Brief filed: 01/04/2021
Thompson v. Clark
United States Supreme Court; Case No. 20-659
Decision below 19-580-cv (2d Cir. Feb. 24, 2020)
This case asks whether an individual seized during criminal proceedings in violation of the Fourth Amendment must prove that the criminal proceedings ended in a manner indicative of their innocence in order to succeed in a section 1983 action to redress the violation of their constitutional rights. A majority of lower courts have wrongly decided that a termination demonstrating innocence is an element of such constitutional claims. This Court should grant certiorari and hold that no such element exists. First, the lower courts’ conclusion contradicts the deeply rooted principle that our criminal system presumes innocence and adjudicates only whether a defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Second, because it is usually impossible to show that criminal proceedings terminated in a manner indicating innocence, the lower courts’ innocence requirement forecloses section 1983 claims for many individuals whose detention and prosecution violate their Constitutional rights. Third, the lower courts’ conclusion that a termination indicating innocence is an element of federal constitutional claims contradicts many of this Court’s cases.
Dan Twetten, Elizabeth Wang, Steve Art, Julia Rickert, and John Hazinski, Loevy & Loevy, Chicago, IL.