Josue Ortiz lost 10 years of his life and now wants the police and prosecutors who took it away to pay a price.
Ortiz, the Buffalo man who wrongfully confessed to a double murder in 2004, has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Buffalo police detectives coerced him into signing the confession that sent him to prison for up to 25 years.
He also is suing the Erie County District Attorney’s Office and, in court papers, says prosecutors waited too long to support his release from prison.
“Josue can never regain the more than 10 years of his life during which he was wrongfully incarcerated,” his lawyers said in court papers.
Ortiz, who was released in late 2014 and has since been arrested again, initially was convicted in the murders of Nelson and Miguel Camacho, of Buffalo. The conviction stemmed from his false confession 10 years earlier.
His lawyers have said in the past that he suffers from mental illness and probably will require lifetime supervision.
Years after the murders, an FBI task force reopened the investigation, and prosecutors eventually charged three other men – Brandon Jonas, Efrain “Cheko” Hidalgo and Misael Montalvo – with the two murders. Jonas and Hidalgo have admitted taking part in them.
Ortiz, who is represented by attorney Wayne C. Felle, of Amherst, is currently back in trouble with the law.
Federal prosecutors say Ortiz, 34, was arrested Dec. 23 after buying a 12-gauge shotgun at a local sporting goods store and threatening to kill a neighbor.
Ortiz, according to the complaint, was inside his Niagara Falls apartment when police arrived. He eventually surrendered the gun and turned himself in.