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Va. man whose murder conviction was overturned sues

Tuesday - 1/8/2013, 2:57pm  ET

CULPEPER, Va. - A man whose capital murder conviction was overturned is suing the Culpeper County sheriff, four other officers, a former prosecutor and an informant.

Media outlets report that Michael Hash of Culpeper filed the lawsuit in late December in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville.

The lawsuit claims the defendants engaged in a concerted effort to convict Hash even though there was not any credible evidence against him.

"Among other unlawful acts, defendants fabricated multiple witness accounts implicating Hash in the crime by (a) feeding witnesses information about the crime, (b) carefully coaching the witnesses in their false accounts, and (c) persuading the witnesses to lie by promising them favorable treatment," the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also claims the defendants suppressed and withheld evidence of their misconduct.

"As a direct result of defendants' intentional, bad faith, willful, wanton, reckless, and/or deliberately indifferent acts and omissions, Michael Hash was deprived of his federal constitutional rights, was robbed of nearly twelve years of his life and freedom, and sustained severe physical, emotional, and economic damages."

Hash served 12 years of a life sentence before U.S. District Judge James Turk overturned his conviction in February 2012. Turk cited police and prosecutorial misconduct. In August 2012, Turk approved a special prosecutor's motion to drop the case.

Hash was 15 at the time of the 1996 slaying of 74-year-old Thelma D. Scroggins, who was shot in her home in Lignum. He was convicted in 2001.

His lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for false arrest, malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, suppression and fabrication of evidence, and conspiracy to violate Hash's rights.

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