Anthony Sowell’s victim strikes out in court; lessons for law enforcement follow

The Sixth Circuit threw out the case against law enforcement and others for failing to stop a serial killer.  Sowell’s Cleveland home revealed eleven bodies, and he was convicted.  The family of one of the victims sued law enforcement for allowing Sowell to continue his crime spree after reports of his violence against women.

Generally, federal law does not allow claims against law enforcement for failing to keep crime from occurring.  Under State law in Ohio, the outcome is not as certain after Estate of Graves v. Circleville, where the Ohio Supreme Court upended settled law on the duty of law enforcement to a victim.  The Court in the Sowell victim case finessed the issue by noting that there were no specific facts to back up the conclusory allegations that law enforcement had been reckless.

Click here to view the opinion.