Civil suit continues for woman wrongly jailed 35 years

RENO, Nev. — Lawyers for a woman who spent 35 years imprisoned for a 1976 Reno murder before being exonerated by DNA evidence are asking a judge to block the city’s request for the Nevada Supreme Court to intervene in her civil suit seeking millions of dollars in damages.

Cathy Woods’ conviction was based almost exclusively on a fabricated confession she made while a patient at a Louisiana mental hospital in 1979. She says ex-prosecutors and police falsely obtained that confession.

The city claims she can’t use that argument in her civil case because judges previously ruled the confession was obtained legally.

U.S. District Judge Miranda Du ruled in January those rulings no longer apply since Woods’ conviction was vacated in 2014.

The city wants the state Supreme Court to weigh in. A hearing is scheduled Thursday in federal court in Reno.