CLICK HERE FOR FULL TEXT
DUZUAN LESTER,
Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
KEITH ROBERTS, Detective, in his individual capacity; LOUISVILLE METRO GOVERNMENT,
Defendants-Appellees.
   No. 20-5011
Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Western District of Kentucky at Louisville.
No. 3:16-cv-00119—Gregory N. Stivers, District Judge.
Argued: October 21, 2020
Decided and Filed: January 20, 2021
Before: BATCHELDER, GRIFFIN, and MURPHY, Circuit Judges.


_________________________
OPINION
_________________________

MURPHY, Circuit Judge. The demands on government increase the more it intrudes into its people’s liberty. The government, for example, must meet a lower standard to indict and > No. 20-5011 Lester v. Roberts, et al. Page 2 detain criminal defendants before trial (probable cause) than the standard it must meet to convict and imprison them after trial (proof beyond a reasonable doubt). See Draper v. United States, 358 U.S. 307, 311–12 (1959). Likewise, the government may use hearsay to establish probable cause, but must permit defendants to confront the witnesses against them at trial. See id.; U.S. Const. amend. VI. To protect defendants before trial, therefore, the Framers added other procedural safeguards, including the right to a speedy trial and against excessive bail. U.S. Const. amend. VI, VIII. Nevertheless, given the reduced burdens imposed on the government at this pretrial stage, the Supreme Court has recognized that cases will inevitably arise in which the government validly establishes the probable cause necessary for a pretrial detention, but later falls short in proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. See Michigan v. DeFillippo, 443 U.S. 31, 36 (1979).

This is one of those cases. A witness told Detective Keith Roberts that her former boyfriend, Eugene Baker, and one of Baker’s friends whom she knew as “Desean” had robbed and murdered a competing drug dealer. After this witness identified a photo of the plaintiff, Duzuan Lester, as the “Desean” who had accompanied Baker to the murder, Kentucky prosecutors indicted Baker and Lester. When confronted face-to-face with Lester at trial, however, the witness suggested that Lester did not look like Baker’s accomplice. Finding that the prosecution had not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury acquitted Lester. He now claims that Detective Roberts violated the Fourth Amendment and Kentucky tort law by inadequately investigating the murder before helping initiate the criminal case. Yet the Fourth Amendment and Kentucky law required only probable cause for Lester’s pretrial detention and prosecution. And this witness’s earlier identification of Lester—combined with corroborating evidence like DNA at the scene—sufficed to meet that standard. We thus affirm the grant of summary judgment to Roberts.