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    United States Supreme Court: 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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    United States Supreme Court: Anticipatory Search Warrant: United States v. Grubbs

    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 Amendment. United States v. ...
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    U.S. Supreme Court Violation of Knock and Announce Rule Does Not Require Exclusion of Evidence

    In Hudson v. Michigan, the United States Supreme Court considered how a violation of the knock and announce rule should impact the admissibility of evidence in a criminal prosecution. The facts in Hudson involve the execution of a search warrant by the Detroit Police Department. The police obtained a warrant to search Booker Hudson’s residence for drugs and weapons. Upon arrival ...
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    U.S. Supreme Court upholds canine sniffs of vehicles

    Illinois v. Caballes, 543 U.S. ___ (2005) In a 6-2 decision published Jan. 24, the Supreme Court ruled that a dog sniff conducted during a lawful traffic stop that reveals no information other than the location of an unlawful substance does not violate the Fourth Amendment. The case arose from a traffic stop made by Illinois State Trooper Daniel Gillette on ...
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    U.S. Supreme Court to Decide Privacy Interests of Passenger

    You may also find this article on the web at The United States Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral argument in April on another case impacting law enforcement operations. *1 The case concerns whether a passenger in a vehicle which has been unlawfully stopped can challenge the basis of the stop when evidence is discovered relative to the passenger. ...
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    U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Exclude Statements of Foreign Nationals where Vienna Convention is Violated

    Under Article 36 (1) (b) of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, a person who is detained by a foreign country has the right to request that the consular post of his country be notified. The article further provides that a person from another country who is detained must be informed of these rights. The impact of Article 36 on local ...
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    U.S. Supreme Court Exigent Entry at Loud Music Call

    Brigham City v. Stuart, involved a fairly typical police event. Officers from Brigham City were called at 3:00 a.m. about a loud party at a residence. Two officers approached the house and heard yelling and what sounded like a disturbance at the rear of the house. The officers documented the fact that they heard “thumping and crashing” and someone yelling “stop, ...
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    U.S. Supreme Court: Admissibility of Out of Court Statements Made to Police

    Was Statement made during an Ongoing Emergency-in attempt to Resolve Emergency? Was Statement made after Emergency-in effort to prove Past Events for Criminal Prosecution? In Davis v. Washington and Hammon v. Indiana the United States Supreme Court decided companion cases which involved the same issue but resulted in different outcomes. The issue before the Supreme Court was whether prosecutors could use ...
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    U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit and Federal Liability forEmergency Vehicle Operation

    An area where few federal lawsuits have occurred has been where a collision occurs at the result of a police officer’s emergency vehicle response to an in-progress radio call. A new case from the United States Court of Appeal for the 8th Circuit may expose public safety agencies to further liability in federal court based upon non-pursuit emergency vehicle operation. In ...
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    Two Rulings Related to School Detention: (1) Detention w/o Notification & (2) Detention by SRO

    Is it unconstitutional for school officials to detain a student without notifying her parent? And is it unlawful for a school resource officer to detain a student long enough to deliver her to a school official for investigation of a school offense? Two cases that reached the appellate level in their respective jurisdictions address these questions. Detention w/o Notification OK In ...
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    Training/Documentation “Major Lesson Plan”

    As part of the Liability and Risk Management Institute’s continued effort to further manage the risk and reduce financial losses through lawsuits, each edition of the legal update will include a major lesson plan. This major lesson plan may be used as a method to conduct and document training. How does it work? Supervisors are provided with the legal update for ...
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    Trial to Decide if 1st Grader is Fully Aware to Assume Risk Monkey Bars Claim Another Victim

    A jury should decide whether a six-year-old assumed the risk of injury when he fell off a piece of school playground equipment and was injured, the Supreme Court of New York has ruled. The plaintiff, a first-grader, was injured in October 2001 when he fell from his school’s monkey bars during recess. The pupil was one of 25-30 first-graders on the ...
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    Training Liability & Use of Deadly Force

    Any time a law enforcement officer uses deadly force, the likelihood that a lawsuit will follow is almost a certainty. Most of these lawsuits are brought in the federal courts as civil rights claims based upon the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. These actions are brought under a federal statute, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 which creates civil liability when ...
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    Training Issues With Respect to Warrant Execution

    Officers must be trained for the recurring tasks which the particular officers may face. The training a particular officer must receive will be determined by the officer’s assignment. For example, a rookie officer that is not allowed to draft search warrants would not need to be trained in the drafting of search warrants, whereas a detective that will be regularly drafting ...
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    The Subject Specific Interview Approach

    In recent years several behavioral science experts have focused their research efforts on reviewing hundreds of investigative interviews and interrogations. There have been two goals of some of these studies. One has been to determine how successful the interviewers are at accurately identifying and analyzing the behavioral signs of deception. The second has been to gain greater insight into the investigative ...
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    Totally Disabled Parent Seeks Victim Status: Court: Pluto is less remote to us than the Plaintiffs argument

    Stephen Prescott believes that parents may think twice about attending their children’s school events if the law prevents them from successfully suing the school corporation after being injured on school property. The Connecticut Supreme Court recently heard and rejected Prescott’s argument, finding that schools owed students’ parents no special duty of care. Prescott was injured after his son’s Thanksgiving 1998 football ...
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    The Shocking Truths about Lightning Deaths

    In the aftermath of a severe mid-summer thunderstorm, a rookie police officer is dispatched to the scene of a dead body. A citizen walking his dog has discovered the corpse of a young adult female in some bushes near a sidewalk. The woman appears to have been beaten and her clothing violently torn. The young officer believes he has encountered ...
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    The Need for IA/OPS Audits

    Legal and Liability Risk Management Institute Public Agency Training Council Generally law enforcement agencies have operated their IA/OPS system with little oversight. That's coming to an end. More communities, particularly those in large urban areas, are instituting some form of external review. In some communities it's a form of civilian review. Since 1997, numerous police agencies have come under the scrutiny ...
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    The Law of Citizen Contacts and Stop and Frisk

    On a daily basis police officers have contacts with citizens that are consensual and thus do not implicate the Fourth Amendment. These contacts do not require the police to have any level of suspicion to justify the contact. Since police do not justify the stop based on some level of suspicion, the police have no authority to force a non-willing citizen ...
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    Tasers® and the Use of Force

    One of the more significant current issues in law enforcement’s use of force is the Taser® and its use. While many of the criticisms are focusing on cases where an officer uses a Taser® and the subject later dies, the more prominent cases are those where officers mistake their firearm for their Taser® and end up shooting the subject. Training from ...
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