People who sue law enforcement for malicious prosecution after they are falsely accused of a crime have a better chance in court as the Supreme Court removes a stumbling block with a 6-3 vote, The Associated Press reported.
The decision rejected a higher bar that said the person had to show their case ended because they were found innocent. Instead, they must only prove that the case brought against them “ended without a conviction,” according to the majority ruling written by Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Justice Samuel Alito wrote the dissent joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch. They argued the decision “has no basis in the Constitution and is almost certain to lead to confusion,” the April 4 story noted.
The case involved Brooklyn resident Larry Thompson, arrested in 2014. He sued on the basis of malicious prosecution under a federal civil rights law for his arrest that resulted from a scuffle with police, a case in which the charges were dropped.
Thompson’s sister-in-law had called the authorities on Thompson, claiming that he was sexually abusing his infant daughter. When police arrived, Thompson would not let them in without a warrant. After a scuffle with the officers, Thompson was arrested and charged with resisting arrest and obstructing administration. After being held for two days, the charges were dropped, and Thompson was released.
At the hospital the baby was examined and was found to have diaper rash but no evidence of abuse.
The lower court ruled against Thompson, saying he had to show his case ended with “affirmative acquittal or dismissal of the charge by a judge with a statement that evidence was insufficient,” a decision with which the Supreme Court disagreed.
MacArthur Justice Center attorney Amir Ali represented Thompson. He said he was “very pleased with the court’s decision” and that it was “welcome and needed.”