The Supreme Court Says You Can Sue Cops Who Frame You on False Charges

Police officers could frame people, file bogus charges, conjure evidence out of thin air—and, in most of the U.S., they would still be immune from facing any sort of civil accountability for that malicious prosecution. It was yesterday.

Larry Thompson was ill when his sister-in law, Mary Thompson called 911 to report that her son had developed a skin condition. The call led to several officers arriving at Thompson’s Brooklyn home without warrants, locking him up for 2 days and accusing him of resisting arrest as well as obstruction of governmental administration.

Thompson’s sister-in law struggles with mental illness. She assumed that the marking was an indication of sexual abuse. A hospital inspection revealed the true cause to be diaper rash. They also charged Thompson with bogus charges. A prosecutor eventually moved to dismiss the matter and closed the case.

Thompson was unable to sue any of the officers because he had not proved his innocence.

It is impossible to do so. Amir Ali, the Executive Director at MacArthur Justice Center, and Thompson’s attorney, said, “When charges have been dismissed, you usually don’t have any opportunity to present evidence or indicate your innocence.”

Yesterday’s decision by the nation’s highest court was overturned. It ruled that Thompson had the right to sue those involved in his case. Thompson, a plaintiff, must show, among others, that he has obtained a favorable terminationJustice Brett Kavanaugh, U.S. Supreme Court wrote that the defendant was guilty of the underlying criminal investigation. “We hold that a Fourth Amendment claim…for malicious prosecution does not require the plaintiff to show that the criminal prosecution ended with some affirmative indication of innocence.”

Court was well aware of the absurdity in this standard. “Requiring the plaintiff to show that his prosecution ended with an affirmative indication of innocence would paradoxically foreclose a…claim when the government’s case was weaker and dismissed without explanation before trial, but allow a claim when the government’s evidence was substantial enough to proceed to trial,” wrote Kavanaugh. That would be absurd.

Marie Miller, an attorney for the Institute for Justice, which is a public-interest law firm, stated that it was untenable. AmicusThompson’s example is very brief. Thompson said it was “just flippable”.[ed]The whole concept of innocent until proven guilty has been turned on its head,” she says. Reason. “In criminal proceedings they’re DesignWith the presumption that they are innocent. A person cannot prove innocence in criminal proceedings. It is very uncommon to find evidence of innocence.”

It is not certain that Thompson will ever be allowed to present his case before a jury. The 2nd Circuit will need to find Thompson probable cause for arrest. He must also overcome qualified immunity. This legal doctrine protects the state and local governments from civil liability. An example of this is Fresno cops who allegedly stole $225,000 while executing a warrant. Plaintiffs were unable to find any court ruling that would have ruled that such theft violated the Constitution.

But Thompson and Ali have at least cleared one hurdle. Ali states that there are false charges which could potentially endanger someone’s personal life. These false charges include being sent to jail and losing your job. Ali also says they were forced to appear at criminal hearings for false charges. They are then told they cannot sue the officer responsible for these false charges in federal court if they get them dismissed.

Victims of malign prosecution may still have many obstacles to get before a jury. However, these claims have been reopened as of the beginning this week.