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A Civil Liability Law Publication
for Law Enforcement

ISSN 0271-5481

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2003 LR June (web edit.)

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Featured Cases - With Links

Defenses: Qualified Immunity
False Arrest/Imprisonment: No Warrant
False Arrest/Imprisonment: Warrant
Firearms Related: Intentional Use
First Amendment
Public Protection: Arrestees
Public Protection: Crime Victims
Pursuits: Law Enforcement
Racial Discrimination
Search and Seizure: Home/Business
Search and Seizure: Person

Noted in Brief -(With Some Links)

Administrative Liability: Training
Assault and Battery: Chemical
Assault and Battery: Physical
Defenses: Qualified Immunity
Defenses: Statute of Limitations (2 cases)
False Arrest/Imprisonment: No Warrant (4 cases)
False Arrest/Imprisonment: Warrant (2 cases)
Firearms Related: Intentional Use (2 cases)
Freedom of Information
Governmental Liability: Policy/Custom
Police Plaintiff: Vehicle Related
Procedural: Amendment of Complaint
Racial Discrimination
Search and Seizure: Home/Business (2 cases)
Search and Seizure: Person (2 cases)
Search and Seizure: Vehicle


Cross References

Featured Cases -- With Links

Defenses: Qualified Immunity

UPDATE: While officers' investigatory stop of a man standing on his own porch based solely on a tip from an anonymous source violated the suspect's Fourth Amendment rights, the officers were still entitled to qualified immunity because the dispatcher had told them that the man could be intoxicated and armed, which the officers could reasonably rely on without knowing the source of the information. The officers acted properly in preventing him from retreating inside the home, which would have interfered with their investigation, and in arresting him once he resisted and bit an officer.

     As previously reported, a federal trial court ruled that officers were not entitled to qualified immunity for making a Terry v. Ohio investigatory stop and subsequent arrest of a man standing on his own porch based solely on a tip from an anonymous source that the officers knew nothing about, after receiving a phone call which gave no clear evidence of any illegal activity. Feathers v. Aey, 196 F. Supp. 2d 530 (N.D. Ohio 2002), reported in Liability Reporter (October 2002). A federal appeals court has now overturned that ruling.

      While the appeals court agreed with the trial court's reasoning that the investigatory stop violated the man's Fourth Amendment rights, since the anonymous call did not provide any basis for reasonable suspicion to support an investigatory stop, it found that the officers were nevertheless entitled to qualified immunity. They only knew what the dispatcher had told them, and this included the dispatcher's statement that the suspect could be intoxicated and armed.

     The officers on the scene were entitled to reasonably rely on this information from the dispatcher and did not know the source of the information, or that it was possibly not reliable. Accordingly, they had qualified immunity for initiating the investigatory stop.

     Once they did so, they also acted reasonably in attempting to prevent the man from retreating back inside his house, which would have prevented them from carrying out their investigation. They only arrested him after he resisted these efforts and bit one of the officers, providing them with probable cause for the arrest.

     Feathers v. Aey, No. 02-3368, 319 F.3d 843 (6th Cir. 2003).

    »Click here to read the decision on the Internet.

     •Return to the Contents menu.

False Arrest/Imprisonment: No Warrant

City was not entitled to summary judgment on false arrest claim made by methadone clinic counselor seen handing a paper bag to a person outside who was subsequently found in possession of methadone bottle with someone else's name on it as well as heroin. Evidence submitted did not clearly show knowledge of prior drug activity in the area or whether the counselor was arrested before or after the drugs were found on the other person.

     An undercover officer conducting surveillance in the area of a methadone maintenance clinic in New York observed a counselor exit the clinic and walk over to a second man. After a brief discussion, the counselor returned to the clinic and emerged five minutes later with a brown paper bag, which he handed to the second man. Both men then left, walking in opposite directions.

     A short distance away, the second man removed an item from the bag, placed the item in his pocket, and discarded the bag. He was then arrested and two bottles of methadone were found in his possession--one of which had someone else's name on it--along with a glassine of heroin. In the meantime, other officers stopped the counselor and arrested him. The counselor protested that he was a licensed drug counselor at the clinic and that the bag he had given the second man contained only a "bleach kit" that he was authorized to distribute. He was released later, with no criminal charges, based on a prosecutor's determination that there was an insufficient "nexus between the drugs" found on the second man "and this defendant."

     The counselor sued the city, alleging false arrest and violation of civil rights. The trial court granted summary judgment for the city and arresting officers, finding that there was probable cause for the arrest. A federal appeals court reversed, finding that there were genuine issues of material facts as to what the officers knew at the time of the arrest of the counselor which prevented summary judgment.

     Prior to that time, the officers knew nothing about the counselor or his relation to the second man, had observed no drugs in the possession of either of them, had seen no money pass or any other exchange of consideration, and had overheard no incriminating conversation between them. The mere fact that the counselor had gone back into the clinic and had returned which a paper bag that he gave to the second man, who in turn, out of the counselor's presence, discarded part of the contents and kept an item, "might be sufficiently suspicious to warrant questioning" the counselor, but "it can hardly be said to constitute probable cause to believe" that he had committed a crime, warranting his immediate arrest.

     While the trial court placed some emphasis on the claim that there had been prior "reports of drug activity in the area" which gave a context to what the police observed, the appeals court found no support for this assertion. First, the trial court did not cite to any evidence submitted by the defendants, but only to their memorandum of law, which was not evidence at all, but argument. Additionally, the only evidence submitted in support of the statement was the undercover agent's statement that "over the course of his entire career" he had conducted dozens of observations in the vicinity of the methadone clinic--not that he had done so in the time period immediately preceding the incident at issue.

