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  • +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
  • +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 ...
    Rated +10
  • +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
  • +9

    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 ...
    Rated +9
  • +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
  • +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
  • +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
  • +3

    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 ...
    Rated +3
  • +3

    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 ...
    Rated +3
  • +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 ...
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  • +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 ...
    Rated +2
  • +2

    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, ...
    Rated +2
  • +1

    Qualified Immunity in Use of Force CasesUnited States Supreme Court

    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 ...
    Rated +1
  • +1

    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 ...
    Rated +1
  • +1

    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 ...
    Rated +1
  • +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 ...
    Rated +1
  • +1

    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 ...
    Rated +1
  • +1

    Immigration and Nationality Act

    The Immigration and Nationality Act, or INA, was created in 1952. Before the INA, a variety of statutes governed immigration law but were not organized in one location. The McCarran-Walter bill of 1952, Public Law No. 82-414, collected and codified many existing provisions and reorganized the structure of immigration law. The Act has been amended many times over the years, but ...
    Rated +1
  • +1

    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 ...
    Rated +1
  • +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 ...
    Rated +1
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