Man claims police framed him for his wife’s murder
Case: MALLORY v. HOLDORF, Civil Action No. 3:11-03295-MBS (D. South Carolina, September 28, 2012)
What happened: Plaintiff found his wife brutally murdered. Police suspected plaintiff based on some relatively equivocal evidence. After two murder trials and an acquittal, the prosecutor seems to have decided that the police’s witness against plaintiff was the actual murderer.
Decision: Police did not violate 4a because they had “probable cause.”
[T]he court is persuaded by the evidence of record that at the moment of Plaintiff’s arrest and under the facts and circumstances known to Defendants at the time, a reasonable law enforcement officer would have believed that there was a probability that Plaintiff was responsible for the murder of his wife. Thus, Defendants satisfy the relatively low threshold required by the Fourth Amendment that probable cause existed regarding Plaintiff’s arrest. Moreover, because probable cause existed to arrest Plaintiff, Defendants did not violate Plaintiff’s constitutional rights. Accordingly, Defendants are entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiff’s claims for false arrest, malicious prosecution, and violation of due process rights under § 1983.