US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Opinions
Melton v. Phillips
Opinion Date: November 13, 2017
Judge: Jennifer Walker Elrod
Areas of Law: Criminal Law
An officer who has provided information for the purpose of its being included in a warrant application under Hart v. O'Brien, 127 F.3d 424 (5th Cir. 1997), has assisted in preparing the warrant application for purposes of Jennings v. Patton, 644 F.3d 297 (5th Cir. 2011), and Hampton v. Oktibbeha County Sheriff Department, 480 F.3d 358 (5th Cir. 2007), and may be liable, but an officer who has not provided information for the purpose of its being included in a warrant application may be liable only if he signed or presented the application. Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against defendant after plaintiff was arrested for an assault committed by another man with the same first and last names. The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of summary judgment in favor of defendant and held that defendant was entitled to summary judgment even when construing all the facts in the light most favorable to plaintiff. The court reasoned that the connection between defendant's conduct and plaintiff's arrest was too attenuated to hold the deputy liable under the rule that the court reaffirmed or under any law that was clearly established at the time defendant filled out the incident report.
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