     "More importantly, the mere fact--more or less to be expected--that narcotics police keep an eye on a local methadone clinic adds nothing material to the determination of probable cause in a given, individual case," the appeals court reasoned. The appeals court also found that the record did not make it clear whether the officers arrested the counselor before or after they found the drugs on the second man to whom he had passed the paper bag. No evidence had been submitted by the defendants which made the sequence of these arrests clear.

     The appeals court, by a 2-1 majority, ruled that it followed that the record did not support the trial court's determination that the defendants were entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law, either on the basis of a finding of probable cause or on the basis of qualified immunity.

     Giannullo v. City of New York, No. 02-7357, 322 F.3d 139 (2nd Cir. 2003).

     »Click here to read the decision on the Internet.

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False Arrest/Imprisonment: Warrant

Police detective reasonably relied on complainant's information in submitting applications for arrest warrants for charging man with attempted residential entry and rape, despite inconsistencies in her story and suspect's protestations of innocence. Statements of another detective to the press essentially repeating this information could not be the basis, under Indiana state law, for a defamation claim, as they were not made with knowing falsity or in reckless disregard of the truth.

     A man who operated a window cleaning service was offered work cleaning up construction debris from windows at newly built homes. The woman who offered him the work, however, fired him almost immediately, claiming that he had harassed her sexually. She subsequently made a 911 call reporting a man attempting to force his way into her home by pounding on the door and yelling her name, and the description she gave of the man matched that of the man she had recently fired. When police questioned him, he claimed to be innocent and to have been at home.

     The complainant subsequently identified his voice as that of the man who had attempted to enter her home, after hearing tape recordings of his voice and that of five other men as part of a "voice line up" police conducted. He was arrested on a warrant and subsequently released on bond.

     The woman subsequently called 911 again to report that she had just been physically assaulted in her home.

     While her assailant wore a black ski mask, she later indicated that she felt confident that he was the same man she had fired. During a polygraph examination, the examiner concluded that the victim was being truthful when she said that she had been attacked by "someone unknown to her" but also telling the truth when she declared that she knew who had attacked her. The examiner concluded that the victim was being deceptive when she asserted that she had reported the truth to the police concerning the attack. When confronted with this, she became "distraught" and revealed for the first time that she had not just been assaulted, but raped. She claimed that she was not forthcoming before about the rape because she was afraid that her husband would stop loving her.

     Based on all this information, the investigating detective asked the county prosecutor to charge the man with rape. The detective testified at a hearing, and mentioned the problems with the polygraph. The judge issued a warrant to arrest the suspect for rape.

     After the arrest, additional polygraph exams of both the complainant and the arrestee caused the prosecutor to doubt the complainant's story and the rape charge was dismissed. Shortly thereafter, the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the attempted residential entry charge in exchange for the arrestee completing a six-month term of supervision.

     The arrestee filed a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging that misleading or false information had been submitted to the courts to obtain the arrest warrants against him, and also claimed that another detective had made defamatory remarks to the press which had resulted in the publication of defamatory articles concerning him.

     Rejecting these claims, a federal appeals court upheld summary judgment for the defendants, finding that the information that the detective had submitted to the court to obtain both arrest warrants had been sufficient to support probable cause. There was no showing that he entertained serious doubts as to the truth of his statements, and the complaint of a single witness or crime victim is generally sufficient to establish probable cause unless something about the complaint would lead a reasonable officer to be suspicious, imposing a duty to investigate further.

     The mere fact that the detective did not thoroughly investigate the arrestee's purported alibi concerning the night of the attempted forced entry into the woman's home did not alter the result. Mere protestations of innocence are not unusual and a suspect's denial of guilt is not usually enough to trigger a duty to investigate in the face of a reasonably believable complainant.

     The mere fact that there were inconsistencies in the complainant's story concerning the rape was also not enough to defeat the existence of probable cause for the rape arrest. The complainant's hesitation in initially reporting the incident as a rape was also something that could be "consistent with that of a person who was raped. Recognized symptoms of rape trauma syndrome [...] include not immediately reporting the rape or telling anyone of the assault and the inability to form clear and vivid memories of the event," the court stated, citing a number of studies. It therefore would be reasonable for an officer in the detective's position to not place great emphasis on the victim's failure to promptly report a rape.

     "It is not the function of the police to establish guilt; the responsibility of sorting out conflicting testimony and assessing the credibility of putative victims and witnesses lies with the courts," the appeals court stated.

     As for the alleged defamatory remarks to the press, the appeals court noted that they basically consisted of the same information that the police had which was used to obtain the arrest warrants, and that there was no indication that the detective making them had any doubts about their truth at the time. Under Indiana state law, there can be no liability for defamation on matters of public concern, which crimes are, in the absence of "actual malice" in making the statements--which means knowing falsity or reckless disregard of the truth, neither of which was shown to be present here.

     Beauchamp v. City of Noblesville, Indiana, No. 02-2568, 320 F.3d 733 (7th Cir. 2003).

