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    Hostages and Agency Liability - Part 2

    Negotiators may also become the focal point of attack following the death of a barricaded subject. A person suing the negotiator will make the argument that the negotiator violated generally accepted practices of negotiation and that this violation created the situation which required the use of deadly force. Gammon v. Blakeley and the Euclid Police Department,i provides an example of an ...
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    Renewed Challenges Based on Miranda

    Over the past couple of years courts have seen a renewed number of claims based upon allegations related to violations of the 5th Amendment self-incrimination clause as well as violations of the rule announced in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). Two cases decided on June 28th 2004 provide some guidance for law enforcement agencies with respect to the reaches ...
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    Two Rulings Related to School Detention: (1) Detention w/o Notification & (2) Detention by SRO

    Detention w/o Notification OK In the first case, Wofford v. Evans, 390 F.3d 318, (4th Circuit 2004), school officials twice detained a 10-year old after her classmates told their teacher that the girl, M.D., had brought a gun to school. Students at Colonial Elementary School in Botetourt County, Va., reported to their teacher that they had seen M.D. in possession of ...
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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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    United States Supreme CourtSummary of Law Enforcement Cases 2004-2005 Term

    United States Supreme Court Summary of Law Enforcement Cases 2004-2005 Term Each term, the United States Supreme Court decides cases having a direct impact on various aspects of law enforcement operations. During the 2004-2005 term, the Court decided 5 such cases touching on day to day operations in law enforcement. These cases have been detailed in the legal update as they ...
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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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    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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    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 ...
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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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    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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    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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    Officers not Liable for Excessive Force in Arrest of Paraplegic

    Brant v. Volkert, 72 Fed. Appx. 463 (7th Cir. 2003). Officers are often faced with circumstances involving persons with physical disabilities. As such it is necessary to train officers for such circumstances. Mr. Brant, a paraplegic was stopped by the police while operating a three-wheeled scooter erratically and with no lights. A computer check revealed that Brant’s right to operate the ...
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    U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit and Federal Liability forEmergency Vehicle Operation

    An area where few federal lawsuits have occurred has been where a collision occurs at the result of a police officer’s emergency vehicle response to an in-progress radio call. A new case from the United States Court of Appeal for the 8th Circuit may expose public safety agencies to further liability in federal court based upon non-pursuit emergency vehicle operation. In ...
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    Hostages and the Legal Duty to Protect

    _Ewolski v. City of Brunswick_ provides an example of how decisions made by police officers and impacting the lives of hostages will be viewed by courts considering a duty to protect type claim.i The claim in Ewolski stemmed from the suicide of John Lekan and the homicide of Lekan’s son by John Lekan as a SWAT team moved in attempting to ...
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    US Supreme Court Argument - 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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    Police NOT Liable in Drowning Death of Handcuffed Escapee

    Hermann v. City of Louisville, 114 Fed. Appx. 162 (6th Cir. 2004) involved the death of Louis Hermann following his escape from police while handcuffed. Louis was arrested after being disruptive at a free outdoor concert in Louisville’s City Park, which is adjacent to the Ohio River. Louis had been acting up at the concert and was asked by an officer ...
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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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    Statute of Limitation Thwarts Sex-Abuse Claim

    A former parochial school student who was sexually abused by a teacher cannot proceed with a lawsuit because a Nebraska state statute prevents the filing of claims after a specific time period. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that, although there was enough evidence to find that T. Mark Kraft was sexually abused by teacher Arlen Meyer in the ...
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    Police NOT Liable in Drowning Death of Handcuffed Escapee

    Hermann v. City of Louisville, 114 Fed. Appx. 162 (6th Cir. 2004) involved the death of Louis Hermann following his escape from police while handcuffed. Louis was arrested after being disruptive at a free outdoor concert in Louisville’s City Park, which is adjacent to the Ohio River. Louis had been acting up at the concert and was asked by an officer ...
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    Garrity and The Administrative Interview

    The Fifth Amendment provides that no person shall be compelled to give testimony against him or herself. This right against self-incrimination is not absolute. The government has the power to compel a person’s testimony even when that testimony is incriminating. The government must however provide the person so testifying with protection that is similar to the Fifth Amendment privilege. The mechanism ...
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