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  • +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 ...
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    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 ...
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    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 ...
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    U.S. Supreme Court Violation of Knock and Announce Rule Does Not Require Exclusion of Evidence

    In Hudson v. Michigan, the United States Supreme Court considered how a violation of the knock and announce rule should impact the admissibility of evidence in a criminal prosecution. The facts in Hudson involve the execution of a search warrant by the Detroit Police Department. The police obtained a warrant to search Booker Hudson’s residence for drugs and weapons. Upon arrival ...
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    Use of Deadly Force Pre-Shooting Conduct and the 21 Foot Rule

    A circumstance that officers often face is the suicidal individual who, in essence, holds him or herself hostage. These are difficult cases. While such cases require a police response, officers sometimes are caught between a rock and hard place. Much has been written about the concept of “suicide by cop” but the fact remains that officers are often called to deal ...
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    Overview of Police Liability

    While police officers may believe that they will be exposed to liability for all of their actions, both proper and improper, the fact of the matter is that most courts have avoided second-guessing police actions and have only sanctioned the most egregious conduct. There are various levels of liability that may exist when an officer’s actions are deemed improper. The purpose ...
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    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 ...
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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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    Use of Force-Policy and Training Considerations

    The law enforcement community has been scrutinized and criticized on a regular basis for incidents involving use of force. Perhaps part of the lack of understanding on police use of force comes from the fact that most people get their perspective on police use of force from television. The reality of police use of force is that it is not the ...
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    U.S. Supreme Court: Admissibility of Out of Court Statements Made to Police

    Was Statement made during an Ongoing Emergency-in attempt to Resolve Emergency? Was Statement made after Emergency-in effort to prove Past Events for Criminal Prosecution? In Davis v. Washington and Hammon v. Indiana the United States Supreme Court decided companion cases which involved the same issue but resulted in different outcomes. The issue before the Supreme Court was whether prosecutors could use ...
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    Use of Flash-Bang May Constitute Excessive Force

    In Boyd v. Benton County; City of Corvallis et al. 374 F.3d 773 (9th Cir. 2004), the United States Court of Appeal for the 9th Circuit held that the use of a flash-bang while executing a warrant may constitute excessive force under the 4th Amendment. The court then granted the involved officers qualified immunity because the law was not clearly established ...
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    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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    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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    Positional Asphyxia

    Another aspect of pepper-spray that leads to litigation is deaths resulting from positional asphyxia. Positional asphyxia involves the improper placement of individuals who have violently resisted causing physical exertion and sometimes exacerbated by the effects of pepper-spray which inhibits breathing. Many of these cases also involve the presence of narcotics that increases a suspect’s heart rate as well as other physiological ...
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    US Supreme Ct Anticipatory Search Warrent United States v. Grubbs

    United States Supreme Court: Anticipatory Search Warrant Valid Though Triggering Event Not Included in Warrant The United States Supreme Court held that an anticipatory search warrant, that described the triggering event for execution in the affidavit, but not the warrant or the attached schedules that were given to the suspect at the residence, still met the particularity requirement of the 4th ...
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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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    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 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 ...
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    Garrity: Compulsion as the Triggering Mechanism

    Employees have Rights against Compelled, Incriminating Statements but No Right to _Garrity_ Immunity The right of government employees against self-incrimination requires compulsion as a triggering mechanism for immunity against the use/derivative use of their statements in a criminal prosecution.i As with any statement implicating the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, statements must also be incriminating and testimonial. In _Harrison_, the plaintiff, ...
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    Two Rulings Related to School Detention: (1) Detention w/o Notification & (2) Detention by SRO

    Is it unconstitutional for school officials to detain a student without notifying her parent? And is it unlawful for a school resource officer to detain a student long enough to deliver her to a school official for investigation of a school offense? Two cases that reached the appellate level in their respective jurisdictions address these questions. Detention w/o Notification OK In ...
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