Novak v. City of Parma, OH

Submitted by Re'Neisha Stevenson on Thu, 10/27/2022 - 12:29

Plaintiff posted a mock police department page on Facebook and was arrested under a state law that makes it illegal to use a computer to disrupt or impair police functions, indicted by a grand jury, and acquitted after a jury trial; plaintiff had deleted comments on the page that indicated it was fake and copied the department’s warning on its own page word for word; court says whether officers had probable cause was a difficult question, but lack of previous case afford the officers qualified immunity on First Amendment retaliation claim; court holds that officers’ televised announcement of investigation, seizure of phone and laptop, and officer’s letter to Facebook did not constitute a prior restraint on speech; arrest, search of apartment, and seizure of phone and laptop were pursuant to warrant and court finds no material false or omitted information from officer to magistrate, hence officers were entitled to rely on warrants; officers not liable for malicious prosecution because prosecutor independently made decision to prosecute.

Actionable Conduct Edition