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Hunt v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware
69 A.3d 360 (Del. 2013)


Facts

David Pritchett (defendant) was a Delaware state trooper and school-resource officer (SRO). David McDowell, the vice principal of an elementary school, asked Pritchett to question a fifth-grade student, AB, about a claim that AB had taken money from an autistic student. AB told Pritchett that another student, Anthony Hunt (plaintiff), had taken the money. Despite being certain that AB was the culprit, Pritchett took Hunt to a room without McDowell’s permission, closed the door, and proceeded to question Hunt alongside AB. Prior to entering the room, Pritchett told Hunt that he did not think AB had taken the money. During the questioning, Pritchett allegedly used a harsh voice and told Hunt 11 times that Pritchett could arrest Hunt and place him in jail if he lied. Hunt was visibly shaken. AB confessed to taking the money. Hunt, by and through his mother, Lisa DeSombre (plaintiff), filed suit against the State of Delaware, Pritchett, and others (defendants), asserting a violation of Hunt’s civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED), false imprisonment, and battery under state tort law. Subsequently, Hunt’s claims against all of the defendants except for Pritchett were resolved. Pritchett filed a motion for summary judgment. The trial court granted Pritchett’s motion, and Hunt appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Berger, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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