Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266 (1994)

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certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the seventh circuit

No. 92-833. Argued October 12, 1993—Decided January 24, 1994

Upon learning that Illinois authorities had issued an arrest warrant charging him with the sale of a substance which looked like an illegal drug, petitioner Albright surrendered to respondent Oliver, a policeman, and was released after posting bond. At a preliminary hearing, Oliver testified that Albright sold the look-alike substance to a third party, and the court found probable cause to bind Albright over for trial. However, the court later dismissed the action on the ground that the charge did not state an offense under state law. Albright then filed this suit under 42 U. S. C. 1983, alleging that Oliver deprived him of substantive due process under the Fourteenth Amendment—his "liberty interest"— to be free from criminal prosecution except upon probable cause. The District Court dismissed on the ground that the complaint did not state a claim under 1983. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that prosecution without probable cause is a constitutional tort actionable under 1983 only if accompanied by incarceration, loss of employment, or some other "palpable consequenc[e]."

Held: The judgment is affirmed.

975 F. 2d 343, affirmed.

Chief Justice Rehnquist, joined by Justice O'Connor, Justice Scalia, and Justice Ginsburg, concluded that Albright's claimed right to be free from prosecution without probable cause must be judged under the Fourth Amendment, and that substantive due process, with its "scarce and open-ended" "guideposts for responsible decision-making," Collins v. Harker Heights, 503 U. S. 115, 125, can afford Albright no relief. Where a particular Amendment "provides an explicit textual source of constitutional protection" against a particular sort of government behavior, "that Amendment, not the more generalized notion of 'substantive due process,' must be the guide for analyzing" such a claim. Graham v. Connor, 490 U. S. 386, 395. The Fourth Amendment addresses the matter of pretrial deprivations of liberty, and the Court has noted that Amendment's relevance to the liberty deprivations that go hand in hand with criminal prosecutions. See Gerstein v. Pugh, 420 U. S. 103, 114. The Court has said that the accused is not "entitled to judicial oversight or review of the decision to prosecute." Id., at 118-

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