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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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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-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 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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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 his ...
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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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    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 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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    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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