MALICIOUS PROSECUTION, or MALICIOUS ARREST, torts, or remedies. These terms
import a wanton prosecution or arrest, made by a prosecutor in a criminal
proceeding, or a plaintiff in a civil suit, without probable cause, by a
regular process and proceeding, which the facts did not warrant, as appears
by the result.
2. This definition will be analysed by considering, 1. The nature of the prosecution or arrest. 2. Who is liable under it. 3. What are malice and probable cause. 4. The proceedings. 5. The result of the prosecution and afterwards, 6. The remedy.
3.-Sec. 1. Where the defendant commenced a criminal prosecution wantonly and in other respects against law, he will be responsible. Addis. R. 270; 12 Conn. 219. The prosecution of a civil suit, when malicious, is a good cause of action, even when there has been no arrest. 1 P. C. C. 210; 11 Conn. 582; 1 Wend. 345. But no action lies for commencing a civil action, though without sufficient cause. 1 Penna. R. 235.
4.-Sec. 2. The action lies against the prosecutor and even against a mere informer, when the proceedings are malicious. 5 Stew. & Port. 367. But grand jurors are not liable to an action for a malicious prosecution, for information given by them to their fellow jurors, on which a prosecution is founded. Hardin, 556. Such action lies against a plaintiff in a civil action who maliciously sues out the writ and prosecutes it; 16 Pick. 453; but an action does not lie against an attorney at law for bringing the action, when regularly employed. 16 Pick. 478. See 6 Pick. 193.
5.-Sec. 3. There must be malice and want of probable cause. 1 Wend. 140, 345; 7 Cowen, 281; 2 P. A. Browne, Appx. xlii; Cooke, 90; Litt. Sel. Cas. 106; 4 Litt. 334; 3 Gil. & John. 377; 1 N. & M. 36; 12 Conn. 219; 3 Call. 446; 2 Hall, 315; 3 Mason, 112, 2 N. & M. 54,143. See Malice; Probable cause.
6.-Sec. 4. The Proceedings under which the original prosecution or action was held, must have been regular, in the ordinary course of justice, and before a tribunal having power to ascertain the truth or falsity of the charge, and to punish the supposed offender, the now plaintiff. 3 Pick. 379, 383. When the proceedings are irregular, the prosecutor is a trespasser. 3 Blackf. 210. See Regular and irregular process.
7.-Sec. 5. The malicious prosecution or action must be ended, and the plaintiff must show it was groundless, either by his acquittal or by obtaining a final judgment in his favor in a civil action. 1 Root, R. 553; 1 N. & M. 36; 2 N. & M. 54, 143; 7 Cowen, 715; 2 Dev. & Bat. 492.
8.-Sec. 6. The remedy for a malicious prosecution is an action on the case to recover damages for the injury sustained. 5 Stew. & Porter, 367; 2 Conn. 700; 11 Mass 500; 6 Greenl. 421; 3 Gill. & John. 377. See Case; Regular and irregular process.
See, generally, Bull. N. P. 11; 1 Saund. 228; 12 Mod. 208; 1 T. R. 493 to 551; Bac. Ab. Actions on the case, H; Bouv. Inst. Index, h.t.