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Hygh v. Jacobs

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
961 F.2d 359 (2d Cir. 1992)


William C. Hygh (defendant) visited a friend’s house and had a disagreement with his friend. His friend called the police and Officer William Jacobs arrived. Hygh and Jacobs exchanged words and shoves, and at one point, Jacobs struck Hygh on the cheek. Jacobs then arrested Hygh. Hygh claimed that Jacobs struck him while Hygh was bending down to pick up his jacket. Jacobs claimed that he struck Hygh in self-defense when they were standing up, after being shoved by Hygh. The blow broke Hygh’s cheekbones and plastic surgery was needed to fix it. Hygh sued Jacobs and others under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged constitutional violations related to his arrest and the blow by Jacobs. At trial, the plastic surgeon testified that the kind of injury Hygh suffered would likely be caused by a blunt instrument. Jacobs testified that he had a flashlight during the arrest since it took place at night. Hygh called Terry Cox, an expert witness concerning law enforcement. Cox testified that Jacobs had used “deadly physical force” the use of which was not “warranted under the circumstances.” Cox also defined “deadly physical force” as “using force in such a way that it has the potential to kill someone.” Judgment was awarded to Hygh. Jacobs appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Mahoney, J.)

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