Lawsuit claims fabricated evidence led to Houston man's wrongful arrest

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Jan 21, 2013

HOUSTON - A murder suspect alleged the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences and the Houston Police Department committed acts which resulted in his wrongful arrest. 

Houston resident Noel Dean filed suit Jan. 10 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas against the city of Houston, Harris County, officials with the HCIFS and a HPD detective fabricated and manipulated evidence in connection with the death of Shannon Dean in 2008.

The suit states that the plaintiff has been fighting the murder charge, which he insists he did not commit - since Jan. 30, 2008. His trial was dismissed when Harris County Medical Examiner Darshan R. Phatak's "improperly conducted autopsy, false autopsy report and inconsistent testimony were exposed."

A second review of the evidence conducted by the HCIFS revealed that the evidence, testimony and autopsy report prepared by Phatak, along with the reports and results from HPD's investigations, "had been utterly wrong, and in some respects, patently fabricated," the original petition says.

Noel Dean argues that the city is at fault because of its police force's investigative techniques as well as its inadequate training and supervision of officers and detectives.

He blames HPD for not considering suicide as a real possibility in how his wife perished given certain things such as her history of suicide attempts and no signs of a struggle at the crime scene, additionally maintaining authorities did not read him his Miranda Rights when he was a suspect in custody.

The county and the HCIFS are ultimately accused of allowing authorities to "negatively" influence the medical examiner's findings and reports.

Consequently, Noel Dean seeks unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

Attorney Jerry Galow of Austin is representing the plaintiff.

Case No. 4:13CV0073

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