Christopher D. Roach
Case Allowed to Move to Trial Against Owsley County Sheriff and his Deputy
In an opinion and order released today, Judge Robert E. Weir determined that Defendants Kelley Shouse and Michael Havicus unlawfully entered the residence of Charles Harris as a matter of law. For this claim, the Plaintiffs will be allowed to present damages evidence to a jury in order to allow the jury to decide the amount of the injury. The Court also decided that the vast majority of Plaintiffs' claims will be allowed to go the jury to decide whether Plaintiffs' rights were violated, including excessive force claims that led to the shooting death of Charles Harris in front of his children and sister:
"The Owsley County Sheriff and his directly supervised deputy created a needlessly violent confrontation on March 22, 2017. A jury must decide several contested aspects of the case and the claims presented. However, the Constitution extends to Booneville. Sheriff Shouse and Deputy Havicus, in several concerning respects, showed little regard for the limits on police power enshrined in the Bill of Rights. The avoidable interaction between them and the Harris family, at Charles Harris’s home, cost Harris his life and surely marked forever the lives of his minor children. The Court finds a dispositive ruling proper on parts of the case, but the core must go before a federal jury." RE 93- Opinion and Order, p. 1.
After three and half years and much expense, Plaintiffs will finally be able to present their case in front a jury. The full 53 page Opinion and Order can be found below.