Wrongfully imprisoned man sues police

Posted at 8:41 AM, May 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-04 12:06:37-04

A Buffalo man who was wrongly imprisoned for ten years is now suing the Buffalo Police Department and the Erie County District Attorney's Office.

Josue Ortiz pleaded guilty to manslaughter for the deaths of brothers Nelson and Miguel Camacho in 2014, but according to one Ortiz's defense attorneys, there were questions about Ortiz's mental health at the time of his arrest.

"He's been diagnosed with various types of mental disorders and to say why someone would do that is a very difficult thing to say," said Jeremy Schwartz, who represented Ortiz in 2004. "It's something many of us wouldn't understand."

The court deemed Ortiz competent and his confession to the crime was accepted. At the time, Ortiz was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Years later, a federal investigation into the "7th Street" and "Cheko's Crew" gangs  unveiled new information the Camacho brothers murders, and prosecutors now agree Ortiz is not responsible for the 2004 killings.

Ortiz was released from prison in December 2014.

According to Ortiz's current lawyer, Wayne Felle, Ortiz is now accusing police detectives of wrongfully persuading him to sign the confession. The lawsuit also alleges that the Erie County District Attorney, then under Frank Sedita, waited too long to recommend Ortiz's release after it became clear that he was innocent of the crimes.

Ortiz has previously sought a settlement with New York State over the ordeal.