u.s.c. section 1983, the monell claim, and false imprisonment


The roots of making a claim for false imprisonment date back to common law. it has since been legally defined as a tort, a trespass, a damage, or an injury. The law has always held liberty in high regards, and as such an individual can argue that being deprived of Liberty is the same as being denied Property. Unlawful detention, and deprivation of Liberty are the two pieces of a false imprisonment charge. The purpose of this article will be to assist readers understand the Monell claim defense, what it is, and how to perform it correctly. The first piece of this requires thoroughly understanding your rights. The history of our constitution goes all the way back to “The Law Of The Land” in England, and it can help a lot in understanding what due process entails. In this first link, readers will find a PDF entitled The Treatise Of False Arrest And Imprisonment which will really clarify ones rights during the arrest process and the way to adequately argue an unlawful detention. In the second link below, readers will find a digital copy of The Treatise On Malicious Prosecution. Here readers will examine much more in depth Unlawful Detention claims, and these two documents are really vital to comprehend before explaining the Monell claim.




The next thing readers might want to read through would be the Touro Review on Making Out A Monell Claim. This document will define how this is done, essentially showing the by establishing an unlawful arrest one can argue their civil rights were infringed and see their case dismissed. Often times in many states when making a Monell claim one will bring suit against the state and be entitled to damages. Because the law allows suit to be brought against any municipality or agency in the same way it would a person, this claim can prove very useful. There are nuances to doing something like this, and it boils down to litigation. Section 1983 of Title 42 in U.S. Code allows private citizens to exercise their federal rights against state, county, or city governments. The second link in this section will take readers to the federal judicial review explaining 1983 litigation.



A Monell claim can in many peoples cases be a wildly useful tactic, but readers should really do their research first. When it comes to operating within the judicial system, sometimes minute details can drastically derail your attempts. Readers are going to want to examine case law, and find out ways people have tried this in the past and failed. The concept one will be following is that by not following the letter of the law, police while performing an arrest may render the entire indictment unconstitutional through a bad arrest. Through 1983 litigation, citizens will exercise their federal rights in local court and have the case dismissed on the grounds of violations to due process. Through the Monell claim, the defendant becomes the plaintiff and when sufficiently proving the violations of rights and bad arrest, damages can  be awarded.


The other thing that readers should be mindful of some of the things which constitute an unlawful arrest. To be arrested upon a warrant it must identify you, allege a crime, stated jurisdiction, judges signature, and supported affidavit. The officer must have this on his person when arresting you and show it if asked. All citizens have the right to stay silent via Miranda and freedom of association, and an attorney. False imprisonment is the same thing as an unlawful arrest, or if you are arrested without a warrant, or not brought before judge properly. I encourage readers to do their own research here though, and remain familiar with your rights in depth in their state. The thing with the Monell claim is that it is a civil action, meaning this is how you sue for money after your rights are violated. False arrest is a violation of several amendments that protect our inalienable right to due process. Properly arguing this in court may or may not be of use, but afterwards it will be the 1983 litigation and Monell claim that make the civil action.


In 42 U.S. Code Chapter 21 there are three sections specific to civil rights that I think are the most relevant: 1981 which is equal rights under the law, 1982 which is property rights of citizens, and 1983 is for civil action due to deprivation of rights. There are plenty more, but these sections alone can be argued in a civil case in a wide range of scenarios. After the civil war the U.S. Code was adapted to give ALL citizens the same protections under the law and section 1981 reads as follows: “All persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall have the same right in every State and Territory to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, give evidence, and to the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of persons and property as is enjoyed by white citizens, and shall be subject to like punishment, pains, penalties, taxes, licenses, and exactions of every kind, and to no other…” According to this section, every citizen is entitled to the same rights and protections secured by the constitution, as well as being accountable to the same laws. If you’re interested in looking at the history of this, read about THE LAW OF THE LAND. Section 1982 in my opinion is where I would look to bring suit in cases including but not limited to renters rights. At the same time in the 1800’s this chapter of code clarified that “ALL citizens of the United States shall have the same right, in every State and Territory, as is enjoyed by white citizens thereof to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convey real and personal property.”

Section 1983 defines how victims of civil rights violations can hold their perpetrator’s liable. This originated as the Civil Rights Act Of 1871, and later became this section of code.”Every person who, UNDER COLOR OF any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia.” It is these sections of Code that directly clarify that all the Blessings of Liberty apply to ALL citizens. In court, due process is crucial to defending yourself.  



The reason the Monell claim is important is because this was a case that was argued before the Supreme Court. The court overturned a ruling so that local governments could now be sued like people. Citing the 14th Amendment, and Section 1983 the court ruled in Monell’s favor. This ruling opened the door so that when done correctly citizens could bring civil action against their local government, or municipal agencies when their rights are violated. Theres a lot of resources here, but above all else…do your own research so you understand this stuff in case you’re in a bind some day, and still always seek professional counsel if possible.