     »Click here to read the decision on the Internet. [PDF]

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Firearms Related: Intentional Use


Sheriff and SWAT team members were not entitled to qualified immunity for death of man shot and killed in his home after he resisted being taken into custody for a psychiatric evaluation. If plaintiff's factual allegations were true, and decedent was in the process of surrendering when he was shot and killed, use of deadly force against him was clearly excessive. Warrantless entry into the home when the man had "not committed" any crimes and there was no immediate need to subdue him was "reckless" and an excessive use of force.

     After his neighbors had complained about a man's odd behavior, a sergeant with the county sheriff's office concluded, after a "brief interaction" with the man at his home, that he should be taken into custody for an involuntary psychiatric evaluation. Without informing the man of this decision, and without attempting to get a warrant, the sergeant asked a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team to help him detain the main. The SWAT team surrounded the man's home for four hours, and eventually lured him to a window and sprayed him in the face with pepper gas.

     At the same time, five officers armed with shotguns and submachine guns knocked down his door and entered the house. The man then fired two shots from a rifle out the window and the SWAT team retreated from the house, then fired three rounds of tear gas and threw a flashbang into the house. The officers then re-entered and the man dropped his guns in sight of the officers, drew out a knife, and began walking towards them. As he walked towards them with the knife, one of the officers fired four rounds of wooden "less-than-lethal" munitions at him, and three other officers fired 18 times at him with standard ammunition, fatally wounding him.

     The decedent's surviving family sued the county sheriff and individual members of the SWAT team for alleged excessive use of force and unlawful warrantless entry into the home. Among other arguments, they claimed that the decedent had been in the process of surrendering to the officers when he was shot and killed. The trial court denied qualified immunity to the sheriff and officers on the excessive force claim, while granting it on the warrantless entry claim, and ruling that the county and its sheriff in his official capacity were immune from liability under the Eleventh Amendment.

     Upholding the denial of qualified immunity on the excessive force claims, a federal appeals court found that the alleged "reckless entry" into the home with a SWAT team constituted excessive force under the Fourth Amendment.

     The appeals court found that the law on excessive force was clearly established by April 21, 1998, the day the decedent was shot and killed.

     If all factual disputes were resolved in favor of the plaintiffs--including their claim that the decedent was in the process of surrendering when he was shot and killed, then "a reasonable officer should have known that shooting Federman when he was surrendering violated his rights." The deadly force was being used against him following a "surprise siege of his home" by the SWAT team, after he had committed no crimes. He had not threatened the SWAT team until he was sprayed in the face with pepper gas, had not attempted to flee his home, "and had not threatened any bystanders." Under these circumstances, "there was no immediate need to subdue him," and any reasonable officer "should have known that a fatal shooting was excessive."

     The appeals court found that it did not have jurisdiction to reach the issue of whether the county and sheriff in his official capacity were entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity, for procedural reasons.

     Federman v. County of Kern, No. 01-16691, 2003 U.S. App. Lexis 7180 (9th Cir.).

     »Click here to read the decision on the AELE website.

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First Amendment

Florida statutes under which protesters at Disney World were threatened with arrest if they did not disperse were unconstitutional under the First Amendment because they were not "content neutral," prohibiting retarding of traffic except for purposes of charitable solicitation or political campaigning, or offering literature to the occupant of a car even if there was no effect on traffic or safety.

     Religious activists gathered in Florida near Disney World at a heavily trafficked highway intersection for a demonstration to protest the Disney company's alleged support of homosexuality. They carried signs and distributed handbills expressing their criticisms of Disney policy. In response, county sheriff's deputies arrested three of the protesters, charging them with violating Florida Statutes Sec. 316.2045(2) (obstructing traffic without a permit) and Sec. 316.2055 (throwing advertising material into vehicles). Two other protesters present were not arrested, but were threatened with arrest under these statutes if they did not disperse. The two demonstrators filed a federal civil rights lawsuit, arguing that the statutes in question were unconstitutional under the First Amendment, both on their face and as applied in this instance.

     The court found that the two plaintiffs had standing to bring their challenge to the statutes, even though they were not arrested.

     It further found that Sec. 316.2045(2) prohibiting the obstruction of public streets and highways was violative of the First Amendment on its face, as it was not "content-neutral," but rather "content-based," as well as vague. Because there were exemptions in the statute for activities by registered charities and political campaigners, allowing them to engage in their activities even if traffic was therefore retarded, the statute impermissibly allowed some people to engage in the targeted behavior, simply on the basis of the content of their message.

     If the purpose behind this contested statute was to ensure public safety on roads, "which is a compelling government interest," the statute was not "narrowly tailored to meet that compelling interest," the court stated, since there was no relationship between the distinction between charitable and non-charitable expression, or between "political" and "non-political" expression and traffic safety.

     Additionally, the permit requirement served as a "prior restraint" on expressive activities, and there was no showing that there were adequate procedural safeguards in place to prevent the "undue suppression of speech" through permit denials on the basis of content, particularly as there were no stated time constraints on the granting or denial of a license, no indication of any limits on the discretion to deny a permit, and no clear provision for prompt judicial review of the denial of a permit.

     And, while Sec. 316.2055 was not "content-based, prohibiting throwing any "advertising or soliciting materials" into a motor vehicle, or offering it to any occupant of any motor vehicle, the court noted that it applied whether the vehicle was "standing or moving." It therefore was overbroad, making it unlawful, for instance, for a pedestrian on a sidewalk to hand an advertising leaflet to a willing recipient in a car that has stopped in a metered space or in a private driveway, even though "such conduct has no effect on traffic or safety." It makes it unlawful for someone to hand "soliciting materials" to passengers in cars that have stopped at a light, and does not require the retarding of traffic.

