After an 18-year fight, Virginia Gaither has finally won justice for her grandson, a special education student who was tortured and murdered after Kentucky State Police used him to make a drug buy despite his identity being compromised.

In a unanimous opinion, the Kentucky Supreme Court Thursday reinstated most of a $168,729 award to her that had been thrown out by lower courts.

Justice Daniel Venters, writing for the court, said that in “what might be fairly described as the height of imprudence,” Detective Danny Burton and other detectives decided to use 18-year-old LeBron Gaither to make another buy on July 17, 1996, after he appeared as a witness before two grand juries and his cover was blown.

Although the state is immune from liability for discretionary acts by police and other employees, the court said in a 6-0 opinion that it is well-known in law enforcement circles that a compromised informant must not be exposed to the danger of a buy-bust operation.

LawReader users can read this decision which is posted on their front page along with 41 other decisions issued on August 21, 2014


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