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    Immunity Granted Under Garrity

    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 ...
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    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 ...
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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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    Officer Safety Impacted: U.S. Supreme Court Places Restrictions on Car Searches

    Law enforcement officers throughout the United States recognize their ability to search vehicles incident to the arrest of an occupant. The foundation purpose of such searches is to prevent the subject from reaching into the vehicle for a weapon or reaching into the vehicle to destroy evidence. These searches have, for many years, been limited to the passenger compartment of the ...
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    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 ...
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    Reasonableness of Handcuffing during a valid “Terry Stop”

    Does handcuffing during a “Terry Stop” transform the stop into a full-blown arrest, which requires the officer to have probable cause rather than the lesser requirement of reasonable suspicion? A case from the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut determined that the application of handcuffs does not automatically turn an otherwise valid “Terry Stop” into a full-blown arrest. ...
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    Understanding the Attorney-Client Privilege in Criminal Investigations

    Throughout history, the United States Judiciary has generally endeavored to balance the need for enforcement of law and criminal code against the broader goals society. While the maintenance of law and order is integral to the functioning of our society, so is the maintenance of trust between members of society who share certain personally or professionally intimate relationships, such as family ...
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    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 ...
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    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 ...
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    Probable Cause and Objective Reasonableness U.S. Supreme Court

    In Devenpeck v. Alford, 543 U.S.___, 2004 U.S. LEXIS 8272 (2004), the United States Supreme Court examined a case where officers, with probable cause to arrest a subject, Jerome Alford for impersonating a police officer, instead arrested him for tape recording the officers during the investigatory stop. A previous court decision held that it was not illegal to tape police officers ...
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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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    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 ...
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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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    Police Officers may be Liable for Failure to Disclose Exculpatory Information under the Brady RuleManaging Risks

    The law with respect to a prosecutor’s duty to disclose exculpatory evidence to a defendant is very clear. The United States Supreme Court made this obligation clear in Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) and Kyles v. Whitley, 514 U.S. 419 (1995). This rule has extended to any information which may bear on the credibility of a witness and includes ...
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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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    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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    Agency Duty to Train Hostage Negotiation / Tactical Combat

    A case concerning whether an agency has an obligation to train officers with hostage negotiation or tactical combat training provides an example of the federal court’s reluctance to hold an agency liable for the lack of specialized training that exceeds the requirements of state mandates.i In Ross v. Town of Austin, the United States Court of Appeal was faced with a ...
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    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 ...
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