by Christopher Zoukis
A federal jury found that a Broward County, Florida, deputy sheriff violated a citizen's right not to be arrested without probable cause, awarding the man $20,000 in compensatory damages.
On May 29, 2005, John W. Carter of Dania Beach, Florida, was walking from his home to a bus stop, carrying tools in a bag to fix his bike, when he was approached by Broward County Deputy Sheriff Jeff Poole. Poole arrested Carter, charging him with loitering or prowling and possession of burglary tools. Carter said he sat in jail for 38 days and that no charges were ever filed.
On September 6, 2007, Carter sued Poole and the acting sheriff of Broward County, Alfred T. Lamberti, in federal district court. He accused them of violating his Fourth Amendment rights, false arrest and imprisonment, and malicious prosecution. The defendants, Poole and Lamberti, contended that they had reasonable suspicion, probable cause, and the lawful authority to question, detain and arrest Carter. They said Carter spent so much time in jail because he did not pay his bond.
After a four-day trial, the jury found that Poole had not acted with malice or reckless indifference, and that he did not violate Carter's right not to be temporarily detained without reasonable suspicion of potential criminal activity. However, they did find that Poole violated Carter's constitutional right not to be arrested without probable cause, awarding Carter $20,000 in compensatory damages. The judge, William J. Zloch, dismissed the count of false arrest and imprisonment against Lamberti.
See: Carter v. Poole, et al., United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Case No. 0:07-cv-61268 (Nov. 13, 2008)
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Related legal case
Carter V. Poole, et al., United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida
|Cite||Case No. 0:07-CV-61268|