The United States Supreme Court's latest ruling makes it easier for victims to sue the police if the charges against them are dropped. The 6-3 ruling overturns the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, which found that victims could only sue for malicious prosecution if there is an affirmative indication of innocence.
The case involved the arrest of New York resident Larry Thompson. He was accused of sexually abusing a child by a relative living in his apartment. When police arrived, they searched his apartment despite not having a warrant. He was taken into custody on charges of resisting arrest and was jailed for two days.
A medical examination determined the child had not been sexually abused and was suffering from diaper rash.
Three months later, prosecutors dropped the charges, and a judge dismissed the case. No reason was given as to why the charges were dropped.
Thompson filed a lawsuit claiming prosecutors engaged in malicious prosecution and that his constitutional rights were violated. While the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled against Thompson, the Supreme Court disagreed and determined that dropping the charges was sufficient cause to sue the police.
"The question of whether a criminal defendant was wrongly charged does not logically depend on whether the prosecutor or court explained why the prosecution was dismissed," Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote for the court's majority.