Lovelace Case

City files updated response to Lovelace lawsuit

Curtis Lovelace
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Nov. 28, 2017 5:55 pm Updated: Nov. 28, 2017 6:13 pm

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Attorneys representing the city of Quincy have filed an updated response to the federal lawsuit brought by Curtis Lovelace and his family after his March acquittal on a first-degree murder charge.

Special prosecutors from the murder trial have also filed a motion to quash subpoenas to provide depositions in the case.

In its response filed Monday, the city denied the allegations in the 11-count lawsuit that the Lovelaces filed in May. Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Sue Myerscough denied the city's attorneys' motion to dismiss 10 of the 11 charges in the lawsuit.

It also stated that officers with the Quincy Police Department are entitled to qualified immunity because their actions did not violate any of the Lovelaces' constitutional rights and they are immune from liability under the Illinois Tort Immunity Act because they were engaged in the execution or enforcement of the law. The city filing also stated that the city is immune from liable for any injury from an act or omission of its employee where the employee is not liable.

This is similar to the response filed by Adams County in June. The county, along with State's Attorney Gary Farha and Coroner Jim Keller, were named in the Lovelaces' lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that Lovelace was deprived of due process, was the subject of malicious prosecution, and was deprived of his constitutional rights. It also alleges that his sons Logan, Lincoln and Larson were detained at school and illegally questioned by police without a parent present during the investigation into the death of Curtis Lovelace's first wife, Cory. The lawsuit does not list an amount the Lovelaces are seeking.

Lovelace, a former Adams County assistant state's attorney and Quincy School Board president, was found not guilty by a Sangamon County jury March 10 in connection with the Feb. 14, 2006, death of Cory Lovelace. It was the second time he was tried in the case. An Adams County jury was unable to reach a verdict after two days of deliberations in February 2016, and a mistrial was declared.

The lawsuit also names Quincy police Detective Gibson, Police Chief Rob Copley, Sgt. John Summers, Detective Anjanette Biswell and unknown Quincy police officers.

In motions filed Nov. 15, special prosecutors Ed Parkinson and David Robinson, of the state's attorneys appellate prosecutor, say prosecutors have been protected from subpoenas and trial testimony by the silent witness doctrine. In their motion, they surmised that the plaintiffs in the case want to depose them on the nature of their conversations and interactions with Gibson.

"Those interactions, including discussions about particular emails that became the subject of cross-examination were thoroughly vetted in chambers with a court reporter present at plaintiff's state criminal trial," the motion reads. "At the conclusion of those hearings, these same attorneys representing plaintiff here, accepted the people's proffer as to the details and circumstances involved -- indeed, these same attorneys and plaintiff drafted a stipulation to that end."

During Lovelace's second trial, the two sides agreed to stipulations that Gibson and the Quincy Police Department failed to turn over communications with some pathologists and Lovelace's second wife, Erica Gomez.

The emails were obtained by the defense through a Freedom of Information Act request. At the time, Parkinson said certain emails were also never shared with him, and Gibson referred to the situation as an "oversight," according to the stipulation agreement.

As an alternative, Parkinson and Robinson request that the Lovelaces' attorneys specify subject matter of the deposition and limit the scope to those matters and to a reasonable time.

Lovelace claims that evidence was withheld and fabricated by the Quincy Police Department in the two murder trials.

The trial in the case is set to start Oct. 15, 2019, with pretrial scheduled for Sept. 30, 2019. The Lovelaces must provide a list of expert witnesses whom they plan to call by Sept. 4, 2018, and the city and county have until Jan. 15, 2019, to supply their witness list.

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