     The court also found that the statute was impermissibly vague, as it did not define "advertising or soliciting materials," and therefore did not provide sufficient warning as to what conduct was prohibited.

     Bischoff v. Florida, 242 F. Supp. 2d 1226 (M.D. Fla. 2003).

     »Click here to read the decision on the AELE website.

     •Return to the Contents menu.



Officers could detain employees of business while executing a search warrant on the premises to find evidence of alleged fraudulent practices, but they could not require them to submit to custodial interrogation as a condition of release.

     A federal appeals court, upholding the denial of qualified immunity to defendant officers, ruled that they violated the clearly established Fourth Amendment rights of employees of a business which was being searched, under a search warrant, for evidence of fraudulent business practices, by detaining them incommunicado without probable cause during the search and using the threat of continued detention to allegedly coerce them to submit to custodial interrogations.

     The appeals court agreed that the officers were entitled to detain the employees of the business in a waiting room while they were executing the search warrant, but found that they went too far in appearing to condition their release on their submission to questioning. "Although officers are entitled to act vigorously to gain information and to prevent the flight of the culpable, our Constitution requires that officers heed employees' rights in the process," the court stated.

     While the search warrant was being executed on the hearing aid business, the employees were corralled into a waiting room, and told that they were not under arrest, but that they would be held in the room until they submitted to individual interviews with police investigators in a back room. The officers allegedly prevented the employees from leaving the room, from going to the restroom unattended, from retrieving their personal possessions, from making telephone calls, and from answering the office telephone when it rang.

     The detentions of the individual employees "in this severely restrained status" lasted for time periods ranging from one hour and forty-five minutes to four hours and forty-five minutes, and the employees were allegedly released only after they submitted to tape-recorded interrogations. When one of the employees declined to make a statement after she was brought to the back room, she was detained for another two and a half hours in the waiting room, and then brought back to the back room for a second round of questioning. She then submitted to the questioning, concluding that she would not be released until she made a statement.

     The officers also initially detained four children of the employees who were present, ranging in age from seven to twelve years old, and refused to allow the employees to call their spouses to retrieve the children. The children were allowed to leave after forty-five minutes with the adult daughter of one of the employees.

     The appeals court noted that the employees, who filed a federal civil rights lawsuit over their treatment, claimed that none of them had any knowledge of their employer's allegedly fraudulent trade and business practices and that most of them had worked there for less than two months.

     The appeals court ruled that the coerced submission to the interrogations violated the employees' clearly established Fourth Amendment rights. The detention of the employees was justified for purposes of preventing flight in case the search found incriminating evidence, of minimizing the risk of harm to the officers, and to further the orderly completion of the search. But the use of the detention to coerce submission to the interrogations did not serve these purposes and was "more intrusive than necessary," rendering it unlawful.

     The court also found that preventing the employees from making phone calls for an extended time (as opposed to briefly) during the detention did not further the legitimate needs of controlling the premises during the search or any other legitimate law enforcement interest.

     The appeals court also rejected the officers' argument that the children had not been "seized" for purposes of the Fourth Amendment. Under the circumstances, the court found, a reasonable person of any age would believe that he or she was not free to leave and therefore a "seizure occurred" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.

     Ganwich v. Knapp, No. 01-35677, 319 F.3d 1115 (9th Cir. 2003).

     »Click here to read the decision on the Internet. [PDF]

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Public Protection: Arrestees

Officers were not responsible for intoxicated arrestee's death from drowning while trying to escape on the basis of their own failure to rescue him or their alleged prevention of bystanders' rescue efforts. Officers were entitled to qualified immunity, as no reasonable officer could believe that these actions violated the arrestee's clearly established rights.

     Police officers arrested an intoxicated man during a free concert in the park for his intoxicated state and for "causing problems," including refusal to leave when asked to do so. He was handcuffed and remained standing while one of the officers filled out some paperwork. He suddenly "bolted" for a nearby river while the officers chased him, and jumped into the water, immediately disappearing into it and not resurfacing.

     The water was approximately ten feet deep and muddy and dark, with debris present. There were also ropes, life preservers and boats nearby which allegedly could have been used in a rescue attempt. One of the officers radioed the police dispatcher to send EMS and Fire & Rescue's diving team.

     Two of the officers present did not consider themselves good swimmers, and a third officer, who initially took off his jacket to prepare to jump into the water, reconsidered and decided that doing so would have been "foolish and dangerous." Another concert attendee allegedly volunteered to make a rescue attempt, telling the officers he had water rescue experience, but one of the officers allegedly prevented him from making the attempt. He later claimed that one of the officers said to another, "Don't bother, it's just another felon out of the way."

     When the EMS and Fire & Rescue diving team arrived 15 to 20 minutes after the incident, they retrieved the arrestee's body from the river and he was pronounced dead. The arrestee's estate sued, claiming that the officers unconstitutionally interfered with private rescue activities in violation of his due process rights, and that the officers themselves should have attempted to rescue him.

     Granting summary judgment in favor of the defendant officers, the trial court found that there is no clearly established constitutional due process right for an escaping arrestee to be rescued under these circumstances, although "this is one of those cases in which one could legitimately debate how the officers should have best responded to these emergency circumstances."

