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Supreme Court hears false arrest, bankruptcy cases

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] heard oral arguments [transcript, PDF] Monday in Wallace v. Chicago Police Officers [Duke Law case backgrounder; merit briefs], 05-1240, a case where a man illegally arrested is seeking to sue the police officers responsible for his arrest. Andre Wallace was arrested without probable cause in 1994, convicted, and released from prison in 2002 after an Illinois court reversed the conviction. He subsequently filed a civil rights lawsuit under 42 USC 1983 [text] against the police officers involved, but his case was dismissed because he did not file the lawsuit within the two-year statute of limitations. Wallace argues that the two-year period began accruing when he was released from prison, but the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held [opinion, PDF] that false arrest claims accrue at the time of arrest. Though some justices seemed to favor Wallace, Chief Justice John Roberts expressed concern that Wallace's argument would create indefinite uncertainty for police officers. AP has more.

Also Monday, the Court heard oral arguments [transcript, PDF] in Marrama v. Citizens Bank of Massachusetts [Duke Law case backgrounder; merit briefs], 05-996, a case concerning Section 706(a) [text] of the bankruptcy code and the question of when a debtor may convert a Chapter 7 bankruptcy to a case under Chapter 13 [texts]. Marrama initially filed a bankruptcy petition under Chapter 7 but then attempted to convert his case to a Chapter 13 petition in order to preserve his interest in an $85,000 piece of property. Citizens Bank challenged the conversion, and the bankruptcy court refused to allow the conversion due to Marrama's bad faith. This decision was upheld on appeal and was also affirmed [PDF text] by the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, which ruled that the bankruptcy court properly denied conversion for bad faith.

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