Home Menu ↓
Clicking on our sponsor links helps insure continued free access to this website.
Please support our efforts by visiting our sponsors:

 

Connick v. Thompson

Docket No.: 09-571
Certiorari Granted: 03/22/10
Argued: October 6, 2010
Decided: 03/29/11

Topics:

ADA, Due Process, Miranda, criminal procedure, murder, patent, search and seizure

PartyNames: Harry F. Connick, District Attorney, et al. v. John Thompson
Petitioner: Harry F. Connick, District Attorney, et al.
Respondent: John Thompson

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Citation: 578 F.3d 293
Supreme Court Docket

Harry F. Connick, District Attorney, et al.
v.
John Thompson
Background:

Prosecutors in the Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office hid exculpatory evidence, violating John Thompson's rights under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). Despite no history of similar violations, the office was found liable under ยง 1983 for failing to train prosecutors. Inadequate training may give rise to municipal liability if it shows "deliberate indifference" and actually causes a violation. See City of Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S. 658, 389-91 (1978); Bd. of County Comm'rs of Bryan County v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 403-07 (1997). A pattern of violations is usually necessary to show culpability and causation, but in rare cases one violation may suffice. Bryan County, 520 U.S., at 409. The Court has hypothesized only one example justifying single-incident liability: a failure to train police officers on using deadly force. See Canton, 489 U.S., at 390 n.10.

Consideration Limited:

LIMITED TO QUESTION 1 PRESENTED BY THE PETITION

Question Presented:

1. Does imposing failure-to-train liability on a district attorney's office for a single Brady violation contravene the rigorous culpability and causation standards of Canton and Bryan County? 2. Does imposing failure-to-train liability on a district attorney's office for a single Brady violation undermine prosecutors' absolute immunity recognized in Van de Kamp v. Goldstein, 129 S. Ct. 855 (2009)?

Question:

Can a prosecutor's office be held liable for the illegal conduct of one of its prosecutors, on the theory that the office failed to adequately train its employees, when there has been only one violation resulting from that deficient training?

Connick v. Thompson
ORAL ARGUMENT

10/06/10

Listen to Oral Argument in Connick v. Thompson
Holding: reversed
Vote: 5-4
Opinion By:

Connick v. Thompson
Case Documents

1Connick v. Thompson Oral Argument Audio
2Opinion in Connick v. Thompson
3Opinion in Connick v. Thompson
4Connick v. Thompson Oral Argument Audio
5Connick v. Thompson Oral Argument Transcript (HTML)
6Connick v. Thompson Oral Argument Transcript (HTML)
Additional documents for this case are pending review.