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Once accused Valley freeway shooter files lawsuit against the state

Posted at 10:15 PM, Sep 18, 2016

The clock is now ticking for the state to answer a civil lawsuit in the freeway shootings case.

The suit filed by lawyers representing Leslie Merritt Junior beat the statute of limitations by only a matter of days.

Merritt Junior was arrested September 18, 2015 and in the report filed just this week, brings up alarming allegations.

"The police and the prosecutors are not above the law," said David Don, Merritt Jr.'s Civil Defense Attorney. 

Lawyers chalked Merritt Jr.'s arrest up as a public relations stunt, meant to claim the public's freeway fears.

"His arrest was the culmination of a botched investigation, a wrongful arrest, a malicious prosecution," said Jason Lamm, Merritt Jr.'s Criminal Defense Attorney.

Defense attorney Jason Lamm says even though criminal charges have been dismissed, the court of public opinion has been less forgiving.

"People still confront him in the streets, he told me just last week a man wanted to fight him, while Leslie was out with his children," explained Lamm.

From street fights to license plate tracking and other covert surveillance done on him, Merritt Junior told ABC15 in an exclusive interview, he's under constant threat.

"I worry about it every day, I don't want to have to put my kids back through the stress, I don't want to deal with the stress, because it's like mental torture being in a box every day. "

Merritt Jr. spent 222 days in solitary confinement while in jail.

That's something lawyers want a jury to consider for damages, likely in the millions of dollars.

"I would suggest to the jury that that is a starting place. If the state values prosecuting an innocent man, so much, perhaps that is something the citizens of Arizona should take into account when trying to determine how much this case is worth," said Attorney David Don.

A party named in a civil lawsuit has 20 days to confirm or refute claims in court.