Yes, it is easy to Monday-morning quarterback on cases like these. And no, I do not know all the intimate details of the matter. But I do know that it is not too often when a suspected criminal hires an attorney and offers a municipality $400,000 to settle a matter involving his false arrest.
From far away, it looks like this confrontation with Ovasapyan should have ended about $900,000 earlier than it did. It also appears that the city stubbornly dug its heels in hoping for a judgment that would have justified sending an innocent man to jail.
As an aside, I'm willing to bet that Ovasapyan would be inclined to agree with the city attorney's cavalier response to the settlement agreement. I'll bet he would have preferred not to have been arrested and detained for eight months. It doesn't take a Rhodes Scholar to guess that is probably the different outcome he would have preferred.
Howard was also quoted as saying, "Perhaps emotion got in the way." That quote frightens me. I know everyone is human (all lawyer jokes aside) and subject to giving in to their feelings, but this case shouldn't have been fueled by emotion. It should have been argued on the merits of its strength.
I know from personal experience what can happen when you go into a courtroom looking for a positive outcome based on your emotional plea. There's a pretty good chance you are going to lose.
I was involved in a real estate lawsuit a number of years ago. I had a compelling amount of evidence indicating that I was the victim of fraud in the purchase of my home. I presented that evidence to the previous owners and offered them a settlement of about $20,000 to repair defects that were not disclosed at the time of sale.