Florida Record

Friday, August 23, 2019

Sergeants' repeated fraudulent behavior qualifies arresting officers for immunity, appeals court rules

Lawsuits

By Charmaine Little | Feb 15, 2019


JACKSONVILLE — Since there was probable cause to arrest three Golden Beach Police Department sergeants, the arresting officers qualify for immunity, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit determined, reversing a ruling from a lower court.

Sergeants Omar Paez and Lyndean Peters, as well as Officer Yovany Diaz, were taken into custody for police corruption, being accused of committing fraud when they didn’t report off-duty police work that would have obliged them to pay a fee had they been reported.

They never went to trial and the charges were dropped three years later, and they are now filing a lawsuit.


Chief Judge Ed Carnes

They sued the arresting officers, Detective John Loyal of Miami-Dade Police Department’s Public Corruption Investigations Bureau, and Special Agent Claudia Mulvey from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. They also sued Loyal and Mulvey’s supervisors, Sergeant Kelly Sullivan and Supervisory Agent Robert Breeden.

The plaintiffs accused the defendants of infringing on their constitutional rights when they purposely didn’t include information from the probable cause affidavits that would have exonerated them. A lower court said the defendants weren’t entitled to qualified immunity, but the appeals court disagreed.

“Even if the omitted information had been included in the affidavits, there would still have been probable cause to believe each of the appellees had engaged in a scheme to defraud in violation of Florida Statute section 817.034(4).” Because of this, the defendants were owed qualified immunity, the appeals court said.

Circuit Judge Stanley Marcus wrote the opinion and Chief Judge Ed Carnes and District Judge Eleanor L. Ross concurred.

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U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit Jacksonville Florida Division

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