State of Midlands v Danny Dawson (2011-2012)
On September 24, 2010, Vanessa Sullivan, daughter of Midlands’ most prominent prosecutor, celebrated her 21st birthday with two friends, Taylor Hopson and Danny Dawson, at Chuggie’s Sports Bar. After several hours of celebration at the bar, the three left in a car driven by Danny Dawson. On the way home, Dawson lost control of the car, resulting in a crash in which Sullivan
was killed. A special prosecutor was appointed because of the conflict of interest in having the victim’s parent’s office prosecute the case. A grand jury has returned a multi-count indictment charging the defendant, Danny Dawson, with murder and driving under the influence
Jeffries v Polk County Police Department (2006-2007)
On January 2nd, 2005, off-duty police officer Jamie Conmey heard a radio transmission come over dispatch saying that two suspects had just robbed Joe’s Corner Store. The description said that the perpetrators were wearing white T-shirts and blue jeans, appeared to be teenagers, and had taken the cash in a brown paper bag. Officer Conmey put on the siren and started searching the neighborhood surrounding the store. Officer Conmey saw a teenager dressed in a white shirt and jeans climbing a fence in an alleyway. Officer Conmey pulled over and told the teenager to come down. The teenager, Max Jeffries, stopped climbing the fence but did not come down. Seconds later, Officer Conmey shot the teenager in the side. Officer Conmey claims to have seen a gun, though no weapon was found at the scene. Max was rushed to the hospital as quickly as possible, where the teenager almost immediately fell into a coma, a state in which the teenager remains today. The teenager’s parents, Sean and Leigh Jeffries, filed suit against the Polk County Police Department, alleging that the actions of Officer Conmey, who committed suicide shortly after the incident, and thus the Polk County Police Department, deprived Max Jeffries of Jeffries’ constitutional rights to due process of law.