Goodwin v. Conway, No. 15-2720 (3d Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Goodwin was arrested pursuant to a warrant for allegedly selling heroin to an undercover police officer. He was indicted, but the charges were eventually dropped. Goodwin brought suit, 42 U.S.C. 1983, for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution against the detectives involved in securing his arrest warrant. He claims that they submitted a false warrant application because they knew or should have known that he was in jail at the time of one of the undercover drug deals. He argues that his incarceration was evident from a booking sheet the detectives had when they applied for his arrest warrant. The detectives moved for summary judgment, asserting qualified immunity. The district court denied the motion, holding that there was a genuine dispute as to whether the detectives possessed the booking sheet when they submitted the warrant. At oral argument before the Third Circuit, defense counsel conceded that the detectives were aware of the booking sheet before submitting the warrant application. The court concluded that booking sheet did not preclude a finding of probable cause. The sheet showed the date on which Goodwin was incarcerated. It did not say when he was released and did not trigger a duty to further investigate. The detectives had probable cause when they applied for Goodwin’s arrest warrant and are entitled to qualified immunity.