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Albright v. Oliver
United States Supreme Court
510 U.S. 266 (1994)
The state of Illinois charged Kevin Albright (plaintiff) with selling a substance that looked like an illegal drug. When Albright realized there was a warrant for his arrest, he surrendered to Roger Oliver (defendant), a police detective. Albright denied guilt, posted bond, and was released. At a preliminary hearing, Oliver testified that Albright had sold the substance in question. At a later preliminary hearing, the court dismissed the charge because it did not state an offense under state law. Albright subsequently filed suit against Oliver, claiming that, in arresting Albright for a nonexistent criminal offense, Oliver had violated Albright’s substantive due-process right to be free from prosecution without probable cause. The trial court dismissed Albright’s complaint, and the court of appeals affirmed, holding that a plaintiff has an actionable tort for prosecution without probable cause only if the prosecution causes a palpable consequence such as job loss or incarceration. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, C.J.)
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