MacMain Leinhauser Successfully Defends 14 Cases for City of Vineland Officers
MacMain Leinhauser, with Brian Leinhauser as lead counsel, successfully obtained a favorable verdict in the last of 14 cases brought against the City of Vineland and its Police Officers involving Det. Gami Cruz. The 14 cases, involving 16 Plaintiffs, arose out of the dismissal of a number of criminal matters by the Cumberland County Prosecutor. Those cases were dismissed based on the alleged, but unproven, misconduct of one of the Vineland Police Detectives, Gami Cruz. The 14 cases involved questions of whether probable cause existed to charge the various individuals with the crimes brought by the department and whether search warrants were properly executed by the Vineland Officers and Det. Cruz. In every case involving a question of improper prosecution, the evidence showed that the Vineland Officers and Det. Cruz had probable cause bring the charges against the suspects. Of the 16 Plaintiffs, 12 voluntarily dismissed their cases after the evidence produced in discovery definitively showed that probable cause existed to bring the charges. The evidence in those cases included videotaped drug transactions, video confessions, plea agreements, and physical evidence of the crimes charged.
Three of the remaining Plaintiffs’ cases were dismissed by the Court on motion for summary judgment. The Court concluded that probable cause existed to charge these three Plaintiffs, and awarded sanctions against one Plaintiff who repeatedly misrepresented the facts of his case to the Court, delaying the matter and forcing the City of Vineland to continue to defend the case.
The final case went to trial over whether Det. Cruz and his fellow officers held a woman in a state of partial undress for an unreasonable amount of time while securing the premises to execute a search warrant. On November 12, 2015, a Jury of 6 women and 2 men returned a unanimous verdict in favor of Det. Cruz and the City of Vineland, finding that he did not violate Ms. Stratton’s constitutional rights when he executed the search warrant on her home as part of a drug investigation involving her husband.
MacMain Leinhauser, with offices in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Malvern, Pennsylvania, is proud to have defended the work of the Det. Cruz and the other City of Vineland Officers in these cases.