Lima v. Newark Police Department

On January 23, 2008, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey and the Seton Hall Center for Social Justice filed a lawsuit against the Newark Police Department on behalf of newspaper editor Roberto Lima, whom police arrested and held in custody until he relinquished photos his staff took of a dead body found in a Newark alleyway. Despite offering Newark police the original photographs his photographer had taken of the body, Newark police handcuffed Lima to a bench until he agreed to give them all copies and originals. In December 2008, the complaint was amended to include claims against Essex County prosecutors and investigators after the Newark Police Department indicated that they relied on the advice of those individuals. In November 2009, the City agreed to pay $55,000 as a settlement of the claims, but a dispute over the City's liability for attorneys' fees was appealed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. On July 19, 2011, the federal appellate court ruled that Lima is entitled to the entire amount of the monetary offer made by the City of Newark and that his attorneys are also entitled to seek fees in addition to those monetary damages. The case was remanded to the District Court and the parties settled the outstanding fee issues.

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