30 January 1990 |
Los Angeles Times
re: "No Damages for Teacher Acquitted in
Molestation Case", by David G. Savage,
L.A. Times, January 23, 1990
U.S. Supreme Court justices now have decided that a schoolteacher is not entitled to damages, even though they agree he was the victim of "malicious prosecution" (Part A, Jan. 23 ). This means that public officials basically can prosecute at will without fear of the consequences of their actions. This creates a whole new class of victims among those who are falsely accused. The teacher in this case reportedly spent more than $90,000 defending himself, yet the court reasoned that he suffered no deprivation because "he was acquitted, not imprisoned."
News flash to the court: Most citizens don't have $90,000 to throw away whenever some incompetent or malicious public official feels like enhancing his or her publicity value or career status by prosecuting an easy target. We cannot ensure before the fact that officials will be ethical and fair. Now we cannot hope for punishment and recompense after the fact, either.