Malicious Law Enforcement - Definition, Examples, Cases, Processes (2023)

Malicious prosecution is a legal term that refers to the filing of a civil or criminal case that has noprobable cause, and is presented for any purpose other than the pursuit of justice. If such a case is decided in favor ofaccused, you can turn around and send acivil actionagainst itplaintiffor prosecutors for malicious prosecutiondamage.Consider the following to explore this conceptmalicious law enforcementDefinition.

Definition of malicious persecution


(Video) What Qualifies as Malicious Prosecution?

  1. A prosecution that occurs without probable cause and causes harm.

What is malicious tracking?

When a person files a civil complaint or a prosecutor files criminal charges against a person withoutgood purpose, maliciously or for undue cause, the accused may have the right to seek justice by exercising a malicious criminal action against him. Malicious prosecution is a "permit," which means it is a specific offense for which a person can sue the wrongdoer for forcing him to defend himself in the original case.

Laws regarding malicious prosecution vary by state and generally must be filed within a specified time after the malicious case is resolved.dismissalor judgment. Malicious persecution is one of them.common law, and not statutory law, and strives to prevent abuse of the legal system. Examples of abuses of the legal system include goals such as damaging the defendant's reputation, harassing the defendant, or trying to blame a suspect other than the person who actually did something wrong.

Example of malicious prosecution in a criminal case

Marty, a district attorney, is running for mayor in his town. When he loses the election, he firmly believes that a successful local businessman sabotaged his campaign. As the city's chief prosecutor, Marty accuses the man of trying to bribe officials. The man's lawyer discovers that Marty has nothing.Proofthis points to his client's guilt and urges that the charges be dropped.

(Video) MALICIOUS PROSECUTION|Tort Law(with case law) by Sheenam Kataria

Over the course of several months until the charges were dropped, the man paid more than $5,000 in attorney fees, and the allegations are causing him business losses. The man files a civil lawsuit against Marty for malicious prosecution. He argues that Marty abused the legal system and his authority as a prosecutor to tarnish his reputation. The employer asks the court to do soforgiveto compensate you for your losses, including your attorneys' fees and loss of reputation.

Malicious law enforcement elements

To be successful in these types of legal proceedings, certain elements of malicious prosecution must be demonstrated. If any of the following four items are missing, the case will likely be dismissed or a judgment entered against the plaintiff.

  1. The original case was resolved in favor of the plaintiff (who was the defendant in the original case); this case must be closed before any malicious legal action can be brought.
  2. The defendant filed the original case or played an active role in it; the defendant must have been responsible for filing the original case, and not just involved in the case orcourt hearing.
  3. The defendant did not have reasonable or probable cause to file and pursue the original case; it must be shown that the defendant did not genuinely believe that the plaintiff was guilty or liable in the original case.
  4. The defendant filed or pursued the original case for an improper purpose: It must be proven that the defendant pursued the original case for an improper purpose, such as B. a desire to ruin the plaintiff's reputation, or simply out of malice or ill will.

criminal immunity

State and federal laws provide what is known asfiscalimmunityto prosecutors and other law enforcement officials. This helps prosecutors do their jobs without constantly having to deal with malicious charges from law enforcement. However, there are limits to the protection afforded by criminal immunity. If a defendant in a criminal case that has been finally dismissed can show that the prosecutor acted outside of his or her normal authority in prosecuting the case, the prosecutor may not be covered by immunity from prosecution.


Compensation for malicious prosecution

If a plaintiff is successful in their case, the damages from malicious prosecution can be significant. If the plaintiff was able to compensate for economic damages such as B. lost wages or employment, legal fees paid to defend the claim, and other costs, the plaintiff may be awarded the full amount proven. In addition, the plaintiff may receive damages for her reputation and compensation for pain and suffering. The court can even order the defendant to paypunitive damages.

Example of damages for malicious persecution

When Tanya's ex-husband Ralph finds out that she is dating his accountant Jeff, he is very upset. Ralph decides to get back at Jeff by claiming that Jeff embezzled money from his account and then files a civil lawsuit. At trial nearly a year later, it is quickly discovered that there is virtually no evidence that Jeff is guilty of any crime, and that Ralph brought the case out of spite. The case is dismissed. Unfortunately, the allegations and the investigation into the case resulted in Jeff losing his job.

