A federal lawsuit against the Caddo Parish District Attorney’s and Caddo Parish Coroner’s offices, filed by a man convicted of the death of year-old son six years ago, has been dismissed.
The suit filed in 2017 by Rodricus Crawford, 31, was dismissed with prejudice by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote in a memorandum ruling issued Monday, February 25, 2019, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Shreveport.
Crawford originally was convicted in Caddo District Court in 2013 of first-degree murder in the death of his infant son, Roderius Lott. He spent almost three years on death row at before the conviction was vacated by the Louisiana Supreme Court, which sent the case back to the trial court for a new trial. The Caddo Parish District Attorney’s Office announced in April 2017 that it would not retry Crawford in the case.
The prosecution said the baby had been smothered, while a defense expert testified that Roderius died of pneumonia and sepsis.
“They have a right to appeal,” said Caddo Parish Assistant District Attorney Tommy Johnson. “However, the dismissal with prejudice means the case is over.”
Johnson said “the court recognized that he was never found innocent, despite his allegations. The Supreme Court of Louisiana did not find Mr. Crawford innocent of the charges; it just remanded the case for a new trial. We’ve always asserted he was not innocent of any crime and that his claims lacked merit.”
Judge Foote’s 46-page ruling, Civil Action No. 17-01509, also granted the defendants’ motions to dismiss all penalty, punitive or exemplary damages sought by Crawford.
The defendants were represented in the case by Joy C. Rabalais of Lafayette-based Borne, Wilkes and Rabalais, LLC.
The ruling may be read in its entirety at https://www.scribd.com/documen