Attorney General Betsy Isenberg and Frost Brown Todd lawyer Anthony Overholt, last week to repay any expenses accrued by Goudy's litigation team due to the withholding the documents.
Barker wrote in the ruling that a two-year delay to produce nearly 1,000 pages of documents was "both reckless and extremely negligent."
"Their inattentiveness and duplicitousness over many months and their lack of candor regarding the extent of their compliance with their discovery requirements when inquired of unreasonably multiplied the discovery process in this case," Barker wrote.
The judge didn't find that the failure was due to nefarious reasons, despite the arguments by Goudy's attorneys.
According to briefs filed in the case, Goudy's attorneys said withholding the documents marked yet another attempt to block their clients' path to justice.
They argue Goudy was falsely convicted of murder and other felonies because of the actions of Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings, who was both the detective who investigated the case and the elected prosecutor when Goudy was charged.
The issue comes after two bills that would compensate those who were wrongfully convicted, and thus avoid such long and costly litigation, failed to get committee hearings during the legislative session earlier this year.