“McDonough v. Smith ”:“ Favorable Termination ”and the Confusing Civil Law of Wrongful Convictions



Does a plaintiff who sues the police for falsifying evidence against him in a criminal case have to prove that he has been formally exonerated in that case? The answer to this question, like too many other important questions affecting the ability of people to be compensated for wrongful convictions, is: No one really knows.

Two types of police misconduct are common in wrongful conviction cases: first, hiding evidence favorable to the defense, or Brady Equipment; second, fabricating evidence, which may mean forcing a suspect or witness to make a false statement or make up a statement that a witness has never made.

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