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Supreme Court of the United States
October 12, 2021, Argued; April 4, 2022, Decided
[**386] [*1335] Justice Kavanaugh delivered the opinion of the Court.
Larry Thompson was charged and detained in state criminal proceedings, but the charges were dismissed before trial without any explanation by the prosecutor or judge. After the dismissal, Thompson alleged that the police officers who initiated the criminal proceedings had “maliciously prosecuted” him without probable cause. App. 33-34. Thompson sued and sought money damages from those officers in federal court. As relevant [**387] here, he advanced a Fourth Amendment claim under 42 U. S. C. §1983 for malicious prosecution.
] To maintain that Fourth Amendment claim under §1983, a plaintiff such as Thompson must demonstrate, among other things, that he obtained a favorable termination of the underlying criminal prosecution. Cf. Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U. S. 477, 484, 114 S. Ct. 2364, 129 L. Ed. 2d 383, and n. 4 (1994). This case requires us to flesh out what a favorable termination entails. Does it suffice for a plaintiff to show that his criminal prosecution ended without a conviction? Or must the plaintiff also demonstrate that the prosecution ended with some affirmative indication of his innocence, such as an acquittal or a dismissal accompanied by a statement from the [***6] judge that the evidence was insufficient?
] We conclude as follows: To demonstrate a favorable termination of a criminal prosecution for purposes of the Fourth Amendment claim under §1983 for malicious prosecution, a plaintiff need only show that his prosecution ended without a conviction. Thompson satisfied that requirement in this case. We therefore reverse the judgment of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Larry Thompson lived with his fiancée (now wife) and their newborn baby girl in an apartment in Brooklyn, New York. In January 2014, Thompson’s sister-in-law was also staying there. The sister-in-law apparently suffered from a mental illness. One day that January, the sister-in-law called 911 and claimed that Thompson was sexually abusing his one-week-old baby daughter. Two Emergency Medical Technicians promptly responded. When the EMTs arrived at the family’s apartment, Thompson asked the EMTs why they were there and denied that anyone had called 911. The EMTs left and informed the police of the situation.
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142 S. Ct. 1332 *; 212 L. Ed. 2d 382 **; 2022 U.S. LEXIS 1885 ***; 29 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 191; 2022 WL 994329
LARRY THOMPSON, PETITIONER v. PAGIEL CLARK, ET AL.
Notice: The pagination of this document is subject to change pending release of the final published version.
Prior History: [***1] ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT
Thompson v. Clark, 794 Fed. Appx. 140, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 5430, 2020 WL 888288 (2d Cir. N.Y., Feb. 24, 2020)
Disposition: 794 Fed. Appx. 140, reversed and remanded.
malicious prosecution, probable cause, arrest, malicious-prosecution, favorable termination, charges, innocence, initiation, courts, affirmative indication, common-law, seizure, tort of malicious prosecution, terminated, malicious prosecution claim, plurality opinion, plurality, criminal prosecution, unreasonable seizure, cases, criminal proceeding, police officer, unreasonable-seizure, malice, lower court, bring suit, prosecuted, malicious, detained, gravamen
Constitutional Law, Fundamental Rights, Search & Seizure, Scope of Protection, Torts, Malicious Prosecution, Elements, Favorable Termination, Intentional Torts, Civil Rights Actions, Civil Rights Law, Section 1983 Actions, Protected Rights, Lack of Probable Cause, Elements