I was wrongfully prosecuted for a crime I did not commit. Bogus witnesses admitted only seeing me through a rearview mirror. They claimed I did a shooting from my car. They fingered me in a lineup.
There was no other evidence besides victim and witness testimony, which did not convince the jury. I was found not guilty. Can I sue for being wrongfully prosecuted for a crime?
Prosecutors for the most part enjoy immunity from civil liability for their actions. Judges even more so are immune from being sued while acting in their official capacity. That a jury found a person charged with a crime not guilty does not equal a conclusion that prosecutors engaged in misconduct.
To be true, there is prosecutorial misconduct. But the threshold required for a finding is quite high. Even where Louisiana prosecutors were found to have failed to turn over exculpatory evidence in a case leading to a conviction and a death sentence, the U.S. Supreme Court held prosecutors could not be held responsible for damages. Prosecutors are required to release exculpatory evidence.
But in the 2011 case of Connick v. Thompson, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a $14 million lower-court award to the defendant, who had been acquitted in a later trial.
In rare exceptions, for prosecutorial misconduct, there are a few excellent civil rights attorneys specializing in this area of the law.
I bought a new cell phone and the store ran my new and old phones through a transfer process that was supposed to move my contacts and photos from my old phone to the new one. Problem is, ever since, I get texts from people I do not know.
My data and that of another customer got intertwined. The store’s technical support has no answers. I wonder who else has what private information of mine. Texts? Photos? What can I do about this breach of privacy?
Initial definitions of personally identifiable information included name, address, email address, telephone number, credit card number and date of birth. But that’s been expanded to include any information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity, either alone or when combined with other information.
The definition is important. Disclosing defined data breaches the law. Disclosing photos or other people’s phone numbers might not.
Banks and other financial institutions face strict regulation for protection of personal information under the federal Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. But that doesn’t apply here.
Invasion of privacy laws and prohibitions against unfair and deceptive business practices might well be applied. Also, Massachusetts has stringent standards for protection of personal information and any company doing business there must comply.
You are likely going to have to work this out with the store, because the evolving laws are not fully clear. Also many “click through” and other cell contracts include provisions waiving your right to redress through the courts, limiting dispute resolution to mediation or arbitration.
Andrew Myers of Derry has law offices in Derry and North Andover. He is a member of the American Association for Justice and the New Hampshire Trial Lawyers Association. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.