Police can’t arrest for re-sale of tickets in NV — not a crime to do that there
Case: Rosenbaum v. Washoe County, 10-15637 (9th Cir, 30 Nov 2011)
What happened: Suspect won free tickets to the fair from a radio station. Suspect took his tickets to the fair and sold the tickets. Police officer arrested man, thinking that “scalping” tickets is illegal in Nevada. The police ended up booking the suspect for felony child abuse and felony “obtaining money by false pretenses.” The prosecutor ended up finally dropping all charges against the suspect, who then sued to become the plaintiff in this case. The police officer argued that he could reasonably have believed that there were grounds to arrest under a couple of Nevada “false pretenses” type statutes, including one about pretending to collect for charity.
Decision: Police may end up being liable here. No qi for the police on the false-arrest-based 4a claim under section 1983. It was not reasonable to believe that the suspect/plaintiff had committed any crime, specifically any false pretenses type crimes, by scalping tickets in Nevada.
Comment: I wonder how much the original charge of felony child abuse may have swayed the court. That was a pretty cruel maneuver by the police, and it is not the type of thing that makes one want to trust police with a lot of discretion in general, including the margin of discretion that a relatively liberal qi policy would afford the police.