New Jersey and Pennsylvania Prison Abuse Attorneys
What is malicious prosecution?
From the average prisoner’s perspective, any kind of prosecution may be seem to be malicious—however, the phrase “malicious prosecution” refers to something quite specific.
Malicious prosecution occurs when a prosecutor pursues a case without “probable cause.” Probable cause is a reasonable belief that you were the individual who committed the offense. It’s not enough for the district attorney to have a hunch; there has to be evidence, either real or circumstantial, in order to prosecute a case.
Malicious prosecution may also have occurred if a prosecutor broke the law (prosecutor misconduct), or knew of laws broken, in order to build a false case against someone.
Filing a claim of malicious prosecution requires an experienced attorney because:
- You can only sue the state after you’ve been acquitted or exonerated of a crime, and not before.
- A verdict of “not guilty” does not automatically entitle you to file a claim; there also has to be tangible evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the district attorney.
Malicious Prosecution and Prosecutor Misconduct
Malicious prosecution cases are easier to pursue when there is evidence of prosecutor misconduct. For example if a prosecutor participated in, was aware of, or encouraged:
- Planting of evidence (such as a gun or knife);
- Withholding of exculpatory evidence (such as a witness who can place you elsewhere at the time of the crime); and/or
- Suborning of witnesses or informants to provide false testimony.