7. What is “malicious prosecution”?
Malicious prosecution is wrongfully subjecting someone to the prosecutorial process. This tort often arises from causing someone to be arrested or formally charged through intentional false swearing or malevolent pretenses.
• Example: I cause the police to arrest Tom simply to harass him. I do so by stating to the police that he stole my computer, when this is not true.
• Discussion: How would you propose balancing the objective of protecting the wrongfully accused against dissuading someone from pressing charges against someone who committed a crime against them?
• Practice Question: Autumn cheats on her boyfriend with Isaac. She is very embarrassed when everyone, including her boyfriend, learns of her actions. To cover up her infidelity, she accuses Isaac of improperly taking advantage of her while she was intoxicated. She informs the police who proceed with pressing charges against Isaac. When pressed to take a lie detector test, Autumn comes clean and admits her false accusation. What are Isaac’s options for suing Autumn?