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    TASER® Draper v. Reynolds Review of Incidents—Recommendations for Use

    Over the past few years, the use of Tasers® (electronic restraining/compliance device) has become more common among law enforcement agencies nationwide. As the use of Tasers® becomes more prevalent, law enforcement agencies can expect claims to be made regarding their use. As with any use of force, courts will look at three factors in determining if a particular use of force ...
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    Tasered Spectator Has Potential Case of Excessive Force and Unlawful Arrest

    Following a day of watching races at the Gateway International Raceway, Christopher DeSalvo was watching guests of the Holiday Inn do “burnouts” with their vehicles in the rear lot of the hotel. Approximately 100-150 guests were gathered for the show. The gathering and the vehicle “burnouts” prompted the response of the police. Officer Krug, upon responding a second time to the ...
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    Supreme Court Update: ~ Qualified Immunity ~

    An individual officer’s greatest shield in a lawsuit that alleges a violation of civil rights is qualified immunity. A decision by the United States Supreme Court in December, further clarified the strength of this immunity. In Brosseau v.Haugen, 543 U.S.___; 2004 U.S. LEXIS 8275 (2004), the United States Supreme Court examined a case involving the use of deadly force by Officer ...
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    Supreme Court-Violation of Miranda does not Violate 5th Amendment but may Violate Due Process

    In a decision dated May 27, 2003, the United States Supreme Court held that interrogation undertaken and continued in violation of Miranda, does not give rise to a civil lawsuit based on a violation of the Fifth Amendment in cases where the police never attempt to introduce the statement in a criminal trial. Chavez v. Martinez, 538 U.S. ___, slip op. ...
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    Supreme Court: Police Have No Liability for Failing to Enforce a Restraining Order

    A question that is often raised in law enforcement is whether there is any duty to protect citizens from the harm they suffer at the hands of a third party. For example, is a witness to a crime entitled to some protection by law enforcement so that no retaliation occurs; and, if the police fail to protect the witness and the ...
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    Supreme Court Further Clarifies “Knock and Announce” Rule

    In United States v. Banks, 124 S.Ct. 521 (2003), the Supreme Court further clarified the rules regarding knocking an announcing during the execution of search warrants. The Court has decided a number of cases pertaining to this issue over the last several terms. A brief review of the cases provides guidance into this critical police task. In Wilson v. Arkansas, 514 ...
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    Student showing propensity for violence can be required to undergo psychiatric evaluation

    Demers v. Leominster School Dept., 263 F.Supp. 2d 195 (Dist. MA 2003). Michael Demers and his parents filed a federal lawsuit against school officials after he was suspended from school following his refusal to undergo a psychiatric exam. The suit alleged among other things, a violation of Michael’s due process rights. School officials sought to have Michael psychiatrically examined after he ...
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    Supervisor Liable for Failure to Provide Medical Care?

    In a case with a fact pattern similar to Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378 (1989), the United States Court of Appeal for the 6th Circuit concluded that a police supervisor was not entitled to summary judgment or qualified immunity where a woman in police custody had died. The case, Carter v. City of Detroit, 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 9717 (6th ...
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    Strip Search Filmed By Media Rendered Search Unreasonable

    A search conducted by members of the Indianapolis Police Department was found to be unreasonable and unprofessional based upon the presence and filming by a camerawoman. In Thompson v. State, an Indiana Appellate Court examined a strip search which occurred during an undercover operation. The operation, being conducted by a policewoman, was being filmed by a television camerawoman who was filming ...
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    Strip Search at Juvenile Residential Facility Reasonable

    A recent case from the United States Court of Appeal for the 6th Circuit provides an example of how a court will review a strip search by police in a juvenile residential facility. In Reynolds v. City of Anchorage, 379 F.3d 358 (6th Cir. 2004), the court considered a case involving a strip-search. The facts surrounding the search began when staff ...
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    Statute of Limitation Thwarts Sex-Abuse Claim

    A former parochial school student who was sexually abused by a teacher cannot proceed with a lawsuit because a Nebraska state statute prevents the filing of claims after a specific time period. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that, although there was enough evidence to find that T. Mark Kraft was sexually abused by teacher Arlen Meyer in the ...
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    Stop and Frisk—What do you do, what can you do?

    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 ...
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    Startled Look and Hiding Your Purse are Insufficient to Establish Reasonable Suspicion

    In S.V.J. v. State of Florida, 2005 Fla. App. LEXIS 1037 (Florida App. Ct. 2nd Dist. 2005), the Court of Appeals for Florida considered a school search case where the only facts articulated in support of the search was a startled look coupled with the appearance of trying to hide a purse. S.V.J. attended an alternative school for disruptive students. On ...
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    State Law May Impact Claims Based on Pursuits

    The law regarding the liability, under state tort claims, against an entity and public officers varies from state to state. Law enforcement officers are protected by various immunities under state laws. These immunities are not limitless shields but instead provide limited protection for officers and the agencies they work for. Many states limit the liability of officers when they are undertaking ...
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    Shooting At Non-Threatening Fleeing Vehicle May Violate 4th Amendment

    In Flores v. City of Palacios and Officer Kalina, 381 F.3d 391 (5th Cir. 2004), the United States Court of Appeal for the 5th Circuit considered a case where an officer shot at a vehicle that refused to stop upon his command. Officer Kalina was on patrol when he shined his spotlight toward a vehicle that was parked on the wrong ...
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    Seizure at Gunpoint

    Robinson v. Solano County, 278 F.3d 1007 (9th Cir. 2002) In Robinson v. Solano County, the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit had an opportunity to review whether a police officer’s pointing of a handgun at a citizen without actually pulling the trigger may violate the Fourth Amendment under some circumstances. The plaintiff in this case was James ...
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    Scary Drawings—Difficult Decisions

    “This case highlights the difficulties of school administrators charged to balance their duty to provide a safe school with the constitutional rights of individual students when violence in schools is a serious concern,” wrote a federal appellate court judge in a Louisiana case, the appeal from which, the Supreme Court recently declined to hear. At the age of fourteen, and in ...
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    Retention of ID During a Consensual Encounter

    Golphin v. Florida, No. SC03-554 (December 14, 2006) The Supreme Court of Florida recently decided an important case regarding consensual encounters. In Golphin v. 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 ...
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    Restraint of Autistic Student doesn’t Seize “Excessive Force” Standard

    A difficult issue in the school setting is use of force to control students and maintain a safe environment. This issue is more difficult when dealing with students who have disabilities that place them in special education. A recent case from Mississippi provides an example of how courts will analyze such uses of force under state law. In Pigford v. Jackson ...
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    Renewed Challenges Based on Miranda

    Over the past couple of years courts have seen a renewed number of claims based upon allegations related to violations of the 5th Amendment self-incrimination clause as well as violations of the rule announced in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). Two cases decided on June 28th 2004 provide some guidance for law enforcement agencies with respect to the reaches ...
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