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Martin A. Schwartz Martin A. Schwartz

At the end of its last term, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered an important decision concerning the accrual of a §1983 fabrication of evidence claim. In McDonough v. Smith, 139 S. Ct. 2149 (2019), the court held that the statute of limitations on Edward McDonough’s claim that he was prosecuted based upon fabricated evidence did not accrue until he was acquitted of the criminal charges. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote the opinion for the court, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito, and Brett Kavanaugh. Justice Clarence Thomas, dissenting, joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Neil Gorsuch, opined that because the plaintiff’s failure to specify which constitutional right he was relying upon “profoundly complicate[d]” the court’s inquiry, the court should have dismissed the writ of certiorari as improvidently granted.

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