A former New York City traffic lawyer is suing his former employer over what he says was a wrongful conviction that resulted in the wrongful death of his estranged husband.
Steve Barnes, 55, sued the New York Traffic Law Firm and its former president, John Kogan, who was also fired in January 2017.
Barnes filed the lawsuit Thursday in Manhattan Supreme Court, which is part of a wider civil rights lawsuit against New York’s criminal justice system.
Barne claims he was falsely convicted of first-degree murder in the death of 27-year-old Joshua Buell in 2016.
Barns, who had been out of the criminal justice profession for five years at the time of his death, was convicted in October 2016 of first degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-and-second-degree manslaughter and other charges.
He was sentenced to 40 years in prison, but was freed in 2017 under a deal with prosecutors that required him to serve only one year.
Barners claims Kogan and other Traffic Law firm attorneys framed him in an effort to obtain a plea deal and secure a reduced sentence, claiming he was guilty of first and second-degree homicide.
Barn’s lawyers contend that Kogan acted with malicious intent by pursuing a plea bargain with Barnes to avoid being sentenced to prison.
They also argue that he was wrongfully imprisoned and that the criminal prosecution was based on a fabricated confession.
The lawsuit claims Kogans attorneys tried to use Barnes as a “bait-and a switch” to get him to plead guilty and cooperate with investigators in the investigation of Bueell’s death.
Barn, who died in 2016, was not allowed to visit his mother in New York for several years following his death.
His attorneys contend that she was not notified of his incarceration in New Jersey and did not have access to any of the information that he needed to inform her of his fate.
Barn was convicted of second-and third-degree first- and second to first- degree murder in 2016 in the June 2017 death of Busell, but he was freed from prison in 2018 under a plea agreement with prosecutors.
The family of Joshua Busella filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the New Jersey Traffic Law firms and its president in 2017, claiming they violated their client’s constitutional right to a fair trial and violated his right to due process.
They filed the suit in federal court in Newark, New Jersey.
The New York Police Department has been under pressure to release video and other information related to the BuseLL investigation.
The department is also under scrutiny after a number of police officers in the city’s East Harlem neighborhood were charged with the murder of a black man.