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.

About Christopher Zoukis, MBA

Christopher Zoukis, MBA, is the Managing Director of the Zoukis Consulting Group, a federal prison consultancy that assists attorneys, federal criminal defendants, and federal prisoners with prison preparation, in-prison matters, and reentry. His books include Directory of Federal Prisons (Middle Street Publishing, 2020), Federal Prison Handbook (Middle Street Publishing, 2017), Prison Education Guide (PLN Publishing, 2016), and College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in American Prisons (McFarland & Company, 2014).