Ross Feller Casey has filed a major lawsuit on behalf of a man who spent seven years in prison wrongly convicted of murder as a result of a corrupt Philadelphia detective and a city that failed for years to prevent the detective’s widespread misconduct. The federal lawsuit involves the tragic case of James Frazier who in 2013 at the age of 18 was sentenced to life in prison for role in a double murder in Philadelphia based on false testimony coerced by Homicide Detective Philip Nordo.
In February 2019, a grand jury indicted Nordo of multiple counts of rape, related sex offenses, and official oppression. The panel accused him of using his badge to groom informants as sexual conquests. The Philadelphia Police Department after the indictment acknowledged that Nordo’s criminal behavior was the direct result of a lack of oversight and supervision.
Frazier was released from prison in March after a judge vacated his sentence, but not before he spent seven years in prison, unjustly costing him much of his young adulthood.
Ross Feller Casey founding partner Matt Casey is litigating the case.
“James Frazier was only 18 when he was wrongfully arrested, tried, and convicted of a crime he did not commit as a result of the misconduct of corrupt Philadelphia Police Detective Philip Nordo. Mr. Frazier spent over seven years behind bars before the truth came to light and his conviction was vacated. The City of Philadelphia was well aware of Detective Nordo’s persistent and pervasive misconduct for years before Mr. Frazier was wrongly imprisoned,” Casey said.
The lawsuit was filed this week in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Among other things, it alleges that through threats and intimidation Nordo coerced Frazier into falsely stating a role in the murders and that the Philadelphia Police Department had disregarded numerous credible allegations of misconduct against Nordo for more than a decade.
Nordo was “able to continue his misconduct for years, unfettered” because the city “failed to institute any oversight or supervision over his conduct,” the lawsuit states.
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