Spencer v. Krause, No. 14-35689 (9th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
The Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the deliberate fabrication of evidence by a state official; deliberate fabrication can be established by circumstantial evidence; deliberate fabrication can be shown by direct evidence; and, in cases involving direct evidence, the investigator's knowledge or reason to know of the plaintiff's innocence need not be proved. In this case, plaintiff introduced direct evidence of deliberate fabrication, specifically, evidence that Detective Sharon Krause deliberately mischaracterized witnesses' statements in her investigative reports. A jury found for plaintiff and against defendants, but the district court granted judgment as a matter of law to defendants based on the ground that plaintiff had failed to introduce evidence that Krause knew or should have known of plaintiff's innocence. The Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded, holding that the district court misunderstood the court's precedent. Because plaintiff introduced direct evidence of deliberate fabrication, he did not have to prove that Krause knew or should have known that he was innocent. Furthermore, defendants' other challenges to the jury's verdict failed.