Camm v. Faith

Federal 7th Circuit Court
Civil Court
Section 1983 Action
Case Number: 
No. 18-1440
Decision Date: 
September 10, 2019
Federal District: 
S.D. Ind., New Albany Div.
Affirmed and reversed in part and remanded

Dist. Ct. erred in granting defendants-police officials and prosecutors' motion for summary judgment in plaintiff’s section 1983 action alleging that defendants violated his 4th Amendment rights by generating false statements in first of three probable cause affidavits that led to his arrest and retrial on murder charges for which plaintiff was eventually acquitted. Statements linking plaintiff to murders contained in first probable cause affidavit that were known to be false by certain defendants came from clearly unqualified forensic expert, and thus jury in instant case could properly conclude that said statements, which formed core of affidavit’s inculpatory information against plaintiff, were made intentionally or with reckless disregard for truth. Moreover, remaining evidence in affidavit was insufficient to establish probable cause against plaintiff. However, Dist. Ct. could properly grant defendants’ summary judgment motion with respect to second-and third probable cause affidavits at issue in subsequent retrial of murder charges, where: (1) other qualified experts had confirmed blood-splatter conclusion of expert in first affidavit; and (2) govt. produced other evidence in said affidavits linking plaintiff to murders. Also, plaintiff may proceed to trial on Brady claim that defendants withheld favorable evidence where record showed that: (1) defendants failed to inform plaintiff of lack of qualifications of first expert; and (2) defendants failed to inform plaintiff that it had failed to run DNA test that it had promised to do. Too, instant Brady claim was timely, where it was filed within two years of date that criminal proceedings had terminated in plaintiff’s favor.