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Can i sue the city of cheboygan for illegal seisure and wrongful imprisonment?

Petoskey, MI |

I was walking down the street with an unopenned bottle of liquor. A cop rolled up on me and asked to see the bottle. He saw that the cap was still sealed, yet he still confiscated it. he asked me where i bought it, and i told him it was none of his business. he came to my apartment a couple days later and arrested me for retail fruad. I was in jail for 21 days and was let out on a PR bond. I havent been to court again for this case, and its been over a year. the police report indicates that i went into the store with my jacket unzipped and left with my jacket zipped, and the store where he did the investigation indicated that they have 6 unaccounted for half galllons missing. This isnt even the store where the liquor was purchased. i want to be compinsated for the incarceration.

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Attorney answers 4

Posted

It is unlikely that you can sue.. unless you can definitely prove that you purchased the unopened bottle and where..

If I can be of additional assistance please feel free to email me at james@weineresq.com or call me at 248-901-0750. Please also note that I answered this question with general knowlege of the law and with limited disclosure from you, my answer does not create an attorney client relationship and I cannot be held responsible for how you, the asker, use the information I provide.

Asker

Posted

that seems backwards. i thought the court was set up to where the defendent is innocent until proven guilty.

James T. Weiner

James T. Weiner

Posted

There is a difference.. you are asking if you can sue the cops..not if you were convicted...or are likely to be convicted if tried. So Yes you are innocent until proven guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt".. but in a retalitory civil suit Cops only have to prove they acted reasonably with a preponderance of the evidence and they are potentially covered under governmental immunity. But then again I am not a plaintiffs attorney.. only speaking with the general knowledge.;. maybe you should Mr. Goldsmith who is from California.. -

Asker

Posted

thanks for the advice.

Asker

Posted

by the way i was never convicted. likewise, i was never charged with a crime. The prosecutor tried to get me to plead guilty to trespassing...i dont even know where that came from. I feel that the court attempted (poorly) to railroad me into a conviction.

Posted

Please call our office immediately. 213-471-2096

http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/90017-ca-anthony-goldsmith-367868.html

Posted

I have to agree with Attorney Weiner. Without giving up any information about where you purchased it, you are not going to win an argument that the cop was wrong. Plus, the cop must base his arrest on probable cause, not full and complete proof. If he did not have probable cause to arrest you, you may have a claim, but if the store claimed you stole the liquor and you didn't help yourself by telling the cop that it was none of his business, the cop may have had probable cause tobelieve you committed the crime. Sometime during that 21 days you sat in jail you could have said, "Hey, I bought it at XYZ store and here's my receipt, or my credit card I used, or they have video, etc." Now, being over a year, you should just count yourself lucky you haven't been convicted. Good luck though!

The comments listed here do not create an attorney-client relationship. The comments are for informational purposes only and are not to be considered legal advice. This attorney is only licensed in Michigan and does not give legal advice in any other state. All comments are to be considered conversational information and you should not rely on these comments as legal advice or in place of retaining an attorney of our own. The comments here are based solely on what you have provided and therefore are general in nature and with more specific facts or details a different answer or outcome could result. The legal system is not a perfect science and this attorney does not guarantee any outcome.

Asker

Posted

even the defense attorny that i had for this case told me it was beatable and when i went in front of the judge for a different case, he expressed to the judge that he didnt understand how a warrant was procurred for my arrest. The thing about this case is, the officer confiscated the liquor, then tried to gather evidence that it was stolen (poorly, i might add, because the item was not stolen). I honestly feel that i have a ligitamite claim. I feel that the officer had no right to stop me, question me, or confiscate something that was in my possesion. that 21 days that i served in jail costed me my job, my apartment, and stripped me of my dignity. i want it all back, including the liquor.

Edward Jacob Sternisha

Edward Jacob Sternisha

Posted

I received your email and agree that the kind of things you describe, sadly do happen. I do not practice in your area but suggest you try to contact somone who does either in your area or just outside. It will not be easy to find someone as these are usually difficult cases to win (but not impossible). I wish you luck!!

Asker

Posted

thanks

Posted

Over one year on a personal bond and you haven't heard anything? Generally, one would want to know if the case was dismissed or if you missed court dates that you were unaware of. Call the court.

The question, as far as a civil suit, is whether the officer had probable cause to arrest you for larceny at the time of the arrest. Was a bottle of liquor reported stolen? Did a person report a potential theft to the police from a store near the time and date of the vicinity you were located in?

Based on your post I do not have all the facts necessary to give legal advice specific to your case. Do not rely on my answer for legal advice. I am only providing general information. For legal help consult with attorneys of your choosing. Other attorneys may come to different conclusions. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. An attorney-client relationship can only be established by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.

Shaun Patrick Godwin

Shaun Patrick Godwin

Posted

In sum, what did the officer know, at the time of the arrest, that would lead him to believe the liquor was stolen?

Asker

Posted

The bottle was not reported stolen. Supposedly, someone had called 911 saying that people were drinking in public. The officer thought that he was going to be making a routine open intoxicant arrest. he asked me to see the bottle, i let him because i knew that it was unopenned. He then assumed it was stolen and went up to the nearest store and did reverse investigating, searching for evidence to support his assumption. The officer went to the store where i told him i purchased the liquor, and looked at the cameras. There was no camera footage in that area of the store. His supporting evidence was that the store reported six unaccounted for items in question, and in the camera footage that he collected, which wasnt even of the day that the liquor was purchased, the camera showed me unzipping my jacket as i walked into the store, and my jacket was then zipped as i exitted the store. keep in mind that this was december of 2009. In sum, the officer didnt have anything on me to procure this warrant except, i feel racial biase and prejudice. he never should have took the bottle of liquor in the first place, point blank, period. I think he knows it, the judge knows it, and the prosecutor know it, which is why they have left it alone for this long

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