Bouche v. City of Mount Vernon

U.S. DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Civil Rights

New York Law Journal

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Judge Shira Scheindlin

Bouche was arrested on Jan. 12, 2009, for domestic violence. Later that day, after interrogation by police, he was arrested and charged with Knox's murder in 2008. Indicted in February, Bouche was acquitted in April 2010. Under 42 USC §1983 he claimed false arrest and malicious prosecution grounded on falsified statements coerced from three witnesses in the murder investigation. Two witnesses recanted. After prior motion practice all that remained were claims for false arrest, malicious prosecution, defendant city's respondeat superior liability, and a state constitution claim. The court granted defendants judgment on the ground that codefendant police officers were entitled to qualified immunity because they had probable cause, or arguable probable cause, to arrest Bouche. They had probable cause to arrest Bouche on the domestic violence charge. Because Bouche was validly arrested it was unnecessary to address whether probable cause existed to arrest him for murder. Even absent the domestic violence charge, probable cause supported arrest. Affidavits by the recanting witnesses—deemed unreliable hearsay entitled to no weight—did not create a genuine factual issue concerning defendants' probable cause to arrest Bouche.

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