Oliver v. City of Anaheim

490 F. App’x. 890 (2012)

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Oliver v. City of Anaheim

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
490 F. App’x. 890 (2012)

Facts

Police officers (defendants) employed with the City of Anaheim (city) (defendant) arrested Lorenzo Oliver and his son, C.J. Oliver (plaintiffs) for violating California’s animal-anticruelty statute. The statute prohibited the intentional and malicious killing or wounding of an animal. The officers alleged that the Olivers had violated the statute by attempting to kill an opossum with a shovel. The Olivers were not convicted under the statute because the California Penal Code provided that the animal-anticruelty statute was not intended to prohibit the killing of an animal known to be dangerous to life, limb, or property. A California regulation that had been previously promulgated identified opossums as dangerous. Additionally, the method that the Olivers had used to try to kill the opossum was not prohibited by the statute. The Olivers then sued the officers and the city under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Olivers claimed that their rights had been violated because the officers had no probable cause for the arrests. The city and officers claimed that the officers were entitled to qualified immunity as city officials. The district court returned a verdict in favor of the city and officers. The matter was appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kozinski, Reinhardt, C.J.,J.)

Dissent (Watford, J.)

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