Bravo v. City of Santa Maria

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Law
  • Date Filed: 12-09-2011
  • Case #: 09-55898
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Hawkins for the Court; Circuit Judge Reinhardt and District Judge Cogan
  • Full Text Opinion

An officer's omission that a person of interest was incarcerated is sufficient to raise the issue of judicial deception in relation to a 1983 claim challenging the validity of a search warrant authorizing a search of the person of interest's home.

Javier Bravo Sr. and the plaintiffs in this case filed suit against the City of Santa Maria Police Department and the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office under a 1983 claim for events that arose from a search of the plaintiff's home pursuant to a search warrant. Detectives filed an affidavit with a Santa Barbara judge in which they mentioned that Javier Bravo Sr.'s son was a person of interest in a drive-by shooting. The affidavit reffered to Bravo Jr.'s rap sheet which included a recent felony conviction, yet there was no indication that Javier Bravo Jr. was in prison for that offense at the time of the drive-by shooting. The district court granted summary judgment for all defendants because the omission of Javier Bravo Jr.'s custody was immaterial. Javier Bravo Sr. appealed, arguing that the warrant was invalid because it was obtained as a result of intentional or reckless omission of facts that amounted to judicial deception. The Ninth Circuit held that the misrepresentation or omission of Javier Bravo Jr.'s custody status was material, because had the Santa Barbara judge been aware of that fact there would have been no basis to search Javier Bravo Sr.'s home. The Ninth Circuit also held that based upon the evidence in the record the plaintiffs had made a substantial showing that the misrepresentation or omission was a reckless disregard for the truth and therefore required the claim to survive a motion for summary judgment. The Ninth Circuit also held that the district court properly granted summary judgment to the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office as they were not an integral part of the claim. REVERSED in part, AFFIRMED in part and REMANDED.

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