The United States Supreme Court in Town of Newton, New Hampshire v. Rumery, 480 U.S. 386, 389, 107 pp. Ct. 1187, 94 L Ed. 2d 405 (1987) Justice Powell, stated that “a court may properly enforce an agreement in which a criminal defence lawyer releases his right to sue in 1983 in exchange for the release of a criminal complaint pending by a prosecutor.” In Rumery, the complainant and his lawyer had discussed and signed such an agreement, which was before Rumery of the dismissal of charges of witness manipulation, an offence against the complainant. The release agreement provided that the applicant would not sue the defendant city or any of its officials for his arrest. Unfortunately, judges refuse to dismiss cases on the basis of previously signed releases because of the deep-seated belief in a right of access to justice. More importantly, the question of voluntaryness, that is, whether the accused exerted undue pressure to sign a release in exchange for favourable argument in criminal proceedings or, in other words, whether it is fair to ask an accused to sign a release in exchange for a prison sentence. Prior to the 1987 U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Town of Newton, New Hampshire v. Rumery Fall, the Federal Court in Boston would not accept any authorization to quash civil suits in exchange for dismissing criminal complaints.
In Rumery, Justice O`Connor accepted the Court of Justice`s case-by-case approach to the validity of such agreements. Moreover, it is the burden of those who invoke such an agreement to demonstrate that it is neither unintentionally nor the result of an abuse of the criminal procedure. With respect to the relevant factors, the issue was: 1., the knowledge and experience of the accused and the circumstances of the execution of the release, including what is important if the accused was advised, are clearly relevant. 2., The nature of the edsurring criminal complaints is also important to the greater charge, the greater the coercive effect. 3., The existence of a legitimate criminal objective for obtaining release will support its validity. 4., It is important that the possibility of abuse be clearly reduced when the termination contract is executed under judicial supervision. It is often considered that all civil claims should be released as part of a criminal case. This is a common concern in troublesome cases where the accused has threatened to take legal action or where it was the level of violence at the time of arrest. A First Circuit case, Hall v. Ochs, 817 F.2d 920 (1st Cir. 1987), in which the court found that a dismissal agreement had not been entered into voluntarily, is a good example of judicial review of dismissal agreements.
In this case, the applicant was arrested for failing to present his driver`s licence on request and for disorderly conduct. Subsequently, while in prison at the police station, a commander officer repeatedly asked the complainant to waive his right to prosecute the police for various violations of the Constitution during his arrest, including racial discrimination.