WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court refused Tuesday to hear the appeal of a Hagerstown murderer who sued police for not safeguarding his belongings in the home he shared with his victim.
Convicted murderer Milford J. Mason sued Hagerstown Police Detective Paul Hoover for $15 million after learning that some of his personal belongings disappeared after he was imprisoned.
According to Mason’s petition, his sister told him about a week after he was jailed that some of his belongings were missing. He contacted Hoover, who acted with “deliberate indifference” after Mason told him to protect his belongings, court documents said.
Hoover, who said the items consisted of clothing and similar personal belongings, called the case “bogus.”
“Detective Hoover was the investigator in the case,” said Kevin Karpinski, Hoover’s attorney. “His duty was to figure out who committed the murder, not to protect Mr. Mason’s personal property.”
Karpinski said the $15 million sought in the suit was nothing like the actual value of the items Mason said he lost.
“It’s not uncommon for prisoners to file for astronomical figures on claims that have no basis at all,” he said.
Mason, who is being held at the Maryland House of Correction Annex in Jessup, could not be reached for comment. He was convicted in 1995 of murdering his girlfriend, Gina Lee Kriner, with whom he had been living.
Mason’s suit against Hoover had been rejected at every level, Karpinski said. The federal district court for Maryland dismissed the suit in 1997 and a panel of the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that decision in 1998. The full appeals court rejected Mason’s request to hear the case, prompting the Supreme Court appeal.
“Both of the federal courts — the District Court and the Court of Appeals — have acted swiftly to dispose of this case,” Karpinski said. “It’s a pervasive problem in the state of Maryland, as well as any other state, that prisoners file too many meritless cases.”
Hoover said he was startled when he first saw the lawsuit, but not overly concerned. He was not at all surprised that the high court rejected the suit Tuesday.
“Any time someone is going to sue you for $15 million, there is some concern,” he said. “But this was just a frivolous suit.”