Jeff later files a lawsuit against Ralph for malicious prosecution. When all the facts are proven, theRichterruled in Jeff's favor, awarding him a full year's lost wages of $54,000, the full amount of his legal fees of $8,500, and $10,000 for damages to his professional reputation.

(Video) Malicious Prosecution and Abuse of Process

In this example of malicious prosecution, the court also orders Ralph to pay an additional $10,000 in punitive damages to punish him for knowingly conspiring and taking steps to ruin Ralph's reputation, resulting in the loss of his job. In this example of malicious prosecution damages, the offender was ordered to pay a total of $82,500.

Example of a Malicious Law Enforcement Case

On September 4, 1981, Gibson Discount Center manager Chad Crosgrove discovered that money was missing from business accounts. In addition to Crosgrove, the store's part-time accountant, Shauna Hodges, had access to the money, though both refused to accept it. A few days later, Crosgrove and other Gibson officials filed a lawsuit.Complaintat the police station and accused Hodges ofrobo. Hodges was arrested and taken to prison. Afterpreliminary hearingShe was released and summoned to trial on May 12, 1982.

After Hodges was formally charged with theft, Gibson officials conducted an internal investigation that found that Crosgrove had, in fact, embezzled approximately $9,000 from the deal during a period that included Sept. 4.heHeist. Instead of informing prosecutors of his findings, Hodges could take it upon himself to do so.relieved, and Crosgrove attacked, Gibson officials kept their cool and allowed Crosgrove to resign his position and promised to return the stolen money.

(Video) Malicious prosecution | Law of Tort | Tamil | A.C.Nakshahtra

It wasn't until the night before Hodges's trial was to begin, almost two full months after the Crosgrove robbery was discovered, that Gibson notified the prosecutor. Although the prosecutor immediately dropped the charges against Hodges, she endured the stigma and stress of the situation for much longer than was necessary simply because of Gibson's actions.

Hodges filed a civil lawsuit for malicious prosecution against his employer, Gibson, and Chad Crosgrove. During the trial, Hodges adequately demonstrated all the required elements of malicious prosecution.Jury:

  1. She had been indicted for theft and the case had been dropped in her favor.
  2. The parties she was suing were responsible both for prosecuting her and for continuing the process even if they discovered her innocence.
  3. The original prosecution was commenced without probable cause, as the Gibson Discount Center did not even investigate Crosgrove until Hodges was arrested and charged, with Crosgrove accusing them of covering up their own guilt.
  4. Both Gibson and Crosgrove had acted out of the wrong motive, as Gibson apparently had someinclinationagainst Hodges, and Crosgrove acted in self-defense.

The judges ruled in favor of Shauna Hodges, awarding her $77,000 from Gibson and $11,000 from Crosgrove, for a total of $88,000.


Related Legal Issues and Provisions

  • civil process– A legal proceeding when a person claims to have been harmed by the actions of another person.
  • complaint– A formal accusation by a law enforcement agency that a person has committed a crime.
  • damage– A cash prize as compensation for a financial loss, loss or damage to persons orproperty, or an injury.
  • accused– A party against whom a complaint has been filed in a civil court or who has been indicted or charged with a felony or misdemeanor.
  • Due to the process– The fundamental constitutional right to a fair trial, where all parties are informed of the process and have the opportunity to be heard.
  • jurisdiction– The legal power to hear legal cases and issue sentences; the geographical area of ​​competence to enforce the law.
  • Intention– The determination to perform an action for a specific purpose; a decision to use a specific means for a specific purpose.
  • punitive damages– Money awarded to the injured party in excess of their actual damage. Punitive damages may be awarded in cases where the defendant's actions in connection with the case are malicious or so reckless as to give a reasonable person pause. Punitive damages, also called "exemplary damages," are ordered to punish the wrongdoer for an egregious offense in a civil matter.


What is an example of malicious prosecution? ›

Examples of Malicious Prosecution Lawsuits that Failed

A plaintiff who sues the defendant's attorney simply for pursuing a case against the plaintiff that the attorney believed would be unsuccessful.

What is a malicious investigation? ›

A malicious prosecution occurs when a police officer or other government official causes criminal charges to be filed against a person when the official knows probable cause is lacking and the charges are filed because of personal animosity, bias, or some other reason outside the interests of justice.

Which of the following are elements of malicious prosecution? ›

Like the tort of abuse of process, its elements include (1) intentionally (and maliciously) instituting and pursuing (or causing to be instituted or pursued) a legal action (civil or criminal) that is (2) brought without probable cause and (3) dismissed in favor of the victim of the malicious prosecution.

