Municipal liability, volunteer anticrime, torts, unlawful arrest, excessive use of force, Bivens, 42 U.S.C. 1983, respondeat superior


Volunteer anticrime groups are effective in deterring crime by exercising the statutory power to effect citizen's arrest. As a result of using this statutory authority though, the municipality may face liability, for example, where a volunteer anticrime group effected an unlawful arrest, or for use of excessive force against the arrested individual. This comment explores what a plaintiff must prove when he proceeds under various causes of action: an action under 42 U.S.C. section 1983, a state law, or a Bivens-type cause of action, in order to recover against a municipality for torts committed by anticrime volunteer groups. The Comment concludes that success in recovering against a municipal corporation may be limited to a state law tort claim by employing respondeat superior, or indicating the functional similarities between the volunteer anticrime group and the auxiliary police, in order to find municipal liability. The Supreme Court has rejected the notion of respondeat superior as a basis for municipal liability in section 1983 claims, and the courts have also hesitated in implying causes of action directly under the Constitution.

Included in

Torts Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.