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The First Department Gets it Right This Time


In a welcome turnabout, the First Department, the Manhattan appellate court, ruled last week that accepting an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal (“ACD”) is not a bar to bringing a false arrest civil rights claim.  They had previously held otherwise, based on startlingly weak reasoning that was a straight policy argument, with no real basis in law.  The Second Circuit had embraced and repeated the erroneous ruling, in one of several of their own contradictory rulings on the issue.  The path of the law on the issue was yet another textbook example of how bad law gets made by intellectually lazy or dishonest judges, and then amplified by the judicial echo chamber.  Props this time to the First Department for having the courage to discard their previous rulings with a curt “they are no longer to be followed”. 

Malicious prosecution civil rights claims are still legitimately barred by an ACD, and excessive force and police brutality claims can survive even a guilty plea.

Andrew Stoll is a New York City Criminal Defense, Civil Rights, and Employee Lawyer. He is the founding partner of Stoll, Glickman & Bellina, LLP, a Brooklyn based law firm dedicated to empowering the exploited. Stoll is an adjunct law professor at Seton Hall Law School, sits on the Corrections Committee of the New York City Bar Association, and is a member of the National Police Accountability Project.