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Federal judge reverses verdict in 'Charles Village Rapist' suit

Federal judge reverses verdict in “Charles Village Rapist” lawsuit.

A federal judge reversed a jury verdict that had awarded $2.3 million to a man Baltimore police had branded the "Charles Village Rapist" before forensic evidence cleared him.

U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles Jr. on Monday issued an opinion that overturned a jury's decision in April to award Marlo Humbert compensation after they found that police had violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free from malicious prosecution. Humbert was arrested in May 2008 after violent attacks in Charles Village and Mount Vernon.

Humbert's lawsuit alleged that police had DNA evidence a month after he was arrested showing Humbert could not have committed the crime. Police did not drop the charges until July 2009.

The attacks, meanwhile, had continued until November 2008 while Humbert was jailed. Police have yet to announce an arrest in the cases.

In jail, Humbert was subjected to harassment and threats, his attorney has said, because police accused him of being a "serial rapist."

But in overturning the verdict, Quarles said in his opinion that police had not acted with "actual malice" or an evil or hateful motive.

"Although the jury found that the police defendants had breached a duty of care owed to Humbert, proximately causing him injury, the jury further found that none of the police defendants had acted with actual malice," Quarles said.

jgeorge@baltsun.com

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