     The court reasoned that the manner in which the officers had restrained the arrestee had not exposed him to any particular harm, so that could not be the basis for the finding of a "special relationship" imposing a duty of protection, nor did they do anything to place him in greater danger. It was the arrestee's own "unexpected attempted escape and dash into the Ohio River" which created the "circumstances of his death."

     The court also found no violation of the arrestee's rights by the officers' alleged interference with private rescue attempts. "It is easy to think of sound public safety reasons for the officers to prevent even more tragedy by preventing rescues until training personnel arrived. Moreover, the court finds some authority that police have a right to stop unqualified persons from attempting dangerous rescues," citing Franklin v. City of Boise, 806 F. Supp. 879 (D. Idaho 1992) and Andrews v. Wilkins, 934 F.22d 1267 (D.C. Cir. 1991).

     Hermann v. Cook, 240 F. Supp. 2d 626 (W.D. Ky. 2003).

     »Click here to read the decision on the AELE website.

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Public Protection: Crime Victims


Police officers who declined to enter an apartment when responding to a neighbor's 911 call reporting that a woman inside had screamed were not "deliberately indifferent" to the rights of the woman resident who was raped and murdered. The officers heard nothing from inside during their investigation and made a good faith decision not to attempt to enter.

     A woman was raped and murdered in her second floor apartment in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 7, 1998 in the early morning hours. Her estate and surviving parents sued the city and two officers who responded to a 911 call from one of the victim's neighbors on the night of her murder. The call reported that neighbors had heard noses from inside the apartment at approximately 1 a.m. that made them thing there was a "serious domestic dispute" inside, and that an hour later, one of them, who subsequently made the call, heard "a scream and a choking noise" coming from the apartment, and received no responses to his knocks on the apartment door.

     Two officers dispatched to the scene questioned various neighbors and found that most of them had heard no scream, aside from the neighbor who made the call. Upon questioning, even he expressed "some uncertainty" about what he heard, allegedly stating that he believed the noise came from inside the apartment, but that it could possibly have come from outside.

     The officers found no signs of forced entry into the apartment and knocked on the apartment door at time different times, identifying themselves as police, and asking to be admitted, but heard no response from inside. The neighbor who had called allegedly made some statement to the effect that he would be "embarrassed" if the officers forced the door and found nothing wrong inside. The officers subsequently left, telling the neighbors to call 911 again if they heard anything further.

     The woman was subsequently discovered to have been raped and murdered, but the officers later stated that they had not believed that there was anyone in jeopardy inside the apartment. The lawsuit alleged that the officers had violated the crime victim's due process rights by failing to enter in order to try to protect her.

     The trial court denied the officer's qualified immunity, ruling that reasonable officers would have known that their conduct did not conform to due process requirements. “Reasonable officers would have known that their decision not to force the door and to tell neighbors to do nothing but call 911 again if they heard further noise did not conform to constitutional standards.”

     Reversing, a federal appeals court found that the officers' actions were insufficient to support a finding of deliberate indifference to the crime victim's rights, or that their conduct "shocks the conscience."

     The results of the officers' investigation, the court reasoned, was consistent with three possible situations: 1) the neighbor was mistaken about the scream or its source and the woman was not home, 2) the neighbor was mistaken about the scream or its source and the woman was at home and did not wish to be disturbed, or 3) that the neighbor was correct about the scream and its source and the woman inside was at home and the victim of violence.

     Given the absence of any sign of force entry, the appeals court reasoned, and the fact that no other neighbors heard the scream, the officers had to make a decision which turned on the reliability of the calling neighbor's report. The officers made a "good faith judgment required by their official responsibilities" on the basis of what they then knew. The appeals court found that there was no due process violation.

     The appeals court also rejected the argument that, by telling the neighbors to do nothing more than call 911 again if they heard anything else coming from the apartment, the officers interfered with the neighbors possibly taking other actions to rescue the murder victim. Since the officers had reasonably concluded that there was no basis for their own official forced entry, they would necessarily also believe that there was not then a basis for a private forced entry, so their advice to the neighbors did not constitute placing the crime victim in additional danger.

     The court's decision was made by a 2-1 majority, with one judge filing a strong dissent.

     Schieber v. City of Philadelphia, No. 01-2312, 320 F.3d 409 (3rd Cir. 2003).

     »Click here to read the decision on the Internet. [PDF]

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Pursuits: Law Enforcement

Mississippi Supreme Court upholds finding of liability of city for death of bystander killed when her vehicle was hit by a car driven by a check forgery suspect who was fleeing from police pursuit through a residential neighborhood. Court rules that officers acted in reckless disregard for the safety of others in conducting the pursuit, and were therefore not entitled to governmental immunity when they did not know whether the pursued suspect had committed a felony or a misdemeanor, violating the department's own order concerning the beginning of pursuits.

     A woman attempted to evade arrest by police officers after she allegedly attempted to pass a forged check at a bank. A pursuit began and lasted approximately 40-60 seconds. At the end of that time, the pursued vehicle crashed into the side of another woman's vehicle at an intersection, and the driver of that car subsequently died from injuries suffered in the collision.

     The decedent's estate sued the city under the Mississippi Tort Claims Act, Miss. Code. Sec. 11-46-1 to 23, seeking damages for wrongful death. After a bench trial, the judge found that the officers had acted with "reckless disregard" in conducting the pursuit, and allocated 50% liability to the pursued offender and 50% liability to the city. An award of $1 million in damages was also entered, with the award against the city reduced to $250,000 or the limits of the city's liability insurance, whichever was greater.

