Is An Action for Malicious Prosecution the Only Remedy If An Illegal Arrest Is Made by Valid Process ?
In Williams v. Smith, 179 Ga. App. 712, 713 (2) (348 S.E.2d 50) (1986), the court explained:
False imprisonment is an intentional tort, not a tort of negligence.
In an action to recover damages for illegal arrest or false imprisonment the only essential elements are the arrest or detention and the unlawfulness thereof.
With regard to the element of unlawfulness in the tort of false imprisonment, the law has always made a fundamental distinction between a detention effectuated pursuant to process and detention which is not predicated on process.
An action for false imprisonment will lie where a person is unlawfully detained under a void process, or under no process at all, and cannot be maintained where the process is valid, no matter how corrupt may be the motives of the person suing out the process or how unfounded the imprisonment may be. . . . Where the arrest is by valid process regularly sued out, action for malicious prosecution is the only remedy. Id. at 714.
Ridgeview Institute v. Handley, 224 Ga. App. 533, 533-534 (1) (481 S.E.2d 531) (1997);
Reese v. Clayton County, 185 Ga. App. 207 (363 S.E.2d 618) (1987).