The plaintiff we represent in this civil suit is the same Antoine Jones in whose criminal case the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that attaching a GPS tracking device to a vehicle is a Fourth Amendment search. In this case, Mr. Jones seeks damages against federal and D.C. law enforcement officers for repeated violations of his Fourth Amendment rights, including warrantless searches of his home, nightclub, warehouse, and vehicles. He first filed a complaint from prison without an attorney in 2008; it was dismissed as inconsistent with his conviction. He re-filed in 2012 after his conviction was reversed, and we filed an amended complaint on his behalf in January 2013. In September 2014 the district court again dismissed the case, ruling that in some respects the complaint failed to state a claim and in other respects the defendants were entitled to qualified immunity.
We appealed with respect to some of Mr. Jones’s claims, and in August 2016 the court of appeals, reversing the district court, agreed that Jones’s allegations that the officers had not announced their presence before entering his home, and that they had seized material beyond the warrant’s authorization were plausible and could proceed. Also, the court of appeals agreed that the officers violated the Fourth Amendment when they executed at 4:30 a.m. a warrant that only authorized a daytime search. However, the court of appeals ruled that the officers were entitled to qualified immunity on that issue, because it “was not clearly established in Maryland in 2005 that the Fourth Amendment prohibits the nighttime execution of a daytime-only warrant.”
On March 20, 2017, the Supreme Court denied certiorari in this case, in which we had asked it to reverse a D.C. Circuit ruling that it was not clearly established in 2005 that a daytime-only warrant for the search of a home could not constitutionally be executed at 4:45 a.m. (The D.C. Circuit agreed with us that this was unconstitutional, but held that this had not been clear in 2005.)
The case then returned to the district court, where we proceeded with Jones’s claims for damages based on his other allegations that the officers had not announced their presence before breaking into his home, and that they had seized material beyond the warrant’s authorization. In 2020, the case settled with a monetary payment to Jones and the return of his seized property (other than contraband).