Goldstein v. City of Long Beach, No. 10-56787 (9th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff spent 24 years in prison after being convicted for murder based largely upon the perjured testimony of an unreliable jailhouse informant, Edward Fink. Plaintiff filed this action under 42 U.S.C. 1983, claiming that the District Attorney's Office failed to create any system for the Deputy District Attorneys handling criminal cases to access information pertaining to the benefits provided to jailhouse informants and other impeachment information, and failed to train Deputy District Attorneys to disseminate this information. At issue on appeal was whether a district attorney acted as a local or a state official when establishing policy and training related to the use of jailhouse informants. The court concluded that the policies challenged by plaintiff were distinct from the acts the district attorney undertook on behalf of the state. Even taking into account the control and supervisory powers of the Attorney General, the District Attorney represented the county when establishing policy and training related to the use of jailhouse informants. Therefore, a cause of action could lie against the county under 42 U.S.C. 1983. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment on the pleadings.