The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati this past week affirmed the lower district court opinion of Judge Algenon Marbley [see below] denying summary judgment to the City of
Steubenville on two Fourth Amendment related constitutional claims arising from a warrantless search of their residence and the resulting misdemeanor arrest of the Thorne teen aged son, thereby clearing the Thorne family civil rights police misconduct main excessive force case and these related constitutional claims against the city officers for remand and trial.
This decision represents a major legal victory for the plaintiffs and their lawyers. Noting that the opinion is an unpublished opinion, the sixth Circuit granted the plaintiffs a favorable decision in an extremely short period of time following the mid- September oral arguments on the case, which speaks of just how unamious and serious the Cincinnati federal Court of Appeals was quick to affirm the otherwise clearly detailed opinion of Judge Marbley in favor of the plaintiff's original pleadings and constitutional claims which were originally brought and prosecuted by attorney Richard Olivito on behalf of the Thorne family against the City of Steubenville and the two offending officers named as defendants in the federal lawsuit.
"This simply is an astounding and very strong but briefly stated appellate federal court opinion and one that has great impact on both this case and as important, all related issues which demonstrates the particular nuances and clear necessity that all potential civil rights litigants including cities and their police officers ought to pay very careful and serious attention to;
The federal three judge panel' ---a very conservative panel---quick willingness to decide a case on its merits in favor of the plaintiff civil rights litigant, well distinct and apart from any often perceived 'conservative' bias against such plaintiffs inside related civil rights constitutional claims when over zealous officers clearly violate well established fourth amendment standards and related laws," Olivito remarked.
"This case's outcome at the Sixth Circuit is so unique, so special and especially meaningful because," as Olivito adds, 'it was the first case brought against the City of Steubenville with the background of the historical Steubenville DOJ consent decree still pending. Soon after this case was filed, the same original and often referenced consent decree, the nation's longest such decree in history of such police pattern and practice issues, was terminated by the Justice Department under former Attorney General Gonzales.
Again, Olivito states, "while we were confident of the case's merits and the original distirct court opinion and the efforts of Attorney James McNamara, who worked on the appellate briefing stage of this case, we were somewhat concerned in part, at the Sixth because of some of the putative very serious conservative leaning judicial officers of the Sixth Circuit who were to hear the oral argument."
"That worry proved to be completely misplaced and unfounded; if any such concerns existed prior to the case's arguments, on our side, one can only imagine our solid relief and mild surprise at the same very common but strong misperception of any such thing ever affecting this case's outcome afterwards."
Olivito continues, "In fact, we would like to see more judging --and there ought to be more such judicial concern expressed across the entire spectrum of the region's judiciary as the kind we witnessed at the oral arguments on this case, since it affirmed not only the centrality of the fundamental civil rights of every American citizen in this midwest bell weather region, but it also affirms the best of the american legal system itself."
"Such strong judicial reasoning restores confidence for plaintiffs within the law and to the notion simple fairness and due process of law both is alive and well at the Sixth Circuit.
This decision also demonstrates the strong judicial independence of the Sixth Circuit justices, so that this case clearly demonstrates that, if and when the right kind of unique facts present themselves inside a constitutional claim of this measure and proportion as the Thorne family case did, the nation's highest courts will not sit idly by and allow the constitutional violations of the citizens and individual as are contained in this case's record.
"We learned from this Sixth Circuit decision today that inside this particular Circuit, the fundamental Constitutional rights of the people, if properly framed, presented and developed during the important discovery phase of such a Section 1983 claim, will be both respected and completely protected...
Again, this is quite separate and distinct from oftentimes misperceived partisian political and/or economic special interests who may have contributed years ago to the appointment
of any one or group of the federal judiciary.
"This is exactly why when this kind of special litigation and law works, inside these appellate and district federal courts, these courts in combination with the powerful civil rights cases themselves, if properly done, often demonstrate the majesty of the real constitution, the Bill of Rights and the related Fourteenth Amendment provisions...
....its truly an experience of a life time for all involved to witness how such heavy excercises in this type of complex civil litigation can make at times, these fundamental documents of our nation shine the brightest....."