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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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    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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    United States Supreme Court: Anticipatory Search Warrant: United States v. Grubbs

    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 Amendment. United States v. ...
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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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    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 his ...
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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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    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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    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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    Retention of ID During a Consensual Encounter

    Golphin v. Florida, No. SC03-554 (December 14, 2006) The Supreme Court of Florida recently decided an important case regarding consensual encounters. In Golphin v. 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 ...
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    Unreasonable Frisk May Lead to Liability

    In Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), the United States Supreme Court authorized police officers to stop and detain individuals where the officer had reasonable suspicion (some facts and circumstance but less than probable cause) to believe that the person to be stopped was involved in criminal activity. Officers were authorized to use force, short of deadly force to accomplish ...
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    Scary Drawings—Difficult Decisions Scary Drawings—Difficult Decisions

    “This case highlights the difficulties of school administrators charged to balance their duty to provide a safe school with the constitutional rights of individual students when violence in schools is a serious concern,” wrote a federal appellate court judge in a Louisiana case, the appeal from which, the Supreme Court recently declined to hear. At the age of fourteen, and in ...
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    Supreme Court Update: ~ Qualified Immunity ~

    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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    Totally Disabled Parent Seeks Victim Status: Court: Pluto is less remote to us than the Plaintiffs argument

    Stephen Prescott believes that parents may think twice about attending their children’s school events if the law prevents them from successfully suing the school corporation after being injured on school property. The Connecticut Supreme Court recently heard and rejected Prescott’s argument, finding that schools owed students’ parents no special duty of care. Prescott was injured after his son’s Thanksgiving 1998 football ...
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    Training/Documentation “Major Lesson Plan”

    As part of the Liability and Risk Management Institute’s continued effort to further manage the risk and reduce financial losses through lawsuits, each edition of the legal update will include a major lesson plan. This major lesson plan may be used as a method to conduct and document training. How does it work? Supervisors are provided with the legal update for ...
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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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    U.S. Supreme Court upholds canine sniffs of vehicles

    Illinois v. Caballes, 543 U.S. ___ (2005) In a 6-2 decision published Jan. 24, the Supreme Court ruled that a dog sniff conducted during a lawful traffic stop that reveals no information other than the location of an unlawful substance does not violate the Fourth Amendment. The case arose from a traffic stop made by Illinois State Trooper Daniel Gillette on ...
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    U.S. Supreme Court upholds canine sniffs of vehicles

    Illinois v. Caballes, 543 U.S. ___ (2005) In a 6-2 decision published Jan. 24, the Supreme Court ruled that a dog sniff conducted during a lawful traffic stop that reveals no information other than the location of an unlawful substance does not violate the Fourth Amendment. The case arose from a traffic stop made by Illinois State Trooper Daniel Gillette on ...
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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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    United States Supreme Court: Anticipatory Search Warrant: United States v. Grubbs

    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 Amendment. United States v. ...
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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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