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Saturday, February 24, 2024
Courthouse News Service
Saturday, February 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Florida Officer Immune From False Arrest Claims

(CN) - A Florida police officer is immune from claims that he falsely arrested a man whose charges against him were later dropped, the 11th Circuit ruled, because the officer relied on solid investigative work.

Frank Davis, a police officer in Sanford, Fla., investigated David Case for 37 days before arresting him on charges of larceny and passing a forged or altered instrument.

John Stein, who had recently been fired by Case, informed Davis that:

- Case had possession of a stolen Peterbilt truck;

- Case's partner, David Brannon, was involved in drug trafficking;

- Case and Brannon had been involved in swapping license plates and removing parts from the vehicles they repossessed, and

- Brannon had asked Stein to kill Brannon's former father-in-law.

After the prosecutor dropped the charges against him, Case sued for false arrest.

Judge Pryor of the Atlanta-based federal appeals court agreed with the district court that Davis was entitled to qualified immunity, along with the city of Sanford and Sheriff Donald Eslinger.

"Officer Davis was entitled to rely on allegations of an informant and corroborating evidence as a probable cause for a warrantless arrest," Pryor wrote. "Officer Davis is immune from suit and entitled to summary judgment in his favor.

For similar reasons, Pryor ruled favor of the city and Eslinger.

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