Both plaintiffs and defendants are asking for a chance to discuss a settlement in the civil cases against Pulaski Constables Michael “Wally” Wallace and the late Gary Baldock.
A joint motion for a “court conducted settlement conference” was filed last week for all four outstanding federal civil cases.
Those cases are for plaintiffs Lester Turner, Jr.; Ronald Lee Stigall, Jr., and Anita Stigall; Kayla Dobbs; and Timothy Jones, David Jones and Robert Brown.
The four different cases allege a number of civil rights abuses, including unlawful seizure, wrongful arrest, wrongful imprisonment and excessive force.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Hanly Ingram stated that settlement conferences take time to prepare and require a lot of assistance from each of the parties before they can be scheduled.
The matter is made slightly more complicated due to the death of Baldock, and Hanly said that Baldock’s estate would be allowed the chance to ask for additional time in preparing a statement – due by October 15 for the rest of the parties.
Ingram also said that settlement conferences, when finally scheduled, are not to be taken lightly. They are meant for all parties to come to a “meaningful settlement” and not merely to be used to explore options.
The motion to conduct settlement discussions comes just weeks before Wallace’s sentencing in his criminal case, set for October 18.
Wallace and Baldock were found guilty in June by a Federal jury on charges of Conspiracy Against Civil Rights and Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine.
Testimony during the trial indicated that federal agents believed Wallace and Baldock was in possession of methamphetamine with the intent to plant it as evidence on people they arrested.
Baldock subsequently pleaded guilty in a separate case in which he was charged with Attempted Murder of a Federal Agent.
Baldock was awaiting sentencing when he was found dead of natural causes in his Grayson County jail cell.
Among the civil suits brought against the two constables, Turner’s claimed that the law officers violated his civil rights by unlawfully entering his residence, destroyed property and “unlawfully threatened, seized, strip searched, used excessive force upon and then wrongfully arrested,” Turner.
Ronald and Anita Stigall claim the constables used false information to obtain a search warrant for their home and when they did not find the meth they were looking for they “intentionally planted illegal drugs.”
The constables then fabricated charges against them in order to seize property they could then use in either their personal or official gain, the couple said.
Dobbs said in her lawsuit that the two not only performed an illegal search and seizure, they falsely imprisoned her, and intimidated her into getting behind the wheel of a vehicle to move it, even after she told them she was intoxicated.
When she complied with Wallace’s order to move the vehicle, he then charged her with driving under the influence.
Dobbs also claimed that the constables physically and verbally abused her, and that Wallace “physically assaulted her under the guise of searching her.”
Brown’s suit claims that he was pulled over by Wallace and Baldock in 2019, whereupon witnesses saw the constables “pull a container from the back of their car, place some drugs into an apple pie box, and throw it into Mr. Brown’s car.”
Timothy Jones’s suit states that Wallace conducted an illegal search of his bedroom at his residence, and that the constables seized $9,500 and his truck. He said he only received $6,600 worth of the assets back, and didn’t get his truck back until April 2020.
David Jones stated that Wallace and Baldock were among law enforcement officials who obtained a key to his apartment from an apartment manager to gain entry into the apartment of a woman he was with.
They had a search warrant for an individual that, according to the lawsuit, neither of them knew.
While David Jones was not arrested, he claims they took some of the woman’s prescription pills and $826 in cash that belonged to him.