A federal judge has tossed out several aspects of the civil rights lawsuit related to the 1996 murder of Angelina Cruz inside Littlefield's Jolly Roger Convenience Store. The store has long since closed. Cruz called 911 and described her killers in her dying breath. They had robbed the store and shot her nine times.
Jesus Ramirez and Alberto Sifuentes were arrested and ultimately convicted of capital murder in Lamb County. Their claims of innocence did not fall on deaf ears, and on appeal they were released from prison.
In 2008, a Lamb County grand jury refused to indict the two again. Ramirez and Sifuentes, both Mexican nationals, were cleared of the charges after serving 12 years behind bars.
In 2009 they sued various officials including Lamb County District Attorney Mark Yarbrough and Littlefield Police Chief Abel Cantu. They also sued Lamb County. In essence they claim they were falsely accused and suffered malicious prosecution.
With a combination of orders on Wednesday and Thursday the judge threw out many, but not all aspects of the lawsuit. For example, claims of malicious prosecution are tossed out.
Claims of defamation, false arrest, unconstitutional eyewitness identification procedures, Fourth Amendment violations and many other claims of wrongdoing are still on the calendar for a July 5th trial date.
Lawyers for Ramirez and Sifeuntes have filed a notice of appeal, and they are asking for clarification as to what extent they should work with Lamb County and other defendants to get ready for trial.
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