Phillips & Associates

Malicious Prosecution

New York City Lawyers for Individuals Subjected to Prosecutorial Misconduct

A malicious prosecution is a criminal proceeding initiated with improper motivation or in bad faith. Malicious prosecution in a criminal case can have devastating consequences for an individual, including loss of freedom, financial penalties, and a ruined reputation. At Phillips & Associates, our civil rights attorneys can assist people victimized by prosecutorial misconduct throughout New York City.

Proving a Malicious Prosecution Case

Some people assume the prosecutor only enters the picture after an arrest, but in many cases, the prosecutor directs the police to make an arrest. Prosecutors are the people in the government who determine whom to seek charges against and what charges will be filed. A civil lawsuit is one of the most important deterrents in place to prevent prosecutorial misconduct because a lawsuit brings necessary public and judicial attention to the problem.

Malicious prosecution cases are not appropriate in the case of benign misjudgments. Public policy favors the pursuit of criminals to bring them to justice, and so a mistake or a good faith prosecution, even if it is mistaken, cannot be the subject of a malicious prosecution lawsuit. Instead, malicious prosecution lawsuits are appropriate to address grave injustice due to the perversion of appropriate procedures. In a malicious prosecution case, you would need to show that the criminal proceeding was started without probable cause and the proceeding terminated in your favor either through dismissal or a not guilty verdict.

In other words you must prove that the defendant commenced or continued a prior criminal proceeding, the prior proceeding terminated in your favor, there was no probable cause for the initiation of the prior criminal proceeding, and there was actual malice.

Probable cause is a complex concept. For purposes of malicious prosecution, it means that there were facts and circumstances that would lead a reasonably prudent person faced with similar circumstances to conclude that the plaintiff was guilty of the alleged acts. If the facts related to probable cause, and the inferences that can be drawn are undisputed, whether or not there was probable cause can be determined as a matter of law. This means some of these lawsuits are particularly vulnerable to summary judgment motions.

Whether an action terminated favorably can be confusing for a layperson. A proceeding that terminates without regard to its merits due to an agreement or settlement of the parties, or solely because of a trick or favor, or due to some other device preventing action and consideration, is not an action that terminated favorably. Instead, there must be a termination based on the merits, or on the propriety of the proceedings, or by a dismissal or discontinuance based on the plaintiff's consent.

Consult a New York City Attorney after a Civil Rights Violation

Malicious prosecution cases are often quite challenging not only because the elements are hard to prove but also because the government often will rally behind its own officers. At Phillips & Associates, our civil rights lawyers offer experienced representation for individuals in New York City whose rights have been infringed, from Staten Island and Manhattan to Brooklyn and Queens. Call us at (212) 248-7431 or contact us through our online form.

Client Reviews
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I called at Phillips & Associates seeking for a consultation and I was very pleased with the conversation I had with Eugenio Benvenuto. He was able to answer my questions thoroughly and gave me reassurance. I highly recommend their practice. Giulia
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Hands down the best law firm for labor disputes in NYC. Being in the restaurant industry for more than 30 years I can say that this law firm is the number one choice for workers in the restaurant business that need to sue their company for wrongful termination. A special compliment to my lawyer Brittany Stevens. An amazing person and well prepared experienced lawyer. She was professional and empathetic to my case and worked in a time appropriate manner. She never miss a phone call at any hour of the day.The other associates that assisted Brittany were Yusha Hiraman, Eugenio Benvenuto and Katerina Housos. They were all professional and answered any questions or concerns that I had. Brittany and her team helped me with what I needed, when I needed it. I want to thank them all (especially Brittany), for a job well done. Massimo
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Jesse Weinstein handled my discrimination case. He was extremely patient and understanding throughout the process and remained professional and consistent even when I could not. I really felt like he had my back and I didn't have to worry. His expertise, combined with the experience of the Firm, resulted in the best possible outcome of my case. Although I wouldn't wish what I went through on anyone, things do and always will happen and I would highly recommend Jesse and this Firm to anyone facing discrimination or other workplace issues. Karen
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I highly recommend Parisis (Gerry) Fillippatos with Phillips & Associates to represent you for employment related matters. He and his team were professional, attentive to every detail and brilliant at identifying the legal grounds to win the case. Parisis's communication and delivery were highly articulate and precise. He is personable and makes you feel comfortable in the maze of legal jargon. Finally, his confidence, perseverance and masterful negotiation skills deliver the win. Anonymous
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I had an excellent experience with this team! Thanks, Marjorie, Brittany, and Candy for your great support and prompt answers to all my questions. I highly recommend this firm. This team works very hard and I am extremely happy with the results. Ana