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Malicious Prosecution: One of the Faces of Police Misconduct

This content about police misconduct was written by a third party and does not represent the views or opinions of Haddad & Sherwin LLP, nor should it be construed as a complete and accurate statement of the law or as legal advice.  For better information about this topic, please contact Haddad & Sherwin LLP.

Malicious Prosecution: One of the Faces of Police Misconduct

When a law enforcement officer charges someone with a crime and takes them to court without any reasonable grounds, the agent is engaging in malicious prosecution, which may cause serious effects on the person’s emotional health and reputation, as well as it may affect their right of freedom. Such action shows one of the many faces of police misconduct.

According to dictionary.law.com, malicious prosecution is defined as “filing a lawsuit with the intention of creating problems for the defendant such as costs, attorneys’ fees, anguish, or distraction when there is no substantial basis for the suit”, which means there was no real evidence to take legal action in the first place.

Some examples of malicious prosecution are the following:

  • Disregarding essential facts that no reasonable attorney would overlook.
  • Forging or failing to reveal evidence.
  • Failing to question key witnesses.

Suing for Malicious Prosecution in California

If you are going to file a claim for malicious prosecution, four basic elements have to be present:

    • Absence of Probable Cause. The legal action against you started without any valid reason to believe that a crime was committed.
    • Malicious Intent. The party that started the accusation acted with the main goal of harming you in some way, instead of looking for justice.
  • The previous proceeding ended in your favor. You need to manifest that the court found you innocent of the prior charges against you. 
  • Harm was caused. You must prove that you suffered physical, monetary, psychological, or emotional losses because of the former accusation. If you are successful in your claim, compensatory damages may be considered in court.

You need to make sure you may demonstrate that all the elements of this form of police misconduct exist. If you fail to prove any of them, you will end up losing your case.

Types of Damages you May Recover

If you win your case for malicious prosecution, you may be able to obtain compensation for your losses.

  • Economic damages like court fees and expenses, costs of litigation, attorney fees, medical bills, lost wages during the trial or while being in custody, cost of the bail bond, among others.
  • Non-economic damages include lost reputation, pain and suffering, emotional distress, embarrassment, and humiliation.

When someone has become the subject of malicious prosecution or any other kind of police misconduct act, it is important to find legal guidance to help them win their case and get the compensation they deserve.

Haddad & Sherwin LLP has a long, successful track record winning wrongful death and other serious civil rights claims for police and jail officer misconduct, throughout Northern and Central California.  Call or email us for a free consultation.

This content was written by a third party and does not represent the views or opinions of Haddad & Sherwin LLP, nor should it be construed as a complete and accurate statement of the law or as legal advice.  For better information about this topic, please contact Haddad & Sherwin LLP.