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Attorney can’t recast untimely 4th Amendment claim against prosecutor

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The Muncie attorney who sued former Delaware County Prosecutor Mark McKinney, alleging due process violations following his arrest and acquittal on conspiracy to commit bribery charges, lost his appeal before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The judges found the attorney was trying to recast an untimely false arrest claim into a due process claim.

Michael Alexander and McKinney butted heads over the years on McKinney’s handling of drug forfeitures involving local law enforcement’s drug task force while McKinney was deputy prosecutor. McKinney was suspended by the Indiana Supreme Court in 2011 after he was no longer prosecutor for his involvement in prosecuting the drug offender cases while pocketing assets seized from defendants in those cases.

After he was elected prosecutor in 2007, the 7th Circuit Court opinion says McKinney sought a way to punish Alexander as an outspoken critic.

Alexander’s colleague, Jeff Hinds, was under investigation by the FBI for possible involvement in a bribery scheme. The FBI originally decided Alexander wasn’t involved, but later allegedly worked with McKinney to bring false charges against Alexander. False and misleading evidence was gathered and submitted to a special prosecutor on conspiracy to commit bribery charges in 2007. That prosecutor was unaware the evidence was false or altered. A jury acquitted Alexander of the charges in 2009. More than a year later, Alexander sued McKinney and the FBI agents. McKinney filed a motion to dismiss, which the District Court granted, finding he was entitled to qualified immunity because Alexander didn’t allege that he was deprived of a cognizable constitutional right.

The 7th Circuit affirmed, finding that Alexander was trying to circumvent his failure to file a timely Fourth Amendment claim for false arrest and his decision to not file a state law malicious prosecution claim. The Circuit Court has squarely rejected similar cases to Alexander’s, where a plaintiff tries to file a due process claim when other state law and constitutional claims are unavailable. He should have used the Fourth Amendment, not the due process clause, to challenge the lawfulness of his arrest, Judge Michael Kanne wrote.

 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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