Martinez v. City of Clovis, No. 17-17492 (9th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of police officers in an action brought by a victim of domestic abuse under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and state law. The panel held that the officers' conduct violated plaintiff's constitutional right to due process by affirmatively increasing the known and obvious danger plaintiff faced. However, the panel held that the officers were entitled to qualified immunity because it was not clear at the time that their conduct was unconstitutional.
The panel held that the state-created danger doctrine applies when an officer reveals a domestic violence complaint made in confidence to an abuser while simultaneously making disparaging comments about the victim in a manner that reasonably emboldens the abuser to continue abusing the victim with impunity. The panel also held that the state-created danger doctrine applies when an officer praises an abuser in the abuser's presence after the abuser has been protected from arrest, in a manner that communicates to the abuser that the abuser may continue abusing the victim with impunity.