Arizona Case Law Update- 42 USC sec. 1983 Claim Does not Exist for Malicious Prosecution

Arizona Case Law Update - Yanes v. Maricopa County, 648 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 31 (App. Div. I, November 13, 2012) (J. Gould)


Plaintiff was arrested for the molestation and murder of his minor son. He alleges he was beaten by a guard in jail pending charges. Thereafter he claims the jailers prepared a fraudulent report claiming the altercation was instigated by the plaintiff. Thereafter charges for aggravated assault were issued against the plaintiff for allegedly assaulting the guard. Plaintiff was then acquitted of the molestation and murder trials and then the prosecutor dropped the assault charges. Plaintiff then sued the county for malicious prosecution as part of a 42 USC 1983 denial of his 14th amendment substantive due process claim. The jury awarded plaintiff $650,000 in general compensatory damages and $205,000 in punitive damages on the 1983 claim. The Arizona Court of Appeals reversed.

In Albright v. Oliver,510 U.S. 266 (1994) the U.S. Supreme court held that a substantive due process claim under the 14th amendment based upon malicious prosecution would not stand. The court found that section 1983 was not intended to be interpreted so broadly and that the 4th amendment offered adequate protection for unreasonable search and seizure and charges filed without probable cause. Hence, plaintiff's claim here was not valid and the case was reversed and the Arizona Case Law Update herein.

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