Skip to comments.Supreme Court sides with Secret Service agents in free-speech case
Posted on 06/05/2012 7:08:48 AM PDT by BuckeyeTexan
A Colorado man has lost his bid to sue two Secret Service agents who allegedly had him arrested in retaliation for critical comments he made to then-Vice President Dick Cheney during a public meet and greet event at a local shopping mall.
The man, Steven Howards, filed a lawsuit against the agents, claiming the retaliatory arrest violated his First Amendment free speech right to express an opinion in public without facing punishment from government officials.
The US Supreme Court ruled 8 to 0 on Monday that the two agents are entitled to the protection of qualified immunity from such a lawsuit.
Writing for the court, Justice Clarence Thomas said that the agents who arranged for Howardss arrest had probable cause to believe a crime had been committed because Howards made a false statement to one of the agents.
Justice Thomas said that given the presence of probable cause to conduct an arrest, any subsequent claim that the arrest was motivated by retaliation based on speech must fail.
This Court has never recognized a First Amendment right to be free from a retaliatory arrest that is supported by probable cause; nor was such a right otherwise clearly established at the time of Howards arrest, Thomas wrote in a 12-page decision.
He added: Here, the right in question is not a general right to be free from retaliation for ones speech, but the more specific right to be free from a retaliatory arrest that is otherwise supported by probable cause. This Court has never held that there is such a right.
The decision is consistent with a trend at the high court in recent years granting government officials broad immunity from civil lawsuits charging that officials used their government power to violate constitutional rights.
(Excerpt) Read more at m.csmonitor.com ...
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I don't speak legalese, but it would seem to me that if there was probable cause it couldn't be a retaliatory arrest in the first place.
This is a dangerous law that should offend the sensibilities of any freedom-loving person.
Note to self: Do not say anything whatsoever to any 'federal official', even if it is seemingly innocuous, because it puts you at risk of making a false statement that can result in your imprisonment at the whim of such an official, even if you did not knowingly or willfully make a false statement.
So there was punishment after all! Probably sufficient for the circumstance.
If they send over all the bad actors from the Colombia trip, Guam will surely tip over.
I thought that was odd too but retaliatory arrest may be a legal term. Not being a lawyer, I don’t know.
Out-to-lunch picture seems appropriate.
Here is some useful info for those who wish to learn:
I am sure you have heard ELECTED and APPOINTED officials say, they have immunity from prosecution for any thing they have done wrong. Prosecutors and police officers are notorious for that statement. There is a U.S. Supreme Court case that says they are liable. George D Owen V. City of Independence, Missouri. Decided April 16, 1980. When you look this up scroll down to 25 See, e.g., Globe 365 (remarks of Rep. Arthur) (For Owen v Independence Click (HERE)
George M. WALLACE, Plaintiff-Appellant,
David HAYSE, in his Official Capacity as Judge in Fayette
District Court, Defendant-Appellee.
United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit.
Aug. 6, 1993.
E.D.Ky., No. 92-00510; Forester, J.
VACATED AND REMANDED.
Before: GUY and NELSON, Circuit Judges, and WELLFORD, Senior Circuit Judge.
George M. Wallace, a pro se Kentucky prisoner, appeals from a judgment of the district court dismissing as frivolous, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1915(d), his civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983. This case has been referred to a panel of the court pursuant to Rule 9(a), Rules of the Sixth Circuit. Upon examination, this panel unanimously agrees that oral argument is not needed. Fed.R.App.P. 34(a).
Wallace’s suit was filed against Fayette County District Court Judge David Hayse. Judge Hayse was sued in his official capacity, and Wallace sought injunctive and declaratory relief. The magistrate judge’s report determined that Judge Hayse was absolutely immune from suit because the allegations of Wallace’s complaint indicated that Judge Hayse was acting in his judicial capacity. Over Wallace’s objections, the district judge determined that when a judge is performing an adjudicative function, he is absolutely immune from all suits brought pursuant to Sec. 1983. On appeal, Wallace argues that judicial immunity does not extend to Sec. 1983 suits which request injunctive and declaratory relief.
In Pulliam v. Allen, 466 U.S. 522, 541-42 (1984), the court concluded “that judicial immunity is not a bar to prospective injunctive relief against a judicial officer acting in her judicial capacity.” See also Berger v. Cuyahoga County Bar Ass’n, 983 F.2d 718, 721 (6th Cir.), cert. denied, 113 S.Ct. 2416 (1993); Sevier v. Turner, 742 F.2d 262, 269 (6th Cir.1984). Therefore, we conclude that the district court committed error when it dismissed Wallace’s suit based upon the determination that Judge Hayse enjoyed absolute immunity against Sec. 1983 suits which request injunctive and declaratory relief.
Accordingly, the judgment of the district court is vacated and the case is remanded for further consideration. Rule 9(b)(3), Rules of the Sixth Circuit.
1 F.3d 1243, Wallace v. Hayse, (C.A.6 (Ky.) 1993
Sec. 1983. Civil Action for Deprivation of Rights.
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia.
42 USC 1983
LL - Is the Court saying this wasn't a retaliatory arrest because there was probable cause or that it was retaliatory but supported by probable cause? I'm confused.
Well, suppose you were a police officer and didn’t like a particular guy because of what he said. You can then investigate him thoroughly, and see if he is committing any crimes, which you not otherwise bother to do.
This guy’s mistake was giving any statements at all to the police.
Thanks much for the reference.
I think the problem here that most do not see is the SCOTUS is just as corrupt as those who appointed them to the bench in the first place.
'The decision is consistent with a trend at the high court in recent years granting government officials broad immunity from civil lawsuits charging that officials used their government power to violate constitutional rights'.
In all cases where a CITIZEN can demonstrate through a preponderance of evidence to a reasonable person that a Public Servant, Public Official, or a Public Employee has made ANY DELIBERATE FALSE OR MISLEADING STATEMENTS or Violated ANY Law,Statute, Regulation, Policy or Procedure, or has violated the Civil Rights of ANY HUMAN BEING during the course of their professional duties or acts or actions taken, there SHALL BE NO IMMUNITY of ANY KIND for Any Reason EVER. There Shall be No Exceptions, or Exclusions for any person for any reason.
Problems Solved, after all whats good for the goose...
It's a confusing opinion.
The dispositive issue is immunity. A federal official has immunity, even for an unconstitutional action, unless prior law clearly established that the action was unconstitutional.
Here, no prior case had ever held an arrest with probable cause to be unconstitutional. So the holding was that the agent had immunity because he had probable cause to arrest, whether or not the arrest was retaliatory, so the court doesn't actually decide if it was retaliatory or not.
Thank you. That makes sense.