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  • +1

    Understanding the Attorney-Client Privilege in Criminal Investigations

    Throughout history, the United States Judiciary has generally endeavored to balance the need for enforcement of law and criminal code against the broader goals society. While the maintenance of law and order is integral to the functioning of our society, so is the maintenance of trust between members of society who share certain personally or professionally intimate relationships, such as family ...
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  • -26

    Officer Safety Impacted: U.S. Supreme Court Places Restrictions on Car Searches

    Law enforcement officers throughout the United States recognize their ability to search vehicles incident to the arrest of an occupant. The foundation purpose of such searches is to prevent the subject from reaching into the vehicle for a weapon or reaching into the vehicle to destroy evidence. These searches have, for many years, been limited to the passenger compartment of the ...
    Rated -26
  • +1

    Agency Duty to Train Hostage Negotiation / Tactical Combat

    A case concerning whether an agency has an obligation to train officers with hostage negotiation or tactical combat training provides an example of the federal court’s reluctance to hold an agency liable for the lack of specialized training that exceeds the requirements of state mandates.i In Ross v. Town of Austin, the United States Court of Appeal was faced with a ...
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  • +1

    Hostages and Agency Liability - Part 2

    Negotiators may also become the focal point of attack following the death of a barricaded subject. A person suing the negotiator will make the argument that the negotiator violated generally accepted practices of negotiation and that this violation created the situation which required the use of deadly force. Gammon v. Blakeley and the Euclid Police Department,i provides an example of an ...
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  • +1

    Hostages and the Legal Duty to Protect

    _Ewolski v. City of Brunswick_ provides an example of how decisions made by police officers and impacting the lives of hostages will be viewed by courts considering a duty to protect type claim.i The claim in Ewolski stemmed from the suicide of John Lekan and the homicide of Lekan’s son by John Lekan as a SWAT team moved in attempting to ...
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  • +6

    Scott v Harris - The Final Word on State Claims

    In 2007, the United States Supreme Court decided Scott v. Harrisi, which vastly limited Fourth Amendment liability arising from vehicle pursuits. This case began in 2001, when Victor Harris was clocked traveling 73 mph in a 55 mph speed zone. Harris fled the traffic stop and caused a pursuit that lasted approximately 10 miles. During the pursuit, he sped through a ...
    Rated +6
  • +10

    Handcuffing as Excessive Force

    Handcuffing as Excessive Force
    An area of liability that is sometimes given very little attention is handcuffing. Clearly, handcuffing is a frequently recurring law enforcement task, but is it a high-risk critical task? There can be little question that handcuffing is a high-frequency/high risk critical task. Consider two cases reported in the media. The first involved a Florida neuro-surgeon, Angelo Gousse. Dr. Gousse was visiting ...
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  • +2

    Proving Constructive Possession of Illegal Drugs

    Officers from the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department executed a search warrant at the home of Dale Ann Harris, where she lived with her children. When the police made entry, they found Harris and two other women inside the apartment; all were handcuffed and detained. Officers searched the kitchen and found jars, vials, tin foil, and spoons which contained suspicious liquid ...
    Rated +2
  • Rate

    When Imminent Destruction of Evidence Authorizes Warrantless Home Entry

    The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution requires that the police have a warrant to enter a suspect’s home to seize evidence. It follows that one of the principles of the Fourth Amendment is that searches and seizures inside a home without a warrant are presumed unreasonable.i However, the United States Supreme Court has carved out certain exceptions to the ...
  • +12

    Terry Frisks and the Totality of the Circumstances

    Many officers are of the belief that if they have the legal right to detain a suspect, they can automatically frisk that suspect “for officer safety.” However, in 1968, the United States Supreme Court held that an officer may conduct a limited search (frisk) of a suspect for weapons when the officer reasonably believes that the suspect, who is detained pursuant ...
    Rated +12
  • +2

    Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Discrimination

    *+The Need for Policy and Training+* Utilizing the Walker formula previously cited: Does the policy-maker and/or trainer know to a moral certainty that officers will face situations that may involve sexual harassment, discrimination or misconduct in the law enforcement profession? Would an officer be better equipped to deal with these situations if trained and directed by policy? Is there likely to ...
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    Garrity: Compulsion as the Triggering Mechanism

    Employees have Rights against Compelled, Incriminating Statements but No Right to _Garrity_ Immunity The right of government employees against self-incrimination requires compulsion as a triggering mechanism for immunity against the use/derivative use of their statements in a criminal prosecution.i As with any statement implicating the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, statements must also be incriminating and testimonial. In _Harrison_, the plaintiff, ...
  • +1

    Once Immunized, Officer Must Tell the Truth

    Two recent cases from the United States Supreme Court make it clear that once a public employee is granted immunity by compelling the employee to respond to questions in an administrative interview, the employee must tell the truth or face exposure to further discipline or criminal charges.i _LaChance v. Erickson_ involved the questioning of federal employees. In each of the cases ...
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    Garrity and The Administrative Interview

    The Fifth Amendment provides that no person shall be compelled to give testimony against him or herself. This right against self-incrimination is not absolute. The government has the power to compel a person’s testimony even when that testimony is incriminating. The government must however provide the person so testifying with protection that is similar to the Fifth Amendment privilege. The mechanism ...
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    Immunity Granted Under Garrity

    Most grants of immunity occur under the jurisdiction of a court in accordance with a statute. See E.g. 18 U.S.C. 6002. One type of immunity that developed in the context of investigations of public and government employees is that is commonly referred to in the law enforcement setting as a “Garrity” interview. “Garrity” interviews and “Garrity” warnings derive their label from ...
  • +1

    Are Off-Duty Incidents Within the Scope of Garrity?

    In accordance with the ruling in Gardner v. Broderick, supra, a police officer may be compelled to answer questions specifically, directly, and narrowly relating to the performance of his official duties as long as he or she has not been required to waive his or her privilege against self-incrimination. This raises the question as to how a department may deal with ...
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    Civilian Review Boards and Garrity

    Civilian Review Boards and Garrity
    As civilian oversight of police has become more common-place, the issue has arisen as to whether a civilian review board can compel statements from officers. The Court of Appeals of Colorado, ruled recently that a civilian review board could not compel an officer’s statement regarding the use of excessive force.i Denver v. Powell involved two use of force incidents. In the ...
  • +10

    Officers Granted Immunity Under Garrity Ruling

    Officers Granted Immunity Under Garrity Ruling
    Most grants of immunity occur under the jurisdiction of a court in accordance with a statute. See E.g. 18 U.S.C. 6002. One type of immunity that developed in the context of investigations of public and government employees is that is commonly referred to in the law enforcement setting as a “Garrity” interview. “Garrity” interviews and “Garrity” warnings derive their label from ...
    Rated +10
  • +6

    Supreme Court to Hear Incident to Arrest –Vehicle Case

    Supreme Court to Hear Incident to Arrest –Vehicle Case
    *Does the Fourth Amendment require the suppression of evidence obtained incident to an arrest that is based upon probable cause, where the arrest violates a provision of state law?* On September 25th (2007) the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear a case in which a person and a vehicle were searched incident to an arrest. The arrest was for operating ...
    Rated +6
  • +3

    Retention of ID During a Consensual Encounter

    The Supreme Court of Florida recently decided an important case regarding consensual encounters. In Golphinv. Florida, two police officers were on patrol in an area of Daytona Beach that is known for prostitution and narcotics traffic. The police officers were specifically in that area to conduct field interviews with individuals in that area. The officers observed a group of approximately five ...
    Rated +3
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