     This result has been upheld by the Mississippi Supreme Court. The court rejected the argument that the defendant city was entitled to governmental immunity under Sec. 11-46-9(1)(c) of the Mississippi Tort Claims Act, noting that such immunity does not apply when a governmental employee acts in "reckless disregard of the safety and well-being of any person not engaged in criminal activity at the time of the injury."

     While it was true that the officers responding to the 911 emergency call had their blue lights and sirens activated, the court focused on the fact that the pursuit was allegedly against the police department's own order on pursuit, and that the officers did not terminate the pursuit after it turned onto a residential street and near an elementary school, and it was clear that the suspect would not stop. Additionally, the officers allegedly did not attempt to obtain the license plate number of the vehicle pursued, which allegedly would have "eliminated the need for continued pursuit," and failed to "properly balance the public's safety versus immediate apprehension of a check forger."

     The police department's own general order 600-20 on pursuit requires that a pursuit only be initiated when the officer "knows that a felony has been committed and the officer has probable cause to believe that the individual who committed the felony and the suspect's escape is more dangerous to the community than the risk posed by the pursuit."

     In this case, the court noted, the pursuing officers did not know whether the alleged check forger had committed a felony or a misdemeanor. Under all these circumstances, the officers could properly be found to have acted in "reckless disregard" of the safety of the public, and there was no entitlement to immunity under the statute.

     City of Jackson v. Brister, No. 2001-CA-01393-SCT, 838 So. 2d 274 (Miss. 2003).

     »Click here to read the decision on the Internet. [PDF]

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Racial Discrimination

African-American mother and her friends stated a viable claim for racial discrimination based on allegation that a police officer, who she asked be sent to the scene after her children and herself faced racial harassment and assault by white neighbor's children and neighbor, only spoke to white residents when he arrived there, and then arrested three African-Americans, allegedly for complaining that they were being ignored.

     Two African-American women living in an apartment building with their three young daughters were visited by a cousin who brought along her four young children. That afternoon, the older children of a white neighbor allegedly began taunting the African-American children who were playing in the common area of the apartment complex, calling them "niggers," stating that their parents were "gay," and spraying perfumed water in their faces. One of the African-American women went to the white neighbor's apartment to complain, but the neighbor allegedly closed the door on her foot, trapping her shoe in the door.

     She left and called the police, asking that an officer be sent to the scene, and that she would be waiting for him out front, but she did not give her name. Once she went outside, there was a group of ten to fifteen white people outside "screaming and yelling." The officer arriving on the scene only knew where he was to go and that he was investigating a "threatening-type complaint."

     The officer allegedly proceeded to speak to a white male who flagged him down, believing that this was the complainant, and indeed, this man stated that he had called the police. He told the officer that he had seen a black female entering and exiting a residence and that she was in "a rage" and had picked up a child's scooter and thrown it on the ground. He claimed that he feared for the safety of the children in the area as a result. The African-American woman who had called the police, as well as other African-Americans then present, allegedly persistently attempted to tell the officer that they were the complainants, but he allegedly refused to talk to them, and placed the white male in his vehicle to speak to him without interruption.

     The officer then went into the white neighbor's apartment and spoke to her. When he came outside again, African-American persons were allegedly shouting, and complaining that he was not talking to them or listening to their side of the incident because they were black. He allegedly told one of the women that if she said another word she was going to jail.

     While the officer's version of the incident differs from that of the African-Americans as to whether he used profanity and/or racial slurs, it was undisputed that ultimately he arrested three African-American women, the one who had placed the complaining phone call and two of her friends. The arrestees sued the officer, alleging a violation of equal protection of the law on the basis of racial discrimination. They also claimed that he ignored verbal threats to them and/or other African-Americans present made by white residents and used excessive force against them, as well as uttering racial slurs.

     Denying the officer's motion for summary judgment, the trial court found that the plaintiffs, if the facts they alleged were true, had stated a viable claim for racial discrimination under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1981 and 1983 and the Fourteenth Amendment. They essentially claimed that the officer deliberately ignored African-American participants in the interracial dispute while interviewing only white persons present, and verbally and physically abused the plaintiffs on the basis of their race, eventually arresting them. The court also found no basis for the officer's argument that he was entitled to qualified immunity, assuming that the facts were as the plaintiffs alleged.

     Hardy v. Emery, 241 F. Supp. 2d 38 (D. Maine. 2003).

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Search and Seizure: Home/Business

Officers could properly enter an apartment in order to complete an investigatory stop of an individual who fled inside, and did not use excessive force in stopping his relatives from preventing them from removing him from the apartment to complete his questioning.

     After an argument between two family members in the parking lot behind an apartment building became "heated," neighbors called 911 and two police officers arrived on the scene to investigate the reported domestic disturbance. Other family members present told the officers that the argument was a "family matter," and that there was "no problem," but the officers advised them that they needed to interview the two parties involved in order to determine what had happened.

     The woman involved admitted that there had been an "argument" between her and the father of her child, but denied that he had physically assaulted her, while stating that he had done so in the past. The father allegedly disobeyed orders from an officer to stand by and entered the apartment through the back door. The officers repeatedly asked him to come out of the apartment so that they could question him, but he refused to do so. One of them entered the apartment and grabbed him by the arm, beginning to pull him out of the apartment, which he resisted.

