Shopkeepers Who Foster Arrests of Suspected Shoplifters Pursuant to a Preconceived Plan With the Police Are Acting Under Color of State Law Within the Meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Little, Betty Harbin
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Examines the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s case Smith v. Brookshire Brothers. In Smith, the court established that shopkeepers who detain a suspected shoplifter, in connection with a pre-established plan with law enforcement, are acting under the color of law and thus may violate the plaintiff’s civil rights protected by 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The author comments that this decision increases shopkeepers’ liability, and suggests that shopkeepers avoid such arrangements with police.