DC wrongful arrests for guns decision could lead to 4,500 similar claims: legal expert

A Federal judge’s recent ruling that six people were wrongfully arrested on gun charges in the District could pave the way for 4,500 people arrested under similar circumstances to pursue their own claims, according to a George Washington University law professor.

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The six people were arrested under D.C. gun laws that have since been changed.

On his law blog, Jonathan Turley wrote that U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth’s decision indicates that while D.C. could say that at the time of the arrests – between 2012 and 2014 – "it was not clear that the underlying law was unconstitutional."

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However, Turley notes that the judge has "rejected that argument," saying the law was already "clearly unconstitutional" when it was passed.

The plaintiffs in the case were four non-D.C. residents and two D.C. residents.

In each instance, prosecutors dropped their cases against those charged.

The judge did not rule on a motion expanding the lawsuit to class-action status, the Washington Post pointed out.

But if it’s upheld, it could lead to thousands of claims against the city.