JUSTICE ALITO, for the court:
Plaintiff, Old Man Watkins, appeals a lower court decision in favor of Defendant, Leroy “Encyclopedia” Brown, in his individual capacity as the genius son of Chief of Police Brown of the city of Idaville. Mr. Watkins alleges various common law torts against Brown, including trespass, false imprisonment, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Mr. Watkins additionally alleges unreasonable search and seizure in violation of his 4th Amendment rights against the city of Idaville. Idaville contends that a ten year old boy closing his eyes at the dinner table while asking clever questions constitutes probable cause.
The court begins our analysis with some background. Idaville has an exceptionally low crime rate compared to the national average. Compared to its immediate neighboring community, East St. Louis, Illinois, Idaville’s crime rate is virtually nil. While East St. Louis wrestles with an extraordinary unsolved murder, assault and robbery epidemic, the wave of stolen apple pies, tree house break-ins and vandalized roller skates in Idaville tend to be solved remarkably quickly. This apparent success story has not been without controversy, however. Over the years, there has been major editorial criticism in the East St. Louis-Idaville Times Herald Picayune of Police Chief Brown’s methods of relying on the shaky conclusions of his 5th grade son, based on vague second-hand recollections of circumstantial evidence at the dinner table, to make arrests. It warrants mention that there is an appeal pending in the circuit court related to the death in custody of local 12 year old bully Bugs Meany, prime suspect in “The Case of the Stolen Lemonade Stand Sign.” Obviously, this goes beyond the scope of our review.
The facts before us have come to be known, amongst 11 year olds in Idaville, as “The Case of the Goofy Goblin.” The following facts are not in dispute. Sally Kimball paid Encyclopedia Brown 25 cents a day, plus expenses, to track down a goblin the neighborhood kids had seen over a fence at the old ball yard when chasing down a homerun. The fact that Mr. Brown operated a private detective agency without being licensed, bonded or insured, and has no record of ever having filed an income tax return, is noted by this court with some displeasure.
Mr. Brown then entered the Watkins property, prepared a booby trap of gumballs, candy bars, and ricin-laced bear traps, and caught the “goofy goblin”, holding him as all the kids screamed until Encyclopedia’s father came to make the arrest. Encyclopedia Brown charged Sally his 25 cent daily rate and $38,000 for the expenses related to the booby traps.
Mr. Watkins contends that he was suffering from moderate facial swelling as a result of celiac disease caused by another Encyclopedia Brown matter, “The Case of Poorly Labeled Organic Supermarket Chicken Nuggets”, at the time of the incident in question. He claims emphatically not to be a goblin, goofy or otherwise—although we refrain from comment, as nothing in the record before us speaks to that point. Plaintiff also claims to not understand how, even if he were to be a goofy goblin, and not the victim of a mere gluten allergy, this would justify being held in solitary confinement for 42 days. However, the “Holding Goblins in Solitary Confinement for 42 Days” Idaville city ordinance has previously passed constitutional muster before this court. See, Creepy Old Joe v. Scrappy Doo, 355 U.S. 42 (2010).
While we sympathize with Old Man Watkins, this court has long held that kids say the darnedest things. Bill Cosby v. The Young Republicans of America 346 U.S. 211 (1996). We see no reason to abandon that precedent now. So ordered.
JUSTICE KENNEDY, concurring in judgment:
The penumbra of community standards.
JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR, dissenting: