Ninth Circuit: Police Officers Not Liable for Arrest and Prosecution of Suspect Who Claimed Self-Defense

In Yousefian v. City of Glendale, 779 F.3d 1010 (9th Cir. 2015), the Ninth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of several police officers who were sued for false arrest and malicious prosecution. The court held there was probable cause to arrest and prosecute the suspect, notwithstanding the fact that the suspect himself called the police and told them that he acted in self-defense.  Although self-defense evidence may create doubt in the minds of jurors sufficient to find that there was not proof beyond a reasonable doubt to convict, probable cause can still exist to support the underlying arrest and prosecution. “The mere existence of some evidence that could suggest self-defense does not negate probable cause.”  The court further held that the arresting officer’s subsequent romantic relationship with the suspect’s wife did not undermine the existence of probable cause because it commenced after all of the evidence relating to the incident had been collected and documented in official reports.

Tags: Case Update, Government Liability