Brief filed: 07/31/2020
Smalls v. Collins
2nd Circuit Court of Appeals;
Decision below 2020 WL 2563393 (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 11, 2020)
Evidence fabrication is a serious and pervasive problem, and its innocent victims often do not obtain an “indication of innocence.” Requiring indicia of innocence for civil rights claims of evidence fabrication is unfair and unworkable. McDonough does not affect the substantive difference between malicious prosecution claims and fabrication claims, which address corruption of the criminal process regardless of probable cause. The District Courts’ rule would be unjust, unfair, and unworkable. The District Courts’ rule undermines the core accountability function of § 1983 in cases of very serious misconduct. The District Court’s rule would harmfully exacerbate the existing power imbalance against criminal defendants. The District Courts’ rule is not administrable and will yield arbitrary results.
David A. Lebowitz and Douglas E. Lieb, Kaufman Lieb Lebowitz Frick LLP, New York, NY; Joshua L. Dratel and Lindsay A. Lewis, NACDL, New York, NY.