Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ninth Circuit: No Immunity for Sheriff Arpaio on Some Claims Brought By Journalists

The Ninth Circuit has affirmed in part and reversed in part a lower court ruling in a case involving journalists from the Phoenix New Times, who allege that Sheriff Joe Arpaio and others engaged in malicious prosecution and other activities designed to prevent them from publishing articles critical of the sheriff and others involved in law enforcement in Maricopa County, Arizona. While the court denied the plaintiffs the opportunity to proceed on the malicious prosecution claim, it permitted them the opportunity to proceed on other claims. Wrote Judge Jay Bybee in conclusion for the majority:

For the foregoing reasons, we affirm the district court's decision to grant qualified immunity to Wilenchik and Arpaio on Lacey's malicious prosecution claims. We reverse the district court's grant of qualified immunity to Wilenchik and Arpaio as to Lacey's Fourteenth Amendment claims based on the First Amendment (retaliation), Fourth Amendment (false arrest), and Equal Protection Clause (selective prosecution). We  reverse the dismissal with prejudice of the conspiracy claim against Thomas and remand with instructions to grant leave to amend on that claim. We affirm the district court's dismissal of the federal racketeering claims. We remand to the district court with instructions to reconsider the claims against Maricopa County and whether to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims. Finally, we deny the defendants' motion to strike the portion of Lacey's reply brief that addresses Lacey's ยง 1983 conspiracy claim.

 

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