Walker’s Lawsuit Against DA Dismissed

CLEAFIELD – The federal lawsuit by a former Fifth Congressional District candidate against the Clearfield County District Attorney has been dismissed.

Derek A. Walker filed a civil suit against Clearfield County District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. in March 2009.

In May 2008 Walker pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, invasion of privacy, harassment and defiant trespass. He was fined $399 and placed on one year of supervised probation. Prior to pleading guilty Walker released a statement stating that the charges were false.

According to court documents, the criminal complaint was filed on April 17, 2008. The Primary Election occurred on April 22.

According to Walker’s lawsuit, Shaw criminally prosecuted Walker in an effort to insure that Walker did not win the Republican Primary Election for the US House of Representatives spot. It states that Shaw violated Walker’s right to free political association and that Shaw’s actions were taken with malice and that they were taken in an attempt to infringe on Walker’s Constitutional right to run for political office.

His lawsuit also claims that it was due to Shaw’s actions that he lost the primary election, suffered loss of income, emotional distress and public humiliation.

According to the Honorable Judge Kim R. Gibson’s July 10 order, Walker failed to respond to Shaw’s motion for dismissal and that the motion will be granted. It further states:

“The plaintiff’s (Walker’s) claims for monetary damages are prohibited by prosecutorial immunity, but the plaintiff’s claim for equitable relief survives the application of prosecutorial immunity.

“As for the plaintiff’s claim one count equitable claim for a violation of his First Amendment right of association, which is one of two rights forming the right to campaign for elected office … the plaintiff’s claim fails. The right to campaign or public office does not to equate to a right to succeed in being elected. It is not claimed that the decision to prosecute prevented the plaintiff from being a candidate or barred him from being elected, only that it essentially had delirious effects upon his chances of winning the primary election, effects that the defendant (Shaw) allegedly intended. Despite the alleged intent of the defendant, the charges are alleged to have resulted in a guilty plea by the plaintiff to lesser charges and, in turn, in a sentence of a term of probation for the plaintiff. These facts when accepted as true do not demonstrate a violation of one’s right to association under the First Amendment.”

Gibson granted Shaw’s motion to dismiss. He also ordered that Walker may file an amended complaint on or before July 31.

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