United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Civil Rights — malicious prosecution — expert testimony
In a civil rights case, alleging malicious prosecution, the district court properly admitted expert testimony of what the investigating officers should have done.
“McCrary testified about the steps a reasonable police investigator would have taken to solve the Morro murder, as well as the information that a reasonable police investigator would have taken into account as the investigation progressed. He did not try to resolve conflicts in the testimony of different witnesses. He also did not offer an opinion regarding whether the police had probable cause to arrest Jimenez. He did point out ways in which evidence from other witnesses indicated that Bogucki and his police colleagues departed from reasonable investigation methods. The effect of his testimony depended on how the jury resolved conflicts among the testimony of other witnesses. We must assume the jury resolved those conflicts in favor of plaintiff Jimenez, of course. McCrary’s testimony thus would have helped the jury conclude that the departures from reasonable police practices were so important, severe, and numerous that they supported an inference that Bogucki acted deliberately to violate Jimenez’s rights. Such use of McCrary’s testimony would not transform it into an impermissible legal opinion. Thus, even if defendants had not forfeited their objections, we would find no error in admitting McCrary’s testimony, much less plain error or an abuse of discretion.”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Kennelly, J., Hamilton, J.