Local News


Deal urged for Nevada woman wrongly jailed 35 years

Posted at 4:55 PM, Mar 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-08 19:58:41-05

The Latest on a lawsuit by a former Reno woman imprisoned 35 years for a murder she didn't commit:

1:42 p.m.

A federal judge in Nevada is appealing to lawyers on both sides to try to settle out of court a civil lawsuit filed by a former Reno woman who spent 35 years in prison for a murder she didn't commit.

Cathy Woods, who now lives in Washington state, is seeking millions of dollars in damages from the city of Reno, a former prosecutor and police she accuse of coercing a fabricated confession from her while she was a patient at a Louisiana mental hospital in 1979.

Woods was exonerated and released from prison three years ago when new DNA evidence tied the 1976 killing of a Reno college student to an Oregon inmate now accused of multiple slayings in the San Francisco Bay area about the same time.

U.S. Magistrate Valerie Cooke set filing deadlines for November during a hearing in Reno Thursday. But she says any trial wouldn't begin before next year.


9:05 a.m.

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.