CACI No. 1406. False Arrest With Warrant - Peace Officer - Affirmative Defense - “Good- Faith” Exception

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2023 edition)

Download PDF
1406.False Arrest With Warrant - Peace Officer - Affirmative
Defense - “Good-Faith” Exception
[Name of defendant] claims that the arrest was not wrongful. To succeed,
[name of defendant] must prove all of the following:
1. That the arrest warrant would have appeared valid to a
reasonably intelligent and informed person;
2. That [name of defendant] believed the warrant was valid; and
3. That [name of defendant] had a reasonable belief that [name of
plaintiff] was the person referred to in the warrant.
If [name of defendant] has proven all of the above, then the arrest was
not wrongful.
New September 2003
Directions for Use
The absence-of-malice requirement is satisfied if the officer believes the warrant is
valid and the warrant is valid on its face, notwithstanding any personal hostility or
ill will.
Sources and Authority
Immunity for Good-Faith Acts. Civil Code section 43.55(a).
“With regard to Civil Code section 43.55, the immunity set forth therein for
arrests made pursuant to a regular warrant is only conditional. A failure of any
condition prevents the immunity from attaching to a public entity or employee.”
(Harden v. Bay Area Rapid Transit Dist. (1989) 215 Cal.App.3d 7, 14 [263
Cal.Rptr. 549].)
‘Malice,’ as that term is used in section 43.55, refers not to the actual physical
execution of the warrant, but to the officers state of mind in procuring or
executing the warrant. For instance, malice for purposes of section 43.55 has
been found in situations where the officer purposefully withheld exculpatory
evidence from the magistrate issuing the arrest warrant, where the officer
knowingly used false information in order to obtain the warrant, or where the
officer executes the warrant with knowledge that it has been recalled or is no
longer valid.” (Ting v. U.S. (9th Cir. 1991) 927 F.2d 1504, 1514, internal
citations omitted.)
Courts have described the meaning of a warrant “regular on its face” as follows:
“Unless there is a clear absence of jurisdiction on the part of the court or
magistrate issuing the process, it is sufficient if upon its face it [the warrant]
appears to be valid in the judgment of an ordinarily intelligent and informed
layman.” (Allison v. County of Ventura (1977) 68 Cal.App.3d 689, 697 [137
Cal.Rptr. 542].)
“Peace officers are not required to investigate the supportive legal proceedings
from which a warrant issues. However, they are required to exercise the
judgment of an ‘ordinarily intelligent and informed layman’ to observe the
blatant and patent inadequacy of a warrant emanating from a civil action which
directs arrest and neither sets bail nor informs the arrestee of the offense charged
for which arrest is ordered.” (Allison, supra, 68 Cal.App.3d at p. 703.)
“A police officer must use reasonable prudence and diligence to determine
whether a party being arrested is the one described in the warrant. The officer
may not refuse to act upon information offered him which discloses the warrant
is being served on the wrong person. But, the prudence and diligence required of
an arresting officer in determining whether to make an arrest must be balanced
against the need to act swiftly and to make on-the-spot evaluations, often under
chaotic conditions.” (Lopez v. City of Oxnard (1989) 207 Cal.App.3d 1, 7 [254
Cal.Rptr. 556].)
Secondary Sources
5 Witkin, Summary of California Law (11th ed. 2017) Torts, §§ 514-516
3 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 42, False Imprisonment and False Arrest,
§ 42.25 (Matthew Bender)
22 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 257, False Imprisonment
(Matthew Bender)
10 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 103, False Imprisonment (Matthew
California Civil Practice: Torts §§ 13:26-13:30 (Thomson Reuters)

© Judicial Council of California.