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After being found Not Guilty at a jury trial can you file a cival suit.

Amarillo, TX |

My friend went to a jury trial for aggrevated assult w/ a deadly weapon and was found not guilty.The states witness commited purjury and also stated that the DA made a deal with him and he could say whatever he wanted.

Attorney Answers 3


he fact that you are found not guilty of a crime is not a basis to sue. DAs make charging decisions based on the evidence. A not guilty simply means that the jury saw it differently. On the other hand, if you could show that the prosecutor intentionally counseled witnesses to lie, you could sue. That would be a very difficult thing to prove and I doubt many lawyers would agree to take that case.

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Yes but they're unlikely to collect any damages. The prosecutor is generally immune from civil liability and the witness probably has no assets. You can contact with the state bar to find a local civil lawyer.

My answers are intended only as general legal advice and are not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. There is no substitute for a full consultation with a local experienced criminal defense attorney. For more answers based on my 19 years of experience visit my website,

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People who are found not guilty are not necessarily innocent. If he was guilty and the jury didn't believe a witness, he is lucky. A finding of not guilty is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for a malicious prosecution or wrongful arrest suit. There must be a resolution on the merits for him to be able to file a malicious prosecution case, however a finding of not guilty in a criminal case merely means that the state was unable to prove its case beyond a shadow of a reasonable doubt. To win a civil case, you must prove that there was no probable cause to believe that he had committed the assault. He also must be innocent of the crime. If he was guilty, the arrest was likely with probable cause, there was probable cause to prosecute, and there would be no damages for any misconduct.
When you say that state's witness committed perjury, you need to give more detail. Many people believe that witnesses commit perjury when their testimony isn't believed. Using that reasoning, witnesses would need to be charged with perjury after nearly every trial. If you mean that they intentionally lied, then they are a complaining witness and they caused a malicious prosecution and mey be liable (though as another attorney has mentioned they may have no assets).
The description of the prosecutor's conversation with the witness sounds like a misunderstanding of a conversation in which the prosecutor may have said that they don't care what the witness said so long as they told the truth.
In any event, if your friend is innocent and the witness lied, then your friend should talk to a lawyer.
If he was arrested without probable cause (meaning no evidence including witness testimony), then there is a malicious prosecution case. If there

This advise is rendered with only a brief description of facts which complicates any answer. You should use this answer to make the decision to contact a lawyer and explain your circumstances in detail for the purpose of getting accurate legal advise. The answer is based upon Arizona law.

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