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    Arrest Reasonable Despite Mistaken Identity

    Rodriguez v. Farrell, 280 F. 3d 1341 (11th Cir. 2002) Chapman v. City of Atlanta, No. 05-15505, 2006 U.S. App. LEXIS 20767 (August 14, 2006) On January 20, 2002 the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals held that, when the police have a valid warrant to arrest someone, but mistakenly arrest someone else due to a misidentification, there is no constitutional violation, ...
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    Companion with Gun May Provide Reasonable Suspicion for Pat-Down

    In Rajaee El-Amin v. Commonwealth of Virginia, 2005 Va. LEXIS 17 (2005), the Supreme Court of Virginia considered the authority of a police officer to conduct a pat-down of a subject based upon their association with a subject found to be in possession of a firearm. While the court declined to adopt an "automatic companion" rule, the court found that the ...
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    A Lack of In-Service Training May Lead to Liability

    In Lewis v. City of Chicago, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7482 (Ill. N. District 2005), a federal trial court set forth the importance of in-service training with respect to restraint and control tactics. Christopher Hicks died during the course of his arrest on May 26, 2004. His death was ruled a homicide and the cause of death was listed as asphyxiation ...
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    Persons with Disabilities

    Each and everyday, law enforcement officers throughout the United States come into contact with persons who are suffering from some disability. Some of these persons are suffering from a disability that would make them eligible for protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). i Some of these individuals would not meet the criteria for protection under the ADA but do ...
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    Witnesses: A critical element in administrative investigations

    When your law enforcement agency conducts an administrative investigation you usually have a complainant and your agency employee. Frequently, the complainant has a witness or two. Your employee often has other agency employees, such as a partner or back-up officer, supervisor and the dispatcher. Other witnesses with little or no allegiance to either the complainant or employee are commonly referred to ...
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    When Suspect is NOT in Custody, Seibert Analysis is NOT Needed

    U.S. v. Courtney, 463 F.3d 333 (5th Cir. 2006) Cherie Marie Courtney testified falsely at the trial of her boyfriend, Shawn Kilgarlin. Two EPA Special Agents conducted two interviews with Courtney. A year later she was indicted, arrested and Mirandized. She waived her rights and spoke with the Agents. She again made incriminating statements similar to her prior statements. At a ...
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    Warrantless Searches of Motor Vehicles

    Often questions arise as to whether a police officer needs a search warrant in order to search a motor vehicle. Fortunately, the Supreme Court of the United States has a fairly extensive body of law commonly called the “automobile exception” or the Carroll Doctrine which gives clear direction to police officers on this topic. However, individual states, in interpreting their state ...
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    Hidden Compartment in Motor Vehicle Can Provide Probable Cause for Search

    United States v. Concepcion-Ledesma, 447 F.3d 1307 (10th Cir. 2006) Just the Facts… On May 16, 2006 the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, in the above case, held that the presence of a hidden compartment in vehicle, taken with the totality of the circumstances, provides probable cause for a warrantless search. In this case, a Kansas State Trooper observed a group ...
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    Vehicle Checkpoints

    Over the past decade the United States Supreme Court has decided three cases dealing with law enforcement checkpoints involving car stops by police officers without individualized suspicion to believe that the operator of the vehicle had done anything wrong. In Michigan v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444 (1990), the Court approved of Sobriety Checkpoints where the police were acting pursuant to set ...
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    Use of Force-Policy and Training Considerations

    The law enforcement community has been scrutinized and criticized on a regular basis for incidents involving use of force. Perhaps part of the lack of understanding on police use of force comes from the fact that most people get their perspective on police use of force from television. The reality of police use of force is that it is not the ...
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    Use of Flash-Bang May Constitute Excessive Force

    In Boyd v. Benton County; City of Corvallis et al. 374 F.3d 773 (9th Cir. 2004), the United States Court of Appeal for the 9th Circuit held that the use of a flash-bang while executing a warrant may constitute excessive force under the 4th Amendment. The court then granted the involved officers qualified immunity because the law was not clearly established ...
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    Use of Deadly ForcePre-Shooting Events Impacting Reasonableness of Shooting

    An on-going issue in deadly force cases is how courts will review the totality of circumstances surrounding the shooting and how officer tactics and actions before the shooting may have an impact on the reasonableness of the use of deadly force. Some of the federal circuits view the “totality of circumstances” as only that moment in time where the officer pulls ...
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    Use of Deadly Force Pre-Shooting Conduct and the 21 Foot Rule

    A circumstance that officers often face is the suicidal individual who, in essence, holds him or herself hostage. These are difficult cases. While such cases require a police response, officers sometimes are caught between a rock and hard place. Much has been written about the concept of “suicide by cop” but the fact remains that officers are often called to deal ...
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    Use of Deadly Force Based on Perceived Threat

    Police officers sometimes subjectively perceive suspect action as a threat and react in accord with that threat. In many of these cases, the so-called “furtive” motion turns out to be simple movement and not a threat at all. Sample v. Bailey, 337 F.Supp.2d 1012 (N.Dist. Ohio 2004) provides a good example of how courts view these cases when deciding whether an ...
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    US Supreme Ct Anticipatory Search Warrent United States v. Grubbs

    United States Supreme Court: Anticipatory Search Warrant Valid Though Triggering Event Not Included in Warrant The United States Supreme Court held that an anticipatory search warrant, that described the triggering event for execution in the affidavit, but not the warrant or the attached schedules that were given to the suspect at the residence, still met the particularity requirement of the 4th ...
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    US Supreme Ct - Randolph v. Georgia

    Police Cannot Use the Consent of a Co-Occupant to Make Entry in Order to Search for Evidence to be used Against the Opposing Occupant who Is Present and Objects to the Entry. Georgia v. Randolph, 547 U.S. ___, slip op. 04-1067 (3/22/06). The United States Supreme Court further clarified the rules regarding consent searches in homes in Randolph v. Georgia, decided ...
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    US Supreme Court Argument - Scott v. Harris (Ramming During High Speed Pursuit)

    On Monday February 26, 2007 the United States Supreme Court heard oral argument in Scott v. Harris, a case stemming from a high-speed pursuit in Coweta County Georgia. Harris, the motorist was speeding through Coweta County which drew the attention of law enforcement. Officers attempted to stop Harris, at which point he fled at high-speed. Deputy Scott of the Coweta County ...
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    Supreme Court Handcuffing during Warrant Execution Upheld

    On March 22, 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court re-examined the questions as to whether officers may detain occupants of a residence where they are executing a search warrant and whether handcuffing is appropriate in such circumstances. The case, Muehler v. Mena, ___U.S.___, 125 S.Ct. 1465 (2005), involved the execution of a search warrant for guns and other things following a gang-related ...
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    Unreasonable Frisk May Lead to Liability

    In Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), the United States Supreme Court authorized police officers to stop and detain individuals where the officer had reasonable suspicion (some facts and circumstance but less than probable cause) to believe that the person to be stopped was involved in criminal activity. Officers were authorized to use force, short of deadly force to accomplish ...
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    United States Supreme CourtSummary of Law Enforcement Cases 2004-2005 Term

    United States Supreme Court Summary of Law Enforcement Cases 2004-2005 Term Each term, the United States Supreme Court decides cases having a direct impact on various aspects of law enforcement operations. During the 2004-2005 term, the Court decided 5 such cases touching on day to day operations in law enforcement. These cases have been detailed in the legal update as they ...
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