A judge has overturned the conviction of a D.C. man who confessed to the beating of an elderly vendor near the Foggy Bottom Metro Station.
Street vendor Vasiliki Fotopoulos, then 83, survived the May 2005 beating and robbery that sent John Dorsey to prison for 14 years.
The incident was caught on camera, and Dorsey confessed. But he did so without an attorney present.
But now, despite all the evidence, the D.C. Court of Appeals reversed Dorsey's conviction. The panel ruled that police obtained his confession by violating his Miranda rights to remain silence and request an attorney.
D.C. resident Richard Embden said, "It concerns me big time, but I realize the importance of Miranda."
In one section of the 123-page ruling, Dorsey is quoted as saying to the interrogating detectives "I want to talk - I need to talk to a lawyer now...I don't want to talk no more. I'm not sating nothing else."
The court says detectives continued to ask questions.
"It's an obvious mistake. Something was very wrong with their protocol. I think there needs to be an investigation," Todd Morrill of D.C. added.
Dorsey remains in police custody pending the outcome of further court proceedings. The U.S. Attorney's Office is reviewing whether to retry the case.
In a statement Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said, in part:
"...It is troubling to think that the family will have to endure another trial in order to bring this matter to closure.
MPD obviously does not condone the types of techniques that were used in the initial interrogation of defendant Dorsey, and it would be a violation of MPD policy to continue an interrogation once a suspect has invoked his/her right to counsel. MPD would consider corrective action against those investigators, if they were still members of the department..."