Many Americans are accused and often convicted and imprisoned for crimes they did not commit. Mistakes in judgment can happen, but when a person is charged or convicted of a crime for reasons of retaliation or revenge, they may be able to claim justice and compensation through a malicious prosecution lawsuit.
At Williams Cedar, we have a long history of successful claims against those who abuse their power or the judicial system. Our legal team is dedicated to vigorously defending victims of wrongful convictions and aggressively seeking the highest level of compensation available to them under the law.
Malicious Prosecution in Pennsylvania
Proving malicious prosecution is never easy. The most successful outcomes are achieved when an experienced legal team works together to pursue justice for those who have been vindicated. Since Pennsylvania does not have a wrongful conviction compensation statute like its neighbors in New Jersey and New York, the only way to claim compensation for damages incurred from the wrongful conviction is through a malicious prosecution lawsuit.
The plaintiff bears the burden of proof in a malicious prosecution claim. They must prove that the actions of the prosecution team were beyond their authoritative power or that they were done with malevolent intent. The plaintiff will also have to prove that the criminal or civil charges against them were dismissed or that their convictions were overturned. To prove malicious prosecution, the plaintiff must show that the defendants actively pursued legal action against them without probable cause.
It is important to note that a malicious prosecution lawsuit cannot be filed if the plaintiff pled guilty, took a plea bargain, or paid damages in the original case.
People who are wrongfully charged have their lives turned upside down. Their financial health may be severely affected by costly legal fees, and many suffer irreparable damage to their reputation or career. A successful outcome to a malicious prosecution lawsuit can help the wrongfully accused gain some measure of justice, and the compensation that they may receive for the damages suffered by the false arrest or conviction can help restart their lives.
State and federal laws protect prosecutors and law enforcement officials by providing immunity from malicious prosecution lawsuits. This immunity will not protect law enforcement officials who have acted outside of their authority, or who falsified documents or testimony to bring charges or convictions.
Malicious Prosecution in Rape Charges Against Duke Lacrosse Players
One of the most notorious examples of malicious prosecution occurred in 2006 when three lacrosse players from Duke University were falsely accused of raping a dancer hired for a team party. The three players were indicted on charges of rape, kidnapping, and sexual offense, but they were later exonerated from all charges after the defense found that the alleged victim’s story was untrue.
A federal North Carolina judge allowed the three lacrosse players to pursue a civil malicious prosecution lawsuit against the prosecutor and law enforcement officials that brought the suit against the Duke University students. The prosecutor and police officials were charged with knowingly and intentionally concealing DNA evidence and producing a misleading DNA report. Though charges against the prosecutor and police officials involved in the case were eventually dropped, the three lacrosse players received a settlement of an undisclosed amount from Duke University.
Consulting With an Experienced Team of Civil Rights Lawyers is Vital to a Successful Malicious Prosecution Claim
Individuals who believe they have been a victim of malicious prosecution need to consult with an experienced team of civil rights attorneys that can work together for a successful outcome. The evidence required to prove that malicious prosecution has taken place can pose an overwhelming burden. Lawyers with knowledge and experience in malicious prosecution cases can help.
Philadelphia Civil Rights Lawyers at Williams Cedar Help Victims of Malicious Prosecution Claim Justice and Compensation
If you or someone you know has been falsely accused or wrongfully convicted of a crime, a malicious prosecution lawsuit might provide a remedy. The experienced team of civil rights lawyers in Pennsylvania at Williams Cedar is committed to helping victims of malicious prosecution claim the compensation they may be entitled to under the law.
Call us at 215-557-0099, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our Philadelphia and Haddonfield offices serve clients throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and across the nation.