Appeals Court Rules Woman Can't Sue Witness Who Lied About Qualifications

Jun 9, 2014

An appeals court says an Ohio woman who served more than 20 years of a life sentence before her conviction was overturned can't sue the toxicologist who lied during his testimony against her.

A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday reversed a judge's decision finding that retired toxicologist James Ferguson was partially liable. The panel ruled that Ferguson deserves absolute immunity, saying all testimony is protected to ensure witnesses will be candid without fearing lawsuit. Ferguson spent 30 days in jail for lying about when he got his college degree during the 1990 Licking County trial of Virginia LeFever. She was convicted of killing her husband. The murder conviction was overturned and she was released from prison after the lie was revealed.