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    Procedural Time Limits In Administrative Investigations - Absolutes

    When you are involved with public employee disciplinary matters and have procedural time limits imposed on your case, failing to meet those time limits will normally result in losing the ability to discipline the employee regardless what the misconduct may be. In essence these limits are essentially a statute of limitations, in other words, bring your discipline within the allotted time ...
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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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    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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    Reasonable Suspicion In School Drug Cases

    In establishing reasonable suspicion to conduct the search of a student, school officials and police officers assigned to schools should provide complete details of the facts which justified their decision to search. A case from the State of Washington provides a good example of the detail which will support such a search. State of Washington v. Huff, 2004 Wash. App. LEXIS ...
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    Civilian Review Boards and Garrity

    Civilian Review Boards and Garrity
    As civilian oversight of police has become more common-place, the issue has arisen as to whether a civilian review board can compel statements from officers. The Court of Appeals of Colorado, ruled recently that a civilian review board could not compel an officer’s statement regarding the use of excessive force.i Denver v. Powell involved two use of force incidents. In 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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    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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    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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    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 ...
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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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    When Imminent Destruction of Evidence Authorizes Warrantless Home Entry

    The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution requires that the police have a warrant to enter a suspect’s home to seize evidence. It follows that one of the principles of the Fourth Amendment is that searches and seizures inside a home without a warrant are presumed unreasonable.i However, the United States Supreme Court has carved out certain exceptions to the ...
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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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    Supreme Court Handcuffing during Warrant Execution Upheld

    On March 22, 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court re-examined the questions as to whether officers may detain occupants of a residence where they are executing a search warrant and whether handcuffing is appropriate in such circumstances. The case, Muehler v. Mena, ___U.S.___, 125 S.Ct. 1465 (2005), involved the execution of a search warrant for guns and other things following a gang-related ...
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    Reasonable Training And Policy Direction On Handling Of The Mentally Ill And Emotionally Disturbed Persons?

    In Walker v. City of New York, the United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit gave law enforcement some direction for determining what training officers must be provided with to do their jobs professionally and with lower liability exposure. Essentially the case indicated that if you know to a moral certainty that officers will confront a certain situation; and ...
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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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    Use of Deadly Force Based on Perceived Threat

    Police officers sometimes subjectively perceive suspect action as a threat and react in accord with that threat. In many of these cases, the so-called “furtive” motion turns out to be simple movement and not a threat at all. Sample v. Bailey, 337 F.Supp.2d 1012 (N.Dist. Ohio 2004) provides a good example of how courts view these cases when deciding whether an ...
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    Supreme Court Handcuffing during Warrant Execution Upheld

    On March 22, 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court re-examined the questions as to whether officers may detain occupants of a residence where they are executing a search warrant and whether handcuffing is appropriate in such circumstances. The case, Muehler v. Mena, ___U.S.___, 125 S.Ct. 1465 (2005), involved the execution of a search warrant for guns and other things following a gang-related ...
  • Rate

    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 ...
  • Rate

    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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    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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