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Case Name Castro-Torres v. Lignitz PN-GA-0005
Docket / Court 1:10-cv-02636 ( N.D. Ga. )
State/Territory Georgia
Case Type(s) Policing
Attorney Organization Southern Poverty Law Center
Case Summary
On August 21, 2010, a man of Hispanic origin filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law, against the Cobb County Police Department. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, alleged that the police stopped, searched, ... read more >
On August 21, 2010, a man of Hispanic origin filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law, against the Cobb County Police Department. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, alleged that the police stopped, searched, and arrested him without reasonable suspicion and probable cause, which violated his Fourth Amendment rights. The plaintiff alleged that the police used excessive force and that he was falsely imprisoned. He requested compensatory and punitive damages.

This case was filed after the defendants' arrest charges were dismissed. The background of the arrest is as follows:

Plaintiff was riding a bicycle in Cobb County on March 26, 2010. The defendants, sitting in a marked patrol car, allegedly stopped the plaintiff because they believed he was Hispanic and not a U.S. citizen. The defendants claimed that they stopped the plaintiff because he failed to yield to traffic. The plaintiff contended that the defendants broke his nose and left eye socket during questioning and arrest.

After the arrest, the plaintiff spent over four months in the Cobb County Jail on charges of misdemeanor grade obstruction or hindering law enforcement officers. At this time, the defendants lacked authority to enforce federal immigration law, but the county jail was authorized to process immigration violations pursuant to an agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Contesting the arrest charges, the plaintiff filed a motion to suppress evidence by arguing that the defendants' stop and detention were unconstitutional. The motion was granted by the Cobb County State Court (Judge Progers) on August 10, 2010. All criminal charges by the defendants for arresting the plaintiff were dismissed and defendants declined to further pursue the charges. However, the plaintiff faced immigration proceedings due to the improper arrest by the defendants. Subsequently, the plaintiff filed this case to recover damages incurred from the dismissed arrest charges.

On May 10, 2011, the District Court (Judge Forrester) dismissed this case with prejudice based on a settlement submitted by the parties.

David Cho - 11/01/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Constitutional Clause
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
Immigration status
General
Excessive force
False arrest
Over/Unlawful Detention
Search policies
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Cobb County Police Department
Plaintiff Description Unarmed man of Hispanic origin riding a bicycle
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Southern Poverty Law Center
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Unknown
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2011
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Federal Enforcement of Police Reform
By: Stephen Rushin (University of Illinois College of Law, University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program )
Citation: 82 Fordham Law Review 3189 (2014)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Panopticism for Police: Structural Reform Bargaining and Police Regulation by Data-Driven Surveillance
By: Mary D. Fan (University of Washington)
Citation: Forthcoming, 87 Washington L. Rev. __ (2012).
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  What Happens When Police Are Forced to Reform?
Written: Nov. 13, 2015
By: Kimbriell Kelly, Sarah Childress and Steven Rich (Frontline/Post)
Citation: Washington Post (Nov. 13, 2015)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:10−cv−02636 (N.D. Ga.) 05/11/2011
PN-GA-0005-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 08/23/2010
PN-GA-0005-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Forrester, J. Owen (N.D. Ga.) [Magistrate]
PN-GA-0005-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brooke, Samuel (Alabama)
PN-GA-0005-9000
Realmuto, Trina (Massachusetts)
PN-GA-0005-9000
Shah, Paromita (Massachusetts)
PN-GA-0005-9000
Spears, George Brian (Georgia)
PN-GA-0005-9000
Turner, Andrew Hess (Alabama)
PN-GA-0005-9000
Werner, Daniel (Georgia)
PN-GA-0005-0001 | PN-GA-0005-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Dance, Deborah L. (Georgia)
PN-GA-0005-9000
Rowling, Hugh W. Jr. (Georgia)
PN-GA-0005-9000
Shaw, Jeffrey Alexander (Georgia)
PN-GA-0005-9000
Weaver, George M. (Georgia)
PN-GA-0005-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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