AELE LAW LIBRARY OF CASE SUMMARIES:
Civil Liability of Law Enforcement Agencies & Personnel
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Police Plaintiff: Malicious Prosecution
Given eyewitness accounts
of him drinking and the presence of an open bottle labeled as containing
alcohol in a police officer's personal vehicle when he was stopped, there
was probable cause to administer a breathalyzer test, as a reasonable person
would have believed that he had committed a DUI. He was only charged with
driving with an open container of alcohol when the breathalyzer detected
no alcohol, and the open container charge was dropped when the liquid in
the bottle was shown to have no alcohol. A police deputy superintendent
who ordered him prosecuted was entitled to qualified immunity under the
circumstances. Seiser v. City of Chicago, #13-1985, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis
15473 (7th Cir.).
Several off-duty police officers visited a woman's apartment by invitation and she and the officers engaged in sexual activity involving bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism. A neighbor later reported the incident, seeing her bloody swollen mouth, but the woman would not cooperate in the investigation. She later testified before a grand jury that she had allowed the men to urinate in her mouth because one had slapped and scared her. The officers were found not guilty of charges arising from the incident and sued those involved in the investigation and prosecution. Two prosecutors were entitled to both absolute and qualified immunity for their roles. Rogers v. O'Donnell, #12-6335, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 24830, 2013 Fed App. 0344P (6th Cir.).
A police officer prosecuted on charges arising out of a fatal shooting sued the city and its chief prosecutor for false arrest, malicious prosecution, abuse of process and emotional distress. The prosecutor was entitled to absolute immunity, and this immunity was not defeated by the claim that he acted in bad faith, as he acted within the scope of his role as a prosecutor and not as an investigator. The city was also entitled to immunity under Ohio state law because the criminal charges did not arise from the employment relationship, but from an independent investigation subsequent to and unrelated to the police department's prior internal inquiries about the incident. Jopek v. City of Cleveland, #93793, 2010 Ohio App. Lexis 1922 (8th Dist.).
There was probable cause to investigate and charge former university police officers for allegedly having falsified police logbook time entries during their employment in violation of a Nevada state "false claims" law, particularly based on a finding of probable cause at a court hearing during the criminal proceedings. The officers, therefore, could not pursue their claims for malicious prosecution, despite the fact that a jury subsequently found them not guilty. Dias v. Elique, No. 05-16440, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 9990 (Unpub. 9th Cir.).
Officer fired after motel clerk allegedly falsely accused him of robbing the motel is awarded $4 million against the motel owner and the owner's corporation in malicious prosecution lawsuit. Askew v. Patel, No. SC-2000-CV-1601, (Muscogee Co., Ga., State. Ct.), reported in The National Law Journal, p. B2 (March 18, 2002). [2002 LR Jun]
304:58 Officers dismissed from federal civil rights lawsuit after it was admitted that there was no evidence to support the claims made against them could then sue the plaintiff and his attorneys for malicious prosecution in state court in California; state appeals court rejects argument that malicious prosecution action was preempted by federal provisions allowing awards of attorneys' fees to prevailing defendants in frivolous lawsuits. Del Rio v. Jetton, 63 Cal.Rptr.2d 712 (Cal. App. 1997).
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