What must a plaintiff show to successfully sue for malicious prosecution? ›

In order to establish a cause of action for malicious prosecution of either a criminal or civil proceeding, a plaintiff has to prove that the prior action (1) was commenced by or at the direction of the defendant and was pursued to a legal termination in his, plaintiff's, favor (2) was brought without probable cause; ...

What is malicious legal process? ›

Malicious prosecution denotes the wrongful initiation of criminal proceedings. It is prosecution against a person without any likely cause that causes damages. It is a kind of tort, and the victim has the right that he even can sue the police authorities for any such wrong done by them.

What constitutes abuse of court process? ›

Abuse of court process simply means that the process of the court has not been used bona fide and properly. It also connotes the employment of judicial process by a party in improper use to the irritation and annoyance of his opponent and the efficient and effective administration of justice.

What is abuse of process in police misconduct? ›

Abuse of process has been defined as "something so unfair and wrong that the court should not allow a prosecutor to proceed with what is in all other respect a regular proceeding" 1.

What is a malicious process and how do you detect it? ›

Malicious processes are identified by the md5sum of one or more running process on the remote Windows hosts that matches software known to violate some corporate policies. Information presented within this chart can be useful in detecting entry points for malicious processes.

What's an example of malicious? ›

But while malevolent suggests deep and lasting dislike, malicious usually means petty and spiteful. Malicious gossipers are often simply envious of a neighbor's good fortune. Vandals may take malicious pleasure in destroying and defacing property but usually don't truly hate the owners.

What is the test for malicious prosecution? ›

The test for malicious prosecution

The Supreme Court held that a claimant bringing a malicious prosecution claim needs to establish two things, that: Proceedings were brought against it without reasonable and probable cause. the party bringing proceedings did so maliciously.

What is police malicious prosecution? ›

The meaning of Malicious Prosecution is that police have pursued a Prosecution without a reasonable cause. Simple errors, Misjudgements or even Negligence by Police will not be enough to satisfy a court that any prosecution was truly Malicious.

Can you sue for false allegations? ›

You could sue them for libel or slander. Technically these crimes are torts rather than criminal offences so an arrest wouldn't occur.

How do you establish malicious prosecution? ›

The Test for Malicious Prosecution
  1. The proceedings must have been initiated by the defendant;
  2. The proceedings must have terminated in favour of the plaintiff;
  3. The plaintiff must show that the proceedings were instituted without reasonable cause; and.
  4. The defendant was actuated by malice.
Apr 28, 2022

What is the common law tort of malicious prosecution? ›

The tort of malicious prosecution is committed where the defendant maliciously and without probable cause, initiates against the plaintiff a criminal prosecution which terminates in the plaintiff's favor and which results in damage to the plaintiff's reputation.

What constitutes vindictive prosecution? ›

vindictive prosecution where the prosecutor increased the charges against the defendant from a misdemeanor to a felony after the defendant pled not guilty and refused to waive his rights to be tried by a district judge or a jury.

What is the difference between malicious prosecution and abuse of legal process? ›

The primary difference between the two legal actions is that malicious prosecution concerns the malicious or wrongful commencement of an action, while, on the other hand, abuse of process concerns the improper use of the legal process after process has already been issued and a suit has commenced.

What is the hardest form of abuse to prove? ›

Emotional or psychological abuse

Emotional abuse often coexists with other forms of abuse, and it is the most difficult to identify. Many of its potential consequences, such as learning and speech problems and delays in physical development, can also occur in children who are not being emotionally abused.

What type of abuse is the hardest to prove and prosecute? ›

Child sexual abuse (CSA) cases are notoriously difficult to prosecute. Medical evidence is available in less than 5% of the reported cases of CSA and the prosecution often must rely on the testimony of a child. Prosecutors have the responsibility to achieve justice.

What is abuse of due process of law? ›

Abuse of process “denotes conduct that is not prima facie illegal” but that “can nonetheless cause significant prejudice to the party against whom it is aimed and can undermine the fair and orderly resolution of disputes by international arbitration.”

