Police Misconduct and Civil Rights Litigation
- False Arrest
A false arrest occurs when the police did not have the legal right to restrain a person. Ordinarily, a legal standard called “probable cause” is used to determine whether the police have the right to place a person under arrest. “Probable cause” simply means there is objective evidence that leads the police to believe that it is more likely than not that the arrestee committed a crime. This standard is very low and it falls considerably lower than the legal standard of “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” which must be used to find a person guilty of crime. A false arrest occurs when the police arrest a person when there was not enough evidence to satisfy this “probable cause” standard.
In determining whether the police had probable cause to arrest someone, a fact-finder (for example, a jury) would put themselves in the shows of the arresting officer and would then determine whether a reasonably intelligent and prudent person would conclude that the arrested person committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime. If the fact-finder makes this determination that a reasonably intelligent and prudent person would make this conclusion, then the police did have probable cause to make the arrest. On other hand, if the fact-finder makes the determination that probable cause was absent at the time the arrest was made, then the person was restrained in violation of his or her constitutional rights.
If a person is restrained in violation of his or her constitutional rights, then the person may be entitled to a financial reward for having his or her liberty taken away without just cause.
- Malicious Prosecution
To prevail in a lawsuit for a malicious prosecution, a person needs to show the following three things. He needs to show:
- a legal action against the person was instituted or pursued;
- it was brought without probable cause; and
- the legal action was dismissed in favor of the person whom the malicious prosecution was brought against.
- Excessive Force
If you believe you are the victim of a false arrest, malicious prosecution, or excessive force by the police, you may have the legal right to a financial reward. Contact John Buza, an experienced attorney, today for a free consultation.