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Oxley represents himself against the city that “burned him”

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CANTON — The man who once stood before the court system accused of murder is now representing himself in a $287 million lawsuit against the city that he said put him behind bars unlawfully for almost five years.

It was Wayne T. Oxley’s time in the courtroom and working with lawyers putting together the lawsuit filed May 17 against the city of Ogdensburg that gave him enough know-how to successfully represent himself in state Supreme Court, he said.

Mr. Oxley, 47, formerly of 1022 New York Ave., Ogdensburg, was accused of beating his then-neighbor, Bernard A. Trickey Jr., to death with a wooden baseball bat in 2005. He was convicted of second-degree murder in 2006 but a state appellate court sent the case back for retrial. A second trial ended with a hung jury. In his third trial, in February 2012, a St. Lawrence County Court jury acquitted him.

Named in the multimillion dollar suit are former Police Chief Andrew P. Wells and police officers Andrew D. Kennedy and Harry J. McCarthy. Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Kennedy both testified against Mr. Oxley during his trials. Also named in the suit against the city is Steven Fisher, a detective with city police during the murder investigation and Detective Shawn R. Shaver.

Mr. Oxley is looking to collect on alleged violations to his civil and constitutional rights, punitive damages and a loss of wages and benefits while he was incarcerated on murder charges that couldn’t hold up in court after three trials.

“It was OJT, on the job training,” Mr. Oxley said. “I have learned the law quite well over the years and I have chosen to represent myself.”

Mr. Oxley said he was still hopeful that an attorney would sign on to his case and he said his search for an attorney continues. He said he even went as far as Staten Island to seek counsel.

“The lawyer and his partner decided not to get into it because it was too large and too much overhead involved for a payoff that might not even bring them a profit, if break even,” Mr. Oxley said.

The problem he said he has come across is that all the law firms in the county are entangled with one another in some form or fashion, calling it a “good old boys club,” and the firms out of the area, like the one he approached in Staten Island, find the case to be too burdensome.

Mr. Oxley also represents himself in a lawsuit he has pending against the state.

The lawsuit against the state is for his time spent in state correctional facilities from Aug. 30, 2005 until May 23, 2010 when he was bailed out by his father, Mr. Oxley said. His lawsuit against the city is from the moment he was arrested by city police in until his acquittal

State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman filed a motion to dismiss against Mr. Oxley’s lawsuit, which was denied in April 2012. That case is scheduled for a hearing in July of 2014.

The city of Ogdensburg has also filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit against them as well, according to WWNY News 7.

Mr. Oxley said the law firm representing the city, Fischer. Bessette, Muldowney and Hunter LLP from Malone, filed the motion at the last minute.

Attorneys from that firm, along with Ogdensburg City Attorney Andrew Silver, did not return calls for comment.

But Mr. Oxley said he is not concerned about the motion.

“The state motion to dismiss I didn’t reply to but this I am replying to and come Sept. 13, I will have my argument for the court,” Mr. Oxley said.

In his lawsuit against the city, Mr. Oxley wrote that he has been successful representing himself against the state in that his papers survived the motion to dismiss in the Court of Claims.

“(I) had hoped that the victory would convince the attorneys with whom (I) was speaking in New York City to take the case. However, that did not happen,” the lawsuit stated.

Mr. Oxley wrote that he hopes to obtain legal counsel to continue the pending suit against the state as well as his case against the city.

Mr. Oxley said he was seeking $120 million due to “negligence,” “false arrest” and “malicious and unlawful imprisonment”, among other alleged violations to his rights including denial to his right to counsel and attorney fees for representing himself.

He is also seeking $125 million in punitive damages and $42 million in lost wages.

Mr. Oxley said he arrived at that $287 million figure after consulting with lawyers and looking over other court cases.

Mr. Oxley said he went after the city because it “burned him” and that he only wished to be exonerated in the court of public opinion.

“It’s their doing. They have insurance policies for that,” Mr. Oxley said of the city. “They have insurance policies for the police force and that should back them up. It’s protecting the taxpayers.”

“One of the problems in that city is that they have no policies or procedures,” Mr. Oxley said. “I would hope that this will change that.”

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