T. Owen Farist

Publication Date


Document Type



In Connick v. Thompson, the United States Supreme Court held that, under section 1983 of title 42 of the United States Code, the Orleans Parish District Attorney's actions failed to rise to the level of deliberate indifference required for municipal liability. The Court affirmed the possibility of "single-incident" municipal liability hypothesized in City of Canton v. Harris as an exception to the ordinary requirement of a pattern of similar violations necessary to prove the stringent standard of deliberate indifference to a known or obvious consequence. Despite upholding the validity of the exception, the Court found that Thompson's case did not fall within this narrow scope of single-incident liability theorized in Canton. The challenge after Connick will be in determining how wide this latitude of prosecutorial misconduct may stretch before running up against the narrow set of circumstances established in Canton.