CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

SCOTUS Decides Wallace v. Kato

Supreme_court_20_17From The US Supreme Court handed down its decision in Wallace v. Kato, where the Court held that the two-year statute of limitations for a false arrest action under under 42 USC 1983 begins accruing at the time of arrest.

Andre Wallace was arrested without probable cause in 1994, convicted, and released from prison in 2002 after an Illinois court reversed the conviction. He subsequently filed a civil rights lawsuit against the police officers involved, but his case was dismissed because he did not file the lawsuit within the two-year statute of limitations. Wallace argued that two-year period began accruing when he was released from prison, but the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that false arrest claims accrue at the time of arrest.

The Supreme Court upheld this decision, holding "that the statute of limitations upon a §1983 claim seeking damages for a false arrest in violation of the Fourth Amendment, where the arrest is followed by criminal proceedings, begins to run at the time the claimant becomes detained pursuant to legal process." Full Decision. . . [Mark Godsey]

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