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High court opens door wider to malicious prosecution claims

U.S Supreme Court
Posted at 5:15 PM, Apr 04, 2022

The Supreme Court has removed a barrier for those seeking to bring lawsuits against law enforcement for malicious prosecution.

The court's decision on Monday is a victory for those falsely accused of crimes. The 6-3 ruling means that some malicious prosecution lawsuits that had previously been thrown out at an early stage will instead be allowed to move forward. The ruling was joined by both liberal and conservative justices.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote for the majority of the court that a person seeking to sue for malicious prosecution under a federal civil rights law has to prove that the case brought against him "ended without a conviction." The justices rejected a higher bar some lower courts had adopted.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote in a dissent that the other justices' decision “has no basis in the Constitution and is almost certain to lead to confusion.” He was joined by two conservative justices, Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Neil Gorsuch.