California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) (2017)

3023. Ralph Act (Civ. Code, § 51.7) - Essential Factual Elements

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3023.Unreasonable Search—Search Without a
Warrant—Essential Factual Elements (42 U.S.C. § 1983)
[Name of plaintiff] claims that [name of defendant] carried out an
unreasonable search of [his/her] [person/home/automobile/office/[insert
other]] because [he/she] did not have a warrant. To establish this claim,
[name of plaintiff] must prove all of the following:
1. That [name of defendant] searched [name of plaintiff]’s [person/
home/automobile/office/[insert other]];
2. That [name of defendant] did not have a warrant;
3. That [name of defendant] was acting or purporting to act in the
performance of [his/her] official duties;
4. That [name of plaintiff] was harmed; and
5. That [name of defendant]’s search was a substantial factor in
causing [name of plaintiff]’s harm.
New September 2003; Renumbered from CACI No. 3003 December 2012
Directions for Use
The “official duties” referred to in element 3 must be duties created pursuant to any
state, county, or municipal law, ordinance, or regulation. This aspect of color of law
most likely will not be an issue for the jury, so it has been omitted to shorten the
wording of element 3.
Sources and Authority
• “The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, made applicable to
the states by the Fourteenth Amendment, provides: ‘The right of the people to
be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable
searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but
upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly
describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.’ ”
(Conway v. Pasadena Humane Society (1996) 45 Cal.App.4th 163, 171 [52
Cal.Rptr.2d 777], internal citation omitted.)
• “ ‘The Fourth Amendment prohibits only unreasonable searches . . . . [¶] The
test of reasonableness under the Fourth Amendment is not capable of precise
definition or mechanical application. In each case it requires a balancing of the
need for the particular search against the invasion of personal rights that the
search entails. Courts must consider the scope of the particular intrusion, the
manner in which it is conducted, the justification for initiating it, and the place
in which it is conducted.’ ” (Sacramento County Deputy Sheriffs’ Assn. v.
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County of Sacramento (1996) 51 Cal.App.4th 1468, 1477 [59 Cal.Rptr.2d 834],
internal citation omitted.)
• “ ‘[I]n justifying the particular intrusion the police officer must be able to point
to specific and articulable facts which, taken together with rational inferences
from those facts, reasonably warrant that intrusion.’ ‘And in making that
assessment it is imperative that the facts be judged against an objective
standard: would the facts available to the officer at the moment of the seizure or
the search “warrant a man of reasonable caution in the belief” that the action
taken was appropriate?’ An officer’s good faith is not enough.” (King v. State of
California (2015) 242 Cal.App.4th 265, 283 [195 Cal.Rptr.3d 286], internal
citations omitted.)
• “Thus, the fact that the officers’ reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing is not
particularized to each member of a group of individuals present at the same
location does not automatically mean that a search of the people in the group is
unlawful. Rather, the trier of fact must decide whether the search was
reasonable in light of the circumstances.” (Lyall v. City of Los Angeles (9th Cir.
2015) 807 F.3d 1178, 1194.)
• “ ‘It is settled doctrine that probable cause for belief that certain articles subject
to seizure are in a dwelling cannot of itself justify a search without a warrant.’
Thus, a warrantless entry into a residence is presumptively unreasonable and
therefore unlawful. Government officials ‘bear a heavy burden when attempting
to demonstrate an urgent need that might justify warrantless searches or
arrests.’ ” (Conway, supra, 45 Cal.App.4th at p. 172, internal citations omitted.)
• “The Fourth Amendment shields not only actual owners, but also anyone with
sufficient possessory rights over the property searched. . . . To be shielded by
the Fourth Amendment, a person needs ‘some joint control and supervision of
the place searched,’ not merely permission to be there.” (Lyall, supra, 807 F.3d
at pp. 1186–1187.)
• “The Supreme Court has interpreted the phrase ‘under “color” of law’ to mean
‘under “pretense” of law.’ A police officer’s actions are under pretense of law
only if they are ‘in some way “related to the performance of his official
duties.’ ” By contrast, an officer who is ‘ “pursuing his own goals and is not in
any way subject to control by [his public employer],’ ” does not act under color
of law, unless he ‘purports or pretends’ to do so. Officers who engage in
confrontations for personal reasons unrelated to law enforcement, and do not
‘purport[] or pretend[]’ to be officers, do not act under color of law.” (Huffman
v. County of Los Angeles (9th Cir. 1998) 147 F.3d 1054, 1058, internal citations
omitted.)
• “[P]rivate parties ordinarily are not subject to suit under section 1983, unless,
sifting the circumstances of the particular case, the state has so significantly
involved itself in the private conduct that the private parties may fairly be
termed state actors. Among the factors considered are whether the state
subsidized or heavily regulated the conduct, or compelled or encouraged the
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particular conduct, whether the private actor was performing a function which
normally is performed exclusively by the state, and whether there was a
symbiotic relationship rendering the conduct joint state action.” (Robbins v.
Hamburger Home for Girls (1995) 32 Cal.App.4th 671, 683 [38 Cal.Rptr.2d
534], internal citations omitted.)
• “Private parties act under color of state law if they willfully participate in joint
action with state officials to deprive others of constitutional rights. Private
parties involved in such a conspiracy may be liable under section 1983.”
(United Steelworkers of America v. Phelps Dodge Corp. (9th Cir. 1989) 865
F.2d 1539, 1540, internal citations omitted.)
Secondary Sources
8 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Constitutional Law, §§ 816,
819 et seq.
3 Civil Rights Actions, Ch. 10, Deprivation of Rights Under Color of State
Law—Law Enforcement and Prosecution, ¶ 10.04 (Matthew Bender)
11 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 113, Civil Rights: The Post-Civil
War Civil Rights Statutes, § 113.14 (Matthew Bender)
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