Court grants immunity to police officer who stretched truth to secure arrest warrant
In Newman v. Township of Hamburg and Eric Calhoun, a man arrested for murder sued the interrogating police officer who allegedly embellished the facts in seeking a warrant for the suspect's [ultimately deemed wrongful] arrest. The plaintiff Newman became the prime suspect in the murder of one Henry Chappelear. There were numerous bits of circumstantial evidence, not least of which was identification of the murder weapon as belonging to Newman. Newman was convicted of murder and served 15 years in prison before he was released after a higher court deemed the evidence inadequate to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Newman filed a lawsuit against the cop who secured his arrest warrant, arguing that the cop, Eric Calhoun, had mis-stated the facts in order to secure a finding of probable cause. The Court held that Newman had not documented either deliberate or reckless action by Calhoun, and that the differences between Calhoun's account of a key interview and his companion officer's account were "modest" and not "substantial" enough to consittute gross negligence or deliberate indifference. They were, at worst, the Court held, "inattention to detail" by Calhoun, particularly given the other supporting circumstantial evidence of guilt.