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Monday, October 07, 2013

Cert. denied in Duke lacrosse

SCOTUS this morning denied cert. in Evans v. Durham, the § 1983 action by the three indicted-but-exonerated members of the 2005 Duke men's lacrosse team. The Fourth Circuit rejected (which I discussed here) claims against the city and the investigating police officers involved; the plainitffs tried to get to SCOTUS on the issue of whether the prosecutor's conduct (which enjoys prosecutorial immunity) breaks the causal chain and cleanses the officers' misconduct when they conspired together. Interestingly, they did not seek cert on the "stigma-plus" theory of liability for other officer misconduct (on which the causal chain was not broken).

The plaintiffs still have state-law malicious prosecution claims pending. The next question may be whether the district court declines supplemental jurisdiction over those claims or decides to keep them, seeing as how this litigation is now 6+ years old.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on October 7, 2013 at 10:20 AM in Constitutional thoughts, Howard Wasserman, Law and Politics | Permalink


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"Issue: Whether police officers who conspire with a prosecutor to fabricate evidence for subsequent use are immune from liability as a matter of law by virtue of the prosecutor's subsequent decision to use the evidence."

Should I really expect the Supreme Court, with its record of defending prosecutors and police and rendering them immune to civil liability in virtually any and all circumstances, to be interested in
assigning liability to officers who fabricate evidence...?

Posted by: Chav | Oct 7, 2013 2:32:15 PM

This litigation is now over 6 years old because the presiding judge stalled for three of those years before rendering his opinion on a basic motion to dismiss. He forbade all taking of discovery testimony during those years.

Meanwhile, two witnesses died (without leaving
testimony behind, as would have been possible); Durham says it may have lost (or not preserved) some of its electronic evidence; memories may have faded; and the plaintiffs are all over the world.

How's that for following Federal Rule 1 of Civil Procedure--the one about "speedy and inexpensive resolution" of all litigation?

Posted by: Chav | Oct 7, 2013 2:28:51 PM

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