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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
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Can you sue a police department under USC 1983 for taking you

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Can you sue a police department under USC 1983 for taking you to court on insufficient cause?

An officer perjured a police report and took me to court forcing me to defend myself and spend money driving up from out of state. I have complaints already filed with the internal affairs and FBI against this officer for excessive use of force and perjury but I missed the 180 days to file a tort from the date of my arrest since my bench trial had been moved past that date due to a motion to continue and an error in a second court date due to the courts error. I was wondering if their was a way to get financial relief for my time and money spent in defense of the absurd charges. Since I missed the statute of limitations for filing a tort against that officer for excessive use of force from the date of the arrest I was wondering if I can file a tort for damages from the time of the bench trial for relief based on the trial hearing period. Thanks
Yes, if you suffered damage from the loss of liberty resulting from an officer acting improperly under the color of law and committing perjury, in addition to suing for false arrest and malicious prosecution, you can sue for a civil rights violation under 1983. If you missed the statute of limitations for the excessive force claim, you could still bring the other claims for the false arrest, malicious prosecution and the 1983 civil suit.


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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you. I had a quick question of clarification concerning your response to my original question. You say that I can still bring claims of false arrest, malicious prosecution in addition to a 1983 civil suit. I was under the impression that complaints against an officer acting under color of law, such as false arrest and malicious prosecution were filed under USC 1983. Are you saying that there is a way to file those charges separately from a 1983? Also, since the statute of limitations for my charge of excessive use of force has passed (in AZ it is 180 days and my arrest was in mid-June) then a charge of false arrest would also be past the statute of limitations from that same date, correct? So I would only be dealing with malicious prosecution?

 

EDIT: re-read your response and noticed that you might not have been referring to false arrest as a charge but that I can bring claims of malicious prosecution and 1983 for the false arrest. Sorry, the way you wrote it that was unclear. At any rate, still would like clarification, are malicious prosecution and 1983 different things or would I file a malicious prosecution under 1983?

You can bring them both under 1983 and under the federal court's right for concurrent jurisdiction to hear th state law torts of malicious prosecution. Those are additional ways of saying the same thing. The false arrest and excessive force are the reason for the 1983, sorry for not being clearer. Malicious prosecution is in addition to the 1983.
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