Gretchen Schuldt
Court Watch

County Seeks Overturn of $6.7 Million Verdict

Fellow inmate claims woman who won verdict wasn’t sexually assaulted in county jail.

By , Wisconsin Justice Initiative - Oct 24th, 2017 11:38 am
Milwaukee County Jail and Milwaukee County Courthouse. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Milwaukee County Jail and Milwaukee County Courthouse. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Milwaukee County is seeking to have a $6.7 million jury verdict tossed out based on the word of a man who sought $40,000 in exchange for his testimony that the ex-Milwaukee County Jail inmate who won the verdict never was sexually assaulted by a corrections officer at the jail, as she alleged and the jury believed.

Ivan Boyd later withdrew his request for money, but wrote to a lawyer who represented the county that “it is very unfortunate that you were not able to meet my previous terms per (ethical rules) in addition to you not being interested. With all due respect … one would think that you would be a little more appriciative of your newfound godsend (me) after your decision not to settle this matter with the plaintiff and crapping-out.”

The lawyer, Andrew Jones, of the Husch Blackwell law firm, said in a court filing that Boyd’s allegations provided “new evidence” that “raises a substantial question regarding the truth of plaintiff’s testimony, is material, is not merely cumulative or impeaching, and would likely lead to a different result at trial.”

(The county has alleged that Husch Blackwell had a conflict in the case because it was hired by the Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance Corporation, which has declined pay the verdict on behalf of the county, leaving county taxpayers on the hook.)

The jury’s verdict, Jones wrote, “should not be allowed to stand without a jury having the opportunity both to hear this important evidence regarding plaintiff’s claims of sexual assault and to decide which version of events to believe.”

The woman was pregnant at the time of the assaults. The man now saying the assaults did not occur says he is the father of the child. He also was the woman’s co-defendant in a 2013 armed robbery case. He was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in prison and 10 years of extended supervision. He is appealing.

The woman also was found guilty and was sentenced to three years and six months in prison and four years of extended supervision.

Boyd, in a July letter to Jones, said he and the woman “both ‘planned’ together that we would find the perfect ‘Target’  in the jail to ‘Set-up’ for rape in order to file and win a lawsuit against the County Jail.”

In a sworn statement given later, Boyd said the woman told him after they were both jailed that “she was going to ‘make them pay.’ By ‘them,’ I understood that Martin meant Milwaukee County. Martin went on to state that she intended to ‘make them pay’ by falsely accusing one of the guards at the Milwaukee County Jail of rape and then bringing a lawsuit against the County.”

Boyd said in a letter to Jones that he met and befriended Corrections Officer Xavier Thicklen at the jail. The two agreed that Thicklen would bring the woman food and snacks while she was in jail and that Boyd would pay him when Boyd was released.

“But in reality this was only a ploy to get Martin and Thicklen together alone on several different occasions so that later, when (the woman) and I decided that it was time for her to make the assault allegations there would possibly be some documented proof of Thicklen engaging in misconduct by calling her out of her cell for ‘fake’ attorney visits,” Boyd wrote.

The jury found that Thicklen assaulted the woman several times. Thicklen, who denied the allegations, did not attend the civil trial

Shortly after the woman accused him of the assaults, Thicklen resigned from his job. He later pleaded guilty to one count of felony misconduct in office. He was sentenced by Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Daniel Konkol to three days in the House of Correction. Konkol also ordered him to pay a $200 fine.

After attorney Jones expressed interest in Boyd’s story, Boyd wrote to him:

“I trust that in recognizing the equities here, in addition to yourself, your respectable colleagues, as well as your employer; do acknowledge and agree that some form of monetary compensation is rightfull in order and naturally expected in light of what all I potentially stand to loose as a direct result of my decision to cooperate with you – keep in mind I do share a child with … and she did provide us good statements for my appeal.”

He continued: “When considering the substantial windfall that is currently injeopardy of being wrongfully lost to a ‘CAREER SCAM ARTIST’ (the the woman);  I do believe $40,0000 paid me as compensation in exchange for my complete and effective cooperation in this matter is in fact a reasonable figure.”

Boyd sought $20,000 immediately and $20,000 upon a favorable conclusion to the county’s case.

He changed his mind when Jones said neither Husch Blackwell nor the county would give him any money.

“I am not motivated by greed only my desire to do what is right for a change,” Boyd wrote.

Gretchen Schuldt writes a blog for Wisconsin Justice Initiative, whose mission is “To improve the quality of justice in Wisconsin by educating the public about legal issues and encouraging civic engagement in and debate about the judicial system and its operation.

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