Access to Justice

RELEASE: Important Win for Accountability in Thompson v. Clark 

WASHINGTON – On news this morning of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Thompson v. Clark—allowing people to sue police officers under Section 1983 for instigating baseless criminal charges against them once those charges have been dropped—Constitutional Accountability Center Senior Appellate Counsel Brian Frazelle said:

Today’s ruling is an important win for accountability. The Court today reaffirmed that police officers can be held accountable under the Fourth Amendment for false accusations that cause a person to be seized without justification. And, rejecting the argument of the police, the Court refused to limit victims’ ability to hold officers accountable for such false accusations based on dubious comparisons to the rules of common law torts. Section 1983 was passed to provide redress for constitutional violations, and as the Court has repeatedly emphasized, it is appropriate to use common law rules as a model only when doing so is consistent with the constitutional right at stake—here, the right to be secure against unreasonable seizures.

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Resources:

CAC case page in Thompson v. Clark: https://www.theusconstitution.org/litigation/thompson-v-clark/

CAC ISSUE BRIEF: Repairing Our System of Constitutional Accountability: Reflections on the 150th Anniversary of Section 1983, David Gans, November 10, 2021: https://www.theusconstitution.org/think_tank/issue-brief-repairing-our-system-of-constitutional-accountability-reflections-on-the-150th-anniversary-of-section-1983/

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Constitutional Accountability Center is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history. Visit CAC’s website at www.theusconstitution.org.

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