California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) (2017)

1407. Unnecessary Delay in Processing/Releasing—Essential Factual Elements

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1407.Unnecessary Delay in Processing/Releasing—Essential
Factual Elements
[Name of plaintiff] claims that [he/she] was wrongfully confined by [name
of defendant]. To establish this claim, [name of plaintiff] must prove all of
the following:
1. That [name of defendant] held [name of plaintiff] in custody;
2. That there was an unnecessary delay [insert facts, e.g., “in taking
[name of plaintiff] before a judge” or “in releasing [name of
3. That [name of plaintiff] did not consent to the delay;
4. That [name of plaintiff] was [actually] harmed; and
5. That [name of defendant]’s conduct was a substantial factor in
causing [name of plaintiff]’s harm.
New September 2003; Revised December 2011
Directions for Use
If the plaintiff is seeking nominal damages as an alternative to actual damages,
insert the following paragraph above element 4:
If you find the above, then the law assumes that [name of plaintiff] has been
harmed and [he/she] is entitled to a nominal sum such as one dollar. [Name of
plaintiff] is also entitled to additional damages if [he/she] proves the following:
The second sentence of the above paragraph, along with the final two elements of
this instruction, should be omitted if plaintiff is seeking nominal damages only.
Read “actually” in the fourth element only if nominal damages are also being
Sources and Authority
• “Arrest” Defined. Penal Code section 834.
Time for Arraignment. Penal Code section 825(a).
• Public Employee Liability for False Arrest. Government Code section 820.4.
• “The critical factor is the necessity for any delay in arraignment. These
provisions do not authorize a two-day detention in all cases. Instead, ‘a limit [is
placed] upon what may be considered a necessary delay, and a detention of less
than two days, if unreasonable under the circumstances, is in violation of the
statute’ and of the Constitution.” (People v. Thompson (1980) 27 Cal.3d 303,
329 [165 Cal.Rptr. 289, 611 P.2d 883].)
• “ ‘[F]alse arrest’ and ‘false imprisonment’ are not separate torts. False arrest is
but one way of committing a false imprisonment, and they are distinguishable
only in terminology.” (Collins v. City and County of San Francisco (1975) 50
Cal.App.3d 671, 673 [123 Cal.Rptr. 525].)
• “In determining which delays are necessary, this court has rejected arguments
that the delay was ‘not unusual’ or made ‘the work of the police and the district
attorney easier.’ As the Court of Appeal recently observed, ‘[t]here is no
authority to delay for the purpose of investigating the case. Subject to obvious
health considerations the only permissible delay between the time of arrest and
bringing the accused before a magistrate is the time necessary: to complete the
arrest; to book the accused; to transport the accused to court; or the district
attorney to evaluate the evidence for the limited purpose of determining what
charge, if any, is to be filed; and to complete the necessary clerical and
administrative tasks to prepare a formal pleading.’ ” (Youngblood v. Gates
(1988) 200 Cal.App.3d 1302, 1319 [246 Cal.Rptr. 775], internal citations
• “Although both false imprisonment and malicious prosecution may cause a
person to be restrained or confined, under Asgari (Asgari v. City of Los Angeles
(1997) 15 Cal.4th 744 [63 Cal.Rptr.2d 842, 937 P.2d 273]) only damages
attributable to injuries arising from false arrest and false imprisonment are
compensable in an action under state law against a public entity and its
employees. False imprisonment ends at the point malicious prosecution begins
which, under Asgari, is the point at which the person is arraigned.” (County of
Los Angeles v. Superior Court (2000) 78 Cal.App.4th 212, 220–221 [92
Cal.Rptr.2d 668].)
• “[W]here the arrest is lawful, subsequent unreasonable delay in taking the
person before a magistrate will not affect the legality of the arrest, although it
will subject the offending person to liability for so much of the imprisonment as
occurs after the period of necessary or reasonable delay.” (Dragna v. White
(1955) 45 Cal.2d 469, 473 [289 P.2d 428].)
Secondary Sources
5 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Torts, § 445
3Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 42, False Imprisonment and False Arrest,
§ 42.26 (Matthew Bender)
22 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 257, False Imprisonment,
§ 257.24 (Matthew Bender)
10 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 103, False Imprisonment, § 103.110 et
seq. (Matthew Bender)
1 California Civil Practice: Torts §§ 13:31–13:34 (Thomson Reuters)