Paul v. Davis

424 U.S. 693 (1976)


Petitioner Paul (D) is the Chief of Police of the Louisville, Ky., Division of Police, while petitioner McDaniel (D) occupies the same position in the Jefferson County, Ky., Division of Police. They got together and decided to warn merchants of possible shoplifters. They distributed a flyer of 'mug shot' wherein appeared photos and the name of the respondent, Davis (P). P had been arrested in Louisville on a charge of shoplifting. He had been arraigned on this charge in September 1971, and, upon his plea of not guilty, the charge had been 'filed away with leave [to reinstate],' a disposition which left the charge outstanding. Thus, P’s guilt or innocence of that offense had never been resolved. Shortly after circulation of the flyer, the charge against P was finally dismissed by a judge of the Louisville Police Court. P was employed as a photographer by the Louisville Courier-Journal and Times. P's supervisor called P in to hear his version of the events leading to his appearing in the flyer. The supervisor informed P that, although he would not be fired, he 'had best not find himself in a similar situation' in the future. P brought this § 1983 action seeking redress for the alleged violation of rights guaranteed to him by the Constitution of the United States. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1343(3), P sought damages as well as declaratory and injunctive relief. Ds moved to dismiss this complaint, and the court agreed. The Court of Appeals concluded that P had set forth a § 1983 claim 'in that he has alleged facts that constitute a denial of due process of law.' They reversed the District Court.