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Former university soccer coach’s lawsuit after charges dropped fails

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the lower court Monday that a lawsuit brought by a former soccer coach at Oakland City University against an arresting officer should be dismissed for being time-barred. Christian Serino alleged his constitutional rights were violated and multiple state-law torts were committed after trespass and resisting law enforcement charges against him were dropped.

Serino was arrested by Oakland City Chief of Police Alec Hensley in September 2008 after Serino was told by the university that he was suspended. The charges were eventually dismissed. Serino filed his lawsuit in March 2012 alleging false arrest and malicious prosecution in violation of the U.S. Constitution. He also included Indiana tort claims for false arrest, malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The District Court granted Hensley’s and the police department’s motion to dismiss, finding his claims to be time-barred or barred under the Indiana Tort Claims Act. The 7th Circuit affirmed in Christian Serino v. Alec Hensley and City of Oakland City, Indiana, 13-1058. Federal and state law requires Serino to have brought his claims for false arrest by Sept. 15, 2010, two years after his arraignment. Thus, these claims are untimely.

The judges agreed with the District Court that Serino did not present a cognizable Section 1983 claim for malicious prosecution, but for different reasons. The District Court dismissed on the ground that Indiana already provides a remedy for Serino’s harm; but his claim failed before the 7th Circuit because he did not state a constitutional violation independent of the alleged wrongful arrest, Judge Joel Flaum wrote.

The judges also upheld the finding that the state-law malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims should be dismissed on grounds of Hensley’s immunity under the Indiana Tort Claims Act.
 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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