     Another officer entered to assist and some family members allegedly became involved in an altercation with the officers. Four family members were ultimately arrested, but the charges against them were subsequently dismissed. Family members filed a federal civil rights lawsuit claiming unlawful entry into the apartment, and excessive use of force, among other claims.

     Upholding summary judgment for the defendant officers on the basis of qualified immunity, a federal appeals court ruled that the officers did not violate the father's constitutional right against "unlawful entry" by going into the apartment where he had fled to avoid facing their questions during an investigatory stop.

     A person cannot avoid an investigatory stop simply by retreating into a home, the court noted. The officers were entitled to conduct an investigatory stop of the father once they arrived on the scene of the domestic dispute. They were therefore entitled to enter the apartment to conduct the investigation of the suspect inside.

     The appeals court further found that the force used against the father was "mild and tempered," based on his refusal to cooperate, and that the force used against other family members was reasonable since the officers were "confronted with a highly volatile domestic disturbance," and they were entitled to defend themselves once a family member decided to intervene to interfere with their efforts.

     Rivera v. Washington, No. 01-1595, 57 Fed. Appx. 558 (4th Cir. 2003).

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Search and Seizure: Person

Sweep of high school for drugs with drug sniffing dogs by sheriff's personnel at the request of school authorities, combined with pat-down searches and a strip search of a student in a private room on the basis of individualized suspicion once a package of drugs was found were not unreasonable. Officers also did not use excessive force in allegedly choking a student to prevent him from swallowing a package of marijuana seeds, but their subsequent strip search of him in the school's parking lot was "excessively intrusive."

     Based on a request from school authorities, sheriff's department personnel in Alabama conducted a search of a public high school for drugs, with the assistance of drug-sniffing dogs. A small package of drugs was found under a table in the library at which a number of students were sitting, and these students were then subjected to searches.

     One male student was patted down by a deputy and asked to empty his pockets, followed by being strip searched by two male officers in the teachers' lounge, without any school personnel present. Another student was asked to place the contents of his pockets on a table, but was not himself searched. Dogs were led through the cafeteria, but did not alert on any of the students present, so no further searches were conducted there.

     Another male student was called to the parking lot where the drug-sniffing dogs had alerted to his car. He was asked to open the car door, and once inside the car, he was seen putting something into his mouth. He later claimed that officers choked him in an effort to make him spit out the small package, but he had already swallowed it, admitting later that it contained marijuana seeds. He then alleges that he was required to remove all of his clothes other than his underwear in the parking lot.

     The students who were searched filed a federal civil rights lawsuit claiming unreasonable search and seizure.

     The court began by noting that the appropriate legal standard for assessing the legality of the searches of the students, conducted at the behest of school officials, was reasonable suspicion rather than probable cause. Further, the strip search of the male student found in close proximity to the package of drugs found in the library was based on individualized suspicion, as was properly required, since it was found under the table where he was sitting and an informant had told the principal that this student had put the drugs there.

     The court found further, that this strip search was carried out in a reasonable manner, by officers of the same sex, in a private room, with no physical touching of the student's person, and was a brief search lasting only two to three minutes. The student's claim that the search being conducted without school personnel present was a violation of school policy did not convert it into a violation of his constitutional rights.

     The other searches, such as the pat-downs or requiring students to empty their pockets, were also reasonable, and based on individualized suspicion. Additionally, the court stated, the activity of drug-sniffing dogs in walking up and down in areas of the school sniffing for contraband was not a search under the Fourth Amendment.

     The court also found that the officers did not use excessive force in attempting to stop the boy in the parking lot from swallowing the package of marijuana seeds. He did not suffer any injury and the attempt to prevent him from doing so was justified both on the basis of attempting to prevent him from destroying evidence and preventing him from swallowing a harmful substance.

     The sole possible violation the trial judge found was the strip search of the student in the parking lot, which was found to be excessively intrusive and not reasonably related to the objects of the search. At that point, the student had already identified the substance that he had swallowed as marijuana seeds, and he had retrieved it from his car, not from his person, so that making him strip to his underwear outside was unnecessary.

     Rudolph v. Lowndes County Board of Education, 242 F. Supp. 2d 1107 (M.D. Ala. 2003).

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Noted in Brief

Administrative Liability: Training

     Arrestee suffering from mental illness failed to show that county was deliberately indifferent in its training of police on the rights of mentally ill persons. County training programs did address how to deal with mentally ill persons and there was no indication that the county had any notice that mentally ill persons had suffered violations of their constitutional rights. Miami-Dade County v. Walker, No. 3D02-544, 837 So. 2d 1049 (Fla. App. 3rd Dist. 2002), rehearing and rehearing en banc denied (2003).[PDF]

Assault and Battery: Chemical

     There was a genuine issue of fact as to whether an officer's use of pepper spray was reasonably necessary to subdue a man being arrested for disorderly conduct, but the officer did not engage in deliberate indifference to the arrestee's serious medical needs by failing to immediately call an ambulance after the use of the spray, in the absence of any evidence that the delay caused any harm. The evidence further showed that the arrestee declined the officer's offer to give him a towel and water to flush out his eyes. Mantz v. Chain, 239 F. Supp. 2d 486 (D.N.J. 2002).

