A federal appeals court has upheld a Utah jury's $253,189 award to a former Monticello police officer who claimed he was wrongly fired.
The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver issued a 21-page ruling affirming the verdict for Brett G. Palmer, who worked for the Monticello force for five years.In 1991, Palmer won the jury award after a trial in U.S. District Judge Aldon Anderson's Salt Lake courtroom. The city and police Chief Kent Adair appealed.
The jury awarded Palmer $253,188 from the city of Monticello and $1 from Adair.
Palmer has since moved to Nevada. His lawyers refused to discuss the appellate ruling.
Stan Olsen, a state trooper, was riding with Palmer in Palmer's squad car in 1987. Olsen later accused Palmer of falsifying a ticket to show a motorist was speeding.
Palmer contended he was wrongly accused and denied due process when he was fired.
Testimony at the trial showed, for example, that Olsen was not at a city hearing that led to the termination, so Palmer had no opportunity to confront his accuser.
Part of the defendant's appeal cited the judge's refusal to allow polygraph results into evidence. Records show that Olsen "was more likely being truthful than Palmer" after both took lie-detector tests. The 10th Circuit ruling found the judge's barring of the polygraph evidence was within his discretion and the polygraph results could have been much more prejudicial than their value.