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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court refused Monday to consider whether DeKalb County could be held liable for the actions of former Sheriff Sidney Dorsey in the shooting death of Derwin Brown, the man who was to have succeeded him as sheriff. Brown’s widow, Phyllis, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Dorsey, the other people involved in the murder and the county. But Georgia courts dismissed the claims against the county, ruling that DeKalb didn’t condone and couldn’t be on the hook for the crimes of its employees. The Georgia Court of Appeals ruled in November 2005 that the county could not be held liable because the sheriff is a state officer. Phyllis Brown already had been awarded the maximum allowable by law _ $75,000 from the State Indemnification Commission in 2002, Gov. Sonny Perdue’s office previously said. Derwin Brown was shot 16 times in front of his home in December 2000, just days before he was to have succeeded Dorsey. Suspicion immediately fell on Dorsey, who was later convicted of plotting the murder and is serving a life sentence. Two other men — Melvin Walker and David Ramsey — were sentenced in November 2005 to life in federal prison for their part in the murder-for-hire killing. The two, who previously were acquitted in a state trial in 2002, were convicted in August of federal conspiracy charges related to Brown’s slaying.

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