in an unpublished but unamious decision that the City of Steubenville Police were NOT entitled
to qualified immunity when they jumped over a six foot privacy fence of the City residence of
the Dan and Sharon Thorne family located in Buena Vista Blvd, Steubenville, Ohio and then
improperly pursued their only son inside his own backyard and then minutes later falsely
arrested him on unrelated underage drinking charges, inside his own residence, all unrelated to
the just prior illegal search of the backyard residence. This was all done in violation of the
plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment rights to the U.S. Constitution, according to the Sixth Circuit,
in the Court's decision upholding the original well written United State's District Court opinion
issued last December.
The case had alleged not only an improper search and false arrest but also a very serious
excessive force claim as well, within a federal civil rights lawsuit brought by the Thornes and
their original civil rights lawyer, Richard A. Olivito in January of 2005.
"This decision is literally just a breathtaking win in so many ways for not only the plaintiffs
family and the hard fought efforts of the same, but for everyone who worked on the
underlying case, with all the personal hardships and risks such plaintiffs undertake and have
to endure as civil rights litigants inside an oftentimes unforgiving and uncertain riskly legal
The family who brought this case paid not only a price in terms of what happened
originally to them and their only young adult son, but in terms of just having to endure the
worst of an out of control particular insurance defense lawyer in the lower court, for the law
firm defending the city and it officers, who defended the case, at times, in an extremely
personal negative manner for the city," Olivito states.
What is so special is that the Bill of Rights and in particular the Fourth Amendment
safeguards were not only endorsed within this sometimes bitterly fought case, but
such protections were afforded their complete lawful due and their intended broad
interpretation as it ought to be when it comes to local police officers attempting to justify
an otherwise infirm warrantless search of a family's backyard for no real reason, where no
crime was committed and there no evidence of any kind existed to justify such an extreme set
of multiple violations of the Fourth Amendment's safeguards against unreasonable searches
and seizures as described inside this case's pleadings.
Olivito says, "This outcome is what makes everyone associated on the plaintiff's side of
such a complex constitutional case, who have had to endure so much, so worthwhile."
He adds, "the Thorne family derserves the immense credit for just simply believing deeply in
the Constitution, in themselves and being unfraid in the face of so much opposition and constant
highly orchestrated efforts to discourage them from truly bringing this case to this point. When
it works, however, at this stage, the entire legal system can be a thing of beauty."
"My own sometimes present deeply cynical world view of the present status of the
American's ability to vindicate their fundamental and special rights simply as guaranteed to
them as American citizens by our nation's first principles was completely blown away by this
very unique, practical and brilliant yet very conservative set of mainly republican federal high
court of appeals appointees.
Its simply something to behold and I wish everyone who is interested in what
is happening to the erosion of American's civil liberties could have been present
for this case's oral arguments and experience just how powerful true American
'conservative' values are and how majestic it is when a real court of law operates
in such an amazingly consistent fashion with the higher ideals and purposes of
this nation's founding fathers."
The Thorne case is now remanded back by the conservative justices of the Sixth Circuit
to the Clinton appointee U.S. District Court Judge, Judge Algenon Marbley, of Columbus, whose
thirty five page original opinion on the intricacies of the underlying issues of American's Fourth
Amendment protections was both clearly and fully upheld, but also completely vindicated.
Olivito also notes, "Attorney James McNamara picked up exactly where
we left off last fall and he deserves his usual solid praise for his appellate briefing
of the case before the Sixth Circuit and his professional presentation of the same
at the oral arguments in opposition to the chief counsel for the city insurer
defense law firm of Mazenec, Raskin and Ryder.
"Jim and I go way back, he's one who taught me much originally about such
cases years ago and it was an honor to have him come in at such a critical
juncture in this case and like a somewhat older brother and a great veteran
baseball pitcher, just do what he does and take the game and make it into yet
another save for everyone on our side."
This victory was particularly sweet since the Sixth Circuit argument and
decision came so quickly and right within the same month and week of the 10 year
anniversary of the signing of the nation's first fully federally investigated
Department of Justice consent decree regarding pattern and practice police
misconduct pertaining to the City of Steubenville, a very unique and special effort
resulting from both Attorney McNamara, Olivito's and others, like Skip
Mixon's, long and uniquely dedicated efforts regarding the same.
"It's so good to know, that even at this time in our lives, by some severe mercy,
we together can still make a difference for not only clients like the Thorne family
regarding such eggregarious police misconduct claims for the entire Steubenville
region, if not the midwest, as well, constitutionally speaking."
"It may be the last time I get to work with central Ohio's master of civil rights
police litigation" speaking of Columbus Attorney James McNamara."Olivito, added thereafter, in his somewhat tongue in cheek fashion,
"After this unanamous conservative high court opinion, I might even have to
consider becoming a republican and join Jim this time, for one of many of those
superb Ronald Reagan-Tip Oneil' Irish toasts that he sometimes
enjoys! ...smilingly of course...
But the present smiles belie the many deeply concealed battle wounds, of
Olivito's own sacrifices along the way and such present easy moments were not
always there...for most of this case's two year journey; a odyssy only the Thorne
family themselves, Attorney Olivito and family friend Skip Mixon can fully
"No one will ever know exactly what they have all endured and how many long
nights and days it took them to get to this point." Olivito adds, when speaking
of his friend Dan Thorne Sr and his family and their friend Skip Mixon.
What is especially meaningful for me is this decision comes on the 10th
anniversary of the signing of the original consent decree concerning this
same city police department. "What a anniversay gift the Sixth Circuit
provided to us when they stood up for the average american fundamental
rights under the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment ten years
to the same week that the historical decree was formally entered into
in 1997. I'll never forget that period in my life and this is just yet another
similar kind of breakthru..."