What are the three types of police abuse of authority? ›

Below, we discuss common forms of police brutality and what you can do to protect your civil rights.
  • #1: False Imprisonment. ...
  • #2: Excessive Force. ...
  • #3: Malicious Prosecution. ...
  • Our Police Brutality Lawyers Will Advocate for You.
Nov 29, 2021

What are the actions of the police that are considered unethical? ›

Examples of police misconduct include police brutality, dishonesty, fraud, coercion, torture to force confessions, abuse of authority, and sexual assault, including the demand for sexual favors in exchange for leniency. Any of these actions can increase the likelihood of a wrongful conviction.

What are the two types of police misconduct? ›

To give you a better idea, examples of police misconduct include: Excessive force. Discriminatory harassment.

What methods would you employ to detect a potentially malicious file? ›

Static Analysis

It can be useful to identify malicious infrastructure, libraries or packed files. Technical indicators are identified such as file names, hashes, strings such as IP addresses, domains, and file header data can be used to determine whether that file is malicious.

Which of the following are forms of malicious? ›

Types of Malware Attacks
  • Adware.
  • Bot.
  • Ransomware.
  • Rootkit.
  • Spyware.
  • Trojan Horse.
  • Virus.

What is a malicious incident? ›

Malicious Incident means those emergency incidents which stem from an individual's intentional purpose to cause property damage, endanger lives, and/or cause the response of emergency personnel for other than an actual emergency.

What is considered a malicious threat? ›

A: Malicious threats intend to do you harm. Malignant threats are threats that are always present.

What is example of malicious damage? ›

Vandalism & Malicious Mischief: the intentional injury or destruction of property. i.e. someone spray painting the walls with graffiti, breaking sinks and toilets or punching holes in walls. Burglary: includes damage to your property caused by burglars, but not theft of property.

What is malicious prosecution in simple words? ›

Malicious prosecution is an abuse of the process of the court by wrongfully setting the law in motion on a criminal charge. In order to succeed the plaintiff must prove that there was a prosecution without any just and reasonable cause, initiated by malice and the case was decided in the plaintiff's favour.

What kind of crime is malicious prosecution? ›

An unjustified claim or charge of criminal conduct or the affirmative use of the justice system to unlawfully prosecute may give rise to a claim of malicious prosecution.

What is malicious example? ›

But while malevolent suggests deep and lasting dislike, malicious usually means petty and spiteful. Malicious gossipers are often simply envious of a neighbor's good fortune. Vandals may take malicious pleasure in destroying and defacing property but usually don't truly hate the owners.

What are the four elements of malicious prosecution? ›

[3] To succeed in an action for malicious prosecution, a plaintiff must prove that the prosecution was: (1) initiated by the defendant; (2) terminated in favour of the plaintiff; (3) undertaken without reasonable and probable cause; and (4) motivated by malice or a primary purpose other than that of carrying the law ...

What is a malicious intent? ›

Malicious intent means the person acted willfully or intentionally to cause harm, without legal justification.

How do you prove malice in law? ›

The statement must be published maliciously. Malice is defined as a statement made by a party who knows that the statement is false or is reckless as to its truth. Being negligent as to the truth of the statement is not enough, or if the words are published in good faith, even if they are false.

What is proof of malice? ›

“To show actual malice, plaintiffs must demonstrate [that the defendant] either knew his statement was false or subjectively entertained serious doubt his statement was truthful.” Christian Research (2007) 148 Cal. App.

How do you prove malicious damage? ›

If you have been charged with malicious damage, the prosecutor will need to prove:
  1. The damage or destruction of the property was caused by you.
  2. The property was owned by another person or co-owned by you and another person.
  3. The intention of causing the damage (it cannot be an accident) beyond a reasonable doubt.

What are the Defences of malicious prosecution? ›

There are various types of defences that can be taken when one is charged with a claim of malicious prosecution: Reasonable suspicion that the plaintiff committed the alleged crime for which he was prosecuted. An honest belief by defendant in the guilt of the plaintiff.

What is malicious civil action and abuse of legal process? ›

Malicious Prosecution is an intentional tort in common law. In some of the jurisdictions the term “malicious prosecution” denotes the wrongful initiation of the criminal proceedings and the term “malicious use of process” denotes wrongful initiation of the civil proceedings.


(Legal Matters by Saibabu Sunkara)
2. Abuse of Process & Malicious Prosecution
3. The Conservatism of Political Correctness
4. How To Sue The Police: An Introduction to Civil Actions for Criminal Lawyers
(Doughty Street Chambers)
5. Malicious prosecution
(Conrad Mutyaba)
6. Malicious Prosecution: How to Protect Yourself, Your Firm, and Your Clients from Liability


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