Alyssa Mollineda Alvarado
Paul v. Davis
The local authorities alerted merchants of potential shoplifters, by handing out memo's
containing mugshots with the offenders names who had been charged prior. The Defendant was
on the memo, however the defendant was arraigned and pleaded not guilty during the time the
memo was sent out. Later on the charges against the defendant were resolved and dismissed.
Therefore, the defendant states that his reputation was injured due to his picture and name
Beijing on that memo.
The court granted certiorari, to allow Mr. Davis the chance to prove that he
was defamed and stripped of his rights under the fourteenth amendment. The court saw that
because the memo that was sent out was not an official record then the defendant was not
stripped of his fourteenth amendment rights to liberty.
The judgment of the court of appeals holding reversed the ruling.
Did the police chief deprive the defendant Mr. Davis of his liberty by marking him as a
shoplifter on the memo's that were handed out to merchants?
In this case, no. The Kentucky law does now state that there is any legal guarantee to
protect someone's reputation when they had a prior altercation under the same convictions
based on their actions. Therefore, the defendant Mr. Davis was not deprived of his liberty or
property that would be protected by the Due Process Clause.
The courts decided that there was no deprivement against the defendant Mr. Davis
of the fourteenth amendment in the Due Process Clause based on defamation. The memo that
was sent out by the chief of police in Louisville, Kentucky to merchants warning them of
offending shoplifters was not official. Therefore, it did not violate Mr. Davis' rights in the Due
Process Clause. Mr. Davis had been convicted of being a shoplifter prior to this incident, so the
warning to the merchants was not false information.
This let's law enforcement do as they please without repercussions. Making the