January 29, 2019

Second Circuit reaffirms that cities may be held liable for District Attorney’s unlawful policies


Today, in an important decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reaffirmed that a city may be held liable for the unlawful policies and misconduct of its district attorney’s office. Bellamy v. City of New York, 914 F.3d 727 (2d Cir. 2019). A federal district court had granted summary judgment to the defendants, holding that the City of New York could not be held liable for the Queens District Attorney’s Office’s policies. The firm then came in on appeal, obtaining a decision holding that the City of New York was the final policymaking authority and thus could be sued under § 1983 for a wrongful conviction resulting from the policies or practices of the Queens District Attorney’s Office. Bellamy is also the first decision from a federal circuit court to recognize a civil cause of action for summation misconduct.

You can read the decision here. The firm remains co-counsel to Kareem Bellamy in the district court, where he continues to seek justice for the 14 years he spent behind bars for a murder he did not commit.

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