CA6: PC for ptf’s arrest and prosecution defeats malicious prosecution claim, despite his acquittal

“This is one of those cases. A witness told Detective Keith Roberts that her former boyfriend, Eugene Baker, and one of Baker’s friends whom she knew as ‘Desean’ had robbed and murdered a competing drug dealer. After this witness identified a photo of the plaintiff, Duzuan Lester, as the ‘Desean’ who had accompanied Baker to the murder, Kentucky prosecutors indicted Baker and Lester. When confronted face-to-face with Lester at trial, however, the witness suggested that Lester did not look like Baker’s accomplice. Finding that the prosecution had not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury acquitted Lester. He now claims that Detective Roberts violated the Fourth Amendment and Kentucky tort law by inadequately investigating the murder before helping initiate the criminal case. Yet the Fourth Amendment and Kentucky law required only probable cause for Lester’s pretrial detention and prosecution. And this witness’s earlier identification of Lester—combined with corroborating evidence like DNA at the scene—sufficed to meet that standard. We thus affirm the grant of summary judgment to Roberts.” Lester v. Roberts, 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 1513 (6th Cir. Jan. 20, 2021).

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