515 F.3d 936 (9th Cir. 2007), 05-56125, John v. City of El Monte

Docket Nº:05-56125.
Citation:515 F.3d 936
Party Name:Margaret JOHN, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. CITY OF EL MONTE, Defendant, and Eric Youngquist, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:September 26, 2007
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
 
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[*] and RONALD M. GOULD, Circuit Judges//--> Page 936

515 F.3d 936 (9th Cir. 2007)

Margaret JOHN, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

CITY OF EL MONTE, Defendant,

and

Eric Youngquist, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 05-56125.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

September 26, 2007

Argued and Submitted June 7, 2007.

Amended Feb. 5, 2008.

Page 937

Peter J. Ferguson, Ferguson, Praet & Sherman, Santa Ana, CA, and Timothy T. Coates, Greines, Martin, Stein & Richland LLP, Los Angeles, CA, for appellant Eric Youngquist.

John Burton, The Law Offices of John Burton, Pasadena, CA, and William J. Osborne, Osborne & Associates, Sherman Oaks, CA, for appellee Margaret John.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California; A. Howard Matz, District Judge, Presiding. D.C. No. CV-04-00048(AHM).

Before: ALEX KOZINSKI, Chief Judge, DANIEL M. Friedman, [*] and RONALD M. GOULD, Circuit Judges.

ORDER AMENDING OPINION AND AMENDED OPINION

ORDER

The opinion filed on September 26, 2007, slip op. at 13251, 505 F.3d 907, is amended as follows:

Slip op. at 13261, Lines 8-16, 505 F.3d at 911-12

Delete ‹Likewise, in Torchinsky v. Siwinski, 942 F.2d 257 (4th Cir. 1991), we found that, because the officer knew the victim had been assaulted, the officer had probable cause to make an arrest based on the "victim's reliable identification of his attacker." 942 F.2d at 262 (citation omitted); see also id. ("Indeed, it is difficult to imagine how a police officer could obtain better evidence of probable cause than an identification by name of assailants provided by a victim.").›

Slip op. at 13262, Line 6, 505 F.3d at 912

Insert ‹Even if a reasonable jury might conclude the officer lacked probable cause, the arrest was not contrary to any clearly established law, so the officer was entitled to qualified immunity from a jury trial.› after ‹could have reached the opposite conclusion.›

The petition for rehearing and rehearing en banc is otherwise denied. See Fed. R. App. P. 35; Fed. R. App. P. 40. No further petitions for rehearing or rehearing en banc will be accepted.

OPINION

FRIEDMAN, Circuit Judge:

This appeal challenges a district court's denial of summary judgment dismissing a damage suit by a female school teacher against a police officer for improperly arresting

Page 938

her for allegedly sexually molesting a ten-year-old female student. The district court held that the officer did not have probable cause for the arrest and was not entitled to qualified immunity for his conduct. We hold, however, that the officer had probable cause for the arrest and therefore reverse the denial of summary judgment.

I

The basic facts, undisputed unless otherwise indicated, may be summarized as follows:

The appellee, Margaret John, a fifth-grade public school teacher, intercepted notes written by her ten-year-old student Ashley to Ashley's friend. In the notes Ashley stated that she "hop[ed] Ms. John dies today like poisoning her or something," and that John was "a fucken [sic] perv" and a "lesbian bitch." Five days later, after John had shown those notes to the school principal, the latter requested a police investigation.

The appellant, Eric Youngquist, a police officer with ten years experience on the city policy force, conducted the investigation. Youngquist had had extensive training, including courses in child abuse (which included interviewing suspects) and advanced interviewing techniques.

When Youngquist interviewed Ashley at the school, she was unresponsive. Youngquist asked her whether she would prefer that the discussion take place at the police station. When she indicated that she would, he took her there and continued the interview. According to Youngquist's declaration, Ashley then told the following story:

A few weeks earlier, John had imposed detention on her and six other students, and had required them to stay after class. After all the other students (whom she could not identify) had left the room

Ms. John came up and stood behind her.

That without any words being spoken, Ms. John placed her right hand on her left shoulder area of her shirt and then moved her hand down and began caressing her left breast with her hand.

That Ms. John rubbed on the outside of her clothing in an upward and downward motion on her left breast.

After rubbing her breast area she began moving her hand down near her vaginal area on the outside of her pants.

She stated that Ms. John left her hand on the outside of her crouch [sic] area adjacent to her vagina on the outside of her clothing. Her hand remained there for approximately one minute.

Youngquist further...

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