Skip to main content

I was told that if someone has you imprisoned for a false accusation - you could sue that person for their false statement.

Oakland, CA |

The Judge stated; "Defendant's ... allegedly false statement to the police was a privileged act, i.e., it cannot form the basis of a lawsuit." What happened? I was denied a judgment and I'm in shock. I was held in custody for a month because of the defendant's lie. He said that I assaulted him and I was taken to jail!

+ Read More

Attorney answers 3


It sounds like you already attempted to sue this individual in civil court and the court ruled that your suit couldn't forward (perhaps I am misreading that). Assuming that's what happened, you can either appeal that decision or simply attempt to move on with your life. I assume you had an attorney handle this case, I would rely on his expertise given that he knows the full details of this case (do not post them here). Unfortunately the prisons are filled with people who are the victim of false accusations. In recent years there have been dozens of people released from death row who were positively innocent proven by DNA evidence. However most people are not convicted by DNA evidence (and there is no DNA evidence to retest to exculpate). Most people are convicted through the testimony of eye witness testimony which is scientifically unreliable, even where people are providing an honest recitation of what they believed they saw. There is no precise way to estimate how many wrongfully convicted persons now sit in prisons but some extrapolations have been done based on those exonerated (again extrapolating from exonerees underestimates the number of wrongfully convicted because eyewitness testimony usually holds up on appeal unless there is a recantation and then still it is difficult). Some who have looked at the issue estimate that the "error rate" (the rate at which wrongful convictions occur) is 4% [others have estimated higher numbers]. Assuming this is the correct number and there are about 2.3 incarcerated Americans, there are about 92,000 Americans rotting away in prison. This interesting article puts that number at over 136,000.

The point is our system is broken. You were almost another victim of the prison industrial complex. If nothing legally can be done about this situation perhaps you can change your perspective and look at this in a positive light in that you escaped a wrongful bullet. Best of luck.


Assuming your question deals with a tort of defamation, generally most courts hold statements made to the police in a police report is entitled to an absolute privilege under Cal Civ. Code § 47. If an absolute privilege applies, the declarant of those statements cannot be civally liable to you at least for the defamation.

Similarly, if the statement was made in a judicial proceeding, those statements have long been absolutely privileged even if the statements were false, made maliciously or intentionally false.
However, there could be different causes of action available under your facts.

I recommend that you speak to a local civil rights attorney.

If you want further advice, please call at 916.923.2800 or write in the comment section below. Please include the specific facts you believe will support an excessive force action. If you have found this helpful and/or the best answer, please relay that information to the attorney by checking on the appropriate box below. It is greatly appreciated. Thank you.


There is nothing in Civil Code 47 which allows an individual to make a false report of a crime to the police and thereby insulate himself from liability. I do not really understand the posture of your case so cannot explain the judge's ruling. However be assured making a false statement to the police is a crime and not subject to privilege.