Bruce Lisker got very good news from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today. With a very strong and quickly-published response, the three judges of the 9th Circuit rebuffed the city's attempt to get Lisker's case against LAPD detectives Andrew Monsue and Howard Landgren dismissed on grounds that they deserve absolute witness immunity. "This is very good news for Bruce," said his attorney, Bill Genego, about the decision. "It's a very strong opinion, very helpful for Bruce, because it vindicates completely what he's been saying all along," which is that, according to the court documents published today, the detectives "fabricated police reports, investigative notes, and photographs of a crime scene during their homicide investigation."
Lisker was arrested, tried and convicted of the March 1983 murder of his mother, Dorka Lisker. Bruce Lisker served 26 years in prison before being released and exonerated in 2009. The judges ruled that such detective notes and documents fell outside of the protection of absolute immunity. "They are running out of roadblocks," said Lisker today, elated by the judges' decision. Attorneys for the city have 14 days to decide their next step. But with this strongly-worded decision by the 9th Circuit Court, Lisker and others who hope to fight against police officers who claim they can't be sued because they are protected by witness immunity have been given a huge victory.
The fact that this decision was handed down so quickly is another indication of the strength of Lisker's case. According to Genego, these kinds of decisions usually take 90 days to decide. But with arguments presented on February 12, the early decision handed down today surprised and heartened Lisker and his team of attorneys — and was another indication of the hard road the city would face in upholding the integrity of these detectives' testimony and actions.
File photo of Lisker by Iris Schneider