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Civil Rights Action Involving Incorrect Arrest Warrant Affidavit

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By FindLaw Staff on May 24, 2010 3:59 PM

Fletcher v. Burkhalter, No. 09-7003, involved a civil rights action claiming that defendant signed a probable-cause affidavit that led to plaintiff's improper arrest for engaging in a fraudulent land sale.  The court of appeals affirmed the denial of summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds, holding that: 1) the court lacked jurisdiction to consider defendant's argument that the district court erred in holding that there was sufficient evidence to support a finding of malice; and 2) the approvals of the district attorney and the judge did not absolve defendant of liability.

As the court wrote:  "Jack Wade Fletcher (Plaintiff Fletcher) sued McIntosh County Deputy Sheriff Jerome Burkhalter under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He alleged that Deputy Burkhalter had violated his rights under the Fourth Amendment (as applied to the states under the Fourteenth Amendment, see Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 655 (1961)), by signing a probable-cause affidavit that led to his improper arrest for engaging in a fraudulent land sale. According to Plaintiff Fletcher, the evidence provided to Deputy Burkhalter by the victim of the fraud clearly showed that he was not the Jack Fletcher who had committed the offense."

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