If I attempt to press charges on an individual or individuals due to criminal activity and the officers or dispatch says they will not act on said violation what award could be awarded through a lawsuit brought against the agency?

1 Answer 1


Police and prosecutors generally have wide latitude on which accusations to investigate and which offenses to prosecute. Situations where the evidence is weak may not be pursued. The same is true of situations where the authorities do not consider the situation serious enough to prosecute. To question such judgement, one would need evidence that the decision to not go ahead with charges was being made for an illegitimate reason, such as racial prejudice or personal malice or influence. If your own civil rights are being harmed, a federal suit under section 1983 can be filed, but you do not have a civil right to have someone charged with a crime. I am inclined to doubt that such a suit would succeed except in a very unusual case.

  • @ David Siegel for instance if a family were committing insest and you went to make a report and the officer or dispatch plainly says we arent going look into the insest accusations but the family in questioned were illegally married and presently practicing insest against State law. in this very specific matter wouldnt they be obligated to uphold the law being the marrage certificate is valid proof of the crime
    – Jonny
    Nov 25, 2018 at 1:01
  • @Jonny: They would also need to prove the relationship, and perhaps other things, and they would need to persuade a jury to convict. In any case, I do not believe that the complainant could force the police to act. Perhaps publicity and political pressure could do so, but it might backfire.Pushing might be risky. Or someone could file a complaint directly with the prosecuting attorney's office -- that official might choose to act -- or might not. Nov 25, 2018 at 1:30
  • @Jonny - The circumstances would probably depend on whether or not there are minors involved. If the only 'participants' are consenting adults then it's not likely that the police and/or prosecutors would consider it a good use of their time & resources.
    – brhans
    Nov 26, 2018 at 21:55

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