Brief Fact Summary. Defendant, a police officer spied a dog running without a leash in violation of Defendant city’s local ordinance. After determining the dog belonged to Plaintiff, the officer located Plaintiff and demanded her driver’s license, which Plaintiff refused to give. The officer told Plaintiff he would arrest her if she didn’t turn over her license, and when she failed to do so he placed her under arrest, after which she was convicted of violating the leash ordinance.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Conviction of the crime for which one is arrested bars a subsequent claim for false imprisonment, but does not provide a defense when there was probable cause to arrest for a different crime.
Issue. Was the jury correct in returning a verdict for Plaintiff despite her subsequent conviction for violation of the leash ordinance?
Held. Yes. The judgment was affirmed. While Plaintiff was ultimately convicted of a crime, she was not convicted of the crime for which she was arrested. As the facts elucidate, she was arrested for failing to produce her driver’s license to the officer, which is not a crime. The officer’s arrest of Plaintiff was therefore unlawful and the verdict was proper.
That in all civil actions in which damages shall be assessed by a jury for a wrong done to the person, or to personal or real property, and the injury complained of shall have been attended by circumstances of fraud, malice or insult, or a wanton and reckless disregard of the injured party's rights and feelings, such jury may, in addition to the actual damages sustained by such party, award him reasonable exemplary damages.View Full Point of Law