Gay man's lawsuit against entrapping police officers is partially dismissed
Randy Alman took a break from helping his mother move and drove his partner's car to a local park. Wayne County and Westland law officers had responded to complaints about the detritus of lewd behavior found in the park by establishing surveillance at the park. When Alman sat down at a picnic table he was approached by an undercover officer to "chat." When Alman left to walk one of the park trails, the officer followed. The remaining facts are disputed, but ultimately Alman was arrested for indecent behavior or battery, his partner's car was impounded, and he probably didn't move the rest of mom's belongings.
The Wayne County prosecutor declined to prosecute, however, Westland filed charges that were ultimately dismissed by the trial judge. Meanwhile Alman's partner redeemed his "contraband" car for $900.00. Alman and the partner then filed a section 1983 action against the law enforcement agencies involved, claiming a violation of civil rights and an unlawful seizure of the car. Ultimately, the Sixth Circuit held that there was no probably cause for Alman's arrest, and therefore the seizure of the car was unconstitutional. It dismissed the bulk of the two partners' claims, however, based on the procedural requirements associated with overcoming governmental immunity.