A Michigan woman who was jailed for writing a message in chalk on a sidewalk has settled her federal lawsuit for $77,500.
Melissa Marie Jackson visited her boyfriend at the Genesee County Jail on October 18, 2010. As was her custom after a visit, she went across the street to wave to him. This time she also wrote a message with chalk on the sidewalk: “You’re my love, my everything. Kisses.”
Vigilant police officer Andree Williams, a Genesee County deputy, observed this conduct. He then accosted Jackson and arrested her for disorderly conduct. Jackson spent three days in jail on the charge, which was ultimately dismissed.
Jackson sued Williams and Genesee County for violation of her civil rights. She claimed that the arrest was arbitrary, and that she was subjected to an unreasonable search and abuse of process. The defendants filed several motions for summary judgment, all of which were denied. On September 11, 2013, the parties agreed to settle the matter for a payment of $77,500 to Jackson.
Case: Jackson v. Williams, et al., United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Case No. 2:10-cv-14985 (September 11, 2013).
Originally published in Criminal Legal News on December 20, 2017.