In California, given that the police have probable cause to arrest someone, can they charge that person with a misdemeanor in the total absence of evidence that any crime has been committed? To be clear, it is NOT the case that the police gathered evidence that ultimately did not prove their case; rather, the police saw and gathered NO evidence at all (nor did they collect specimens of any kind from the arrested person).
I'm wondering if there is a cause of action against the police in such a situation.
UPDATE: The following are the details of the arrest.
Bob, a 70 year old single man, lived in a rented house with his girlfriend, Susan. Susan has a history of causing problems and was evicted from the house about 2 years ago. Bob remained in the house. Bob also has a history of causing problems and over the last 6 months has had 3 or 4 women in the house (one at a time, not all at the same time). None of the women established residency in house. Two of these women used drugs in the house. One used heroin and the other used meth amphetamines. The police were frequently at the house responding to multiple domestic disturbance calls. Bob used meth amphetamines just before calling the police for yet another domestic disturbance. When the police arrived, Bob was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance. Bob plead guilty and will be taking a drug diversion class. This was approximately 3 months ago.
Two months ago Bob moved in with Susan in her apartment. Recall that Susan was the woman evicted two years ago from the house Bob rents. Bob continued renting the house even though he was living with Susan in her apartment.
One week ago, Bob moved back into the house he is renting. Susan remained in her apartment. Susan, who has not been to Bob’s house since being evicted 2 years ago, called the police and falsely reported drug activity at Bob’s house. The police showed up at Bob’s house and informed Bob that someone called to report drug activity in the house. They asked if they could enter the house and conduct a search. Bob agreed. The police found nothing and then asked Bob if he was under the influence of any medication. Bob said yes, he had taken a Ritalin and produced the bottle of Ritalin, showing that it came from a pharmacy and was prescribed for Bob. The police asked Bob to produce a urine sample. Bob unsuccessfully attempted to produce the sample (the police had arrived only a minute or two after Bob finished using the restroom).
The police gave Bob 3 bottles of water to drink, which Bob drank. The police then waited for about 90 minutes at Bob’s house to give Bob time to produce the sample. Still unable to produce a sample, they arrested Bob. Bob challenged the arrest, asking why he was being arrested. The police responded by saying that the house was a known drug house, that Bob had a drug conviction and was on probation and that they felt Bob was under the influence of something other than the Ritalin. Bob believes he is not on probation, having never been ordered to meet with a probation officer. We are now investigating whether or not Bob is on probation.
While in police custody, the police never asked Bob to attempt to produce a urine sample. The police released him the next day, charging him with misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance. Bob never admitted using anything illegal and the police left the house with no evidence and no evidence was gathered while Bob was in custody.