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Suit over Han death investigation tossed

Mary Han


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A state district judge this week dismissed the remainder of a lawsuit that alleged Albuquerque police mishandled the investigation into the death of Mary Han, a prominent civil-rights attorney who had often sued APD.

District Judge Carl Butkus on Monday dismissed the latest version of the complaint and refused to grant the plaintiffs’ permission to file an amended version.

He outlined his reasoning in an 18-page order. The proposed counts in a new version of the lawsuit, he said, “fail to state any claim upon which relief may be granted,” so the motion to amend the lawsuit must denied as “futile.”

The Han lawsuit was filed in 2012, alleging the city inadequately investigated her death and spoiled evidence that would have shed light on why she died in late 2010.

Medical investigators ruled it a suicide. The Han family still has a court case seeking to change that ruling.

A federal lawsuit against the city, meanwhile, was dismissed earlier, but claims in state District Court remained.

Butkus’ decision, in any case, can be appealed.

Rosario Vega Lynn, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said Wednesday that the Han family “has always questioned why so many unnecessary high-ranking individuals were at her home and why they decided within minutes that it was suicide without an investigation. To this day, no one has conducted an investigation into the circumstances of Ms. Han’s death.”

She didn’t say whether they’d appeal, but noted that the judge “certified the matter for a direct appeal so the court probably sees this as an important case with significant implications for public safety.”

City officials said they couldn’t immediately comment because they were still reviewing the judge’s order.