Assault and Battery: Physical

     Jury could reasonably conclude that an arresting officer used excessive force in light of arrestee's claim that he was an "innocent bystander" and had done nothing to provoke the officer except express his concern about alleged mistreatment of others, and that the officer continued to use force against him after he was in custody and subdued. Force allegedly used included throwing the arrestee to the ground after he was handcuffed, striking him in the back of the head, and kneeing him. Award of $5,000 in compensatory damages and $50,000 in punitive damages was not excessive when plaintiff had injuries resulting in $173 in medical expenses and claimed that he suffered fear, pain, and humiliation because of the officer's actions. Burbank v. Davis, 238 F. Supp. 2d 317 (D. Maine 2003).


     Arrestee could not pursue defamation claim against police chief for statements to reporters which were either true or had not been proven to be false. Additionally, the chief's statement that the arrestee had received training in the army as a sniper, even if it were shown to be false, was not defamatory, and his statements of pure opinion could not be the basis of a defamation lawsuit. Yoge v. Nugent, #01-2131, 321 F.3d 35 (1st Cir. 2003).

Defenses: Qualified Immunity

     State and federal agents who detained and handcuffed employees for three and a half hours in 1996 while executing a search warrant for unlawful drugs on a workplace were entitled to qualified immunity. Such a search warrant carries with it limited authority to detain the occupants of the premises while a proper search is conducted, and it was not shown either that the length of the detention was unreasonable under the circumstances or that the agents were unreasonable in their belief that they were not violating clearly established law when they displayed drawn guns, and pushed one of the employees to the ground when he failed to obey an order to "get down." Pikel v. Garrett, #01-3850, 55 Fed. Appx. 29 (3rd Cir. 2002).

Defenses: Statute of Limitations

     Statute of limitations on former prisoner's civil rights claim against police officers for allegedly coercing a witness to falsely testify against him in a murder case was not tolled (extended) under Illinois law by either his incarceration or the finding that he had a mental disability for purposes of Social Security benefits (when there was no showing that he was unable to manage his own affairs). Chatmon v. Easton, #02-2377, 56 Fed. Appx. 261 (7th Cir. 2002).

     Statute of limitations started running on billiard hall owner's federal civil rights claim at the time that a trial court dismissed a prosecution against him for violating an ordinance prohibiting minors from being on his premises. (His lawsuit claimed, among other things, that the application of the ordinance violated equal protection of the law, since it was only enforced against for-profit, privately owned billiard rooms and not against city-owned, public recreation centers). The city, by appealing the dismissal, did not engaged in a "continuing violation" which would toll (extend) the limitations period. Lawsuit was properly dismissed as time-barred. Trzebuckowski v. City of Cleveland, #01-3509, 319 F.3d 853 (6th Cir. 2003).

False Arrest/Imprisonment: No Warrant

     Police officer had probable cause, under Iowa law, to arrest a juvenile driver for refusal to sign a traffic citation based on his disobedience of a direction to exit his vehicle to do so. State law allows an officer to issue a citation in lieu of arrest under these circumstances, but does not require him to do so. Lawyer v. City of Council Bluffs, Iowa, 240 F. Supp. 2d 941 (S.D. Iowa 2002).

     Officers were entitled to qualified immunity for arresting a man during a valid investigatory stop for refusing to identify himself, charging him with interference with official acts. The issue of the legality of such an arrest was not clearly established, and the federal appeals courts are split on the issue, and the U.S. Supreme Court, in Kolender v. Lawson, 461 U.S. 352 (1983), expressly declined to decide whether an arrest for refusing to give one's name to the police violates the Fourth Amendment. Shepard v. Ripperger, No. 02-1939, 57 Fed. Appx. 270 (8th Cir. 2003). EDITOR'S NOTE: See Carey v. Nevada Gaming Control Bd., 279 F.3d 873 (9th Cir. 2002) [PDF] (holding that arresting a person for refusing to provide their name violates the Fourth Amendment) and Risbridger v. Connelly, 275 F.3d 565 (6th Cir. 2002) (the legality of refusing to identify oneself to police is an open question, and therefore not clearly established law for the purpose of denying qualified immunity).

     Evidence showed that probable cause existed for the arrest of the plaintiff on charges of impersonation of a law enforcement officer while attempting to sell security alarm systems without a license. In light of the absence of any constitutional violation by the officer, there also were no grounds for liability on the part of the county or sheriff. Gantt v. Whitaker, No. 02-1340, 57 Fed. Appx. 141 (4th Cir. 2003). EDITOR'S NOTE: This publication previously reported the trial court's decision in this case in the September 2002 issue under the topic "Governmental Liability: Policy/Custom," as the court below discussed how the sheriff's arrest policy, involving consulting with the prosecutor concerning whether there was a basis for a criminal charge in the case, rather than being "unconstitutional," was a "textbook example" of proper arrest procedure.

     Probable cause did not exist to arrest an individual for failure to disperse from private property when a state trooper ordered him to do so. Statute under which he was arrested only applied to disorderly conduct in public, as opposed to private places, and the language concerning orders to disperse required that at least three persons be involved in the conduct, but there were only two persons who refused to disperse when the arrest occurred. Gardner v. Williams, No. 02-5363, 56 Fed. Appx. 700 (6th Cir. 2003).

False Arrest/Imprisonment: Warrant

     Officer had probable cause to arrest a civilian police department employee for fraudulently receiving overtime pay when his investigation appeared to show that she was elsewhere, including at another job teaching aerobics, at times when she had allegedly received overtime pay from the police department. The arrestee's ultimate acquittal on the charges did not alter the existence of probable cause at the time of the arrest. The officer's investigation was the basis for the warrant on which the plaintiff was arrested. Dintino v. Echols, 243 F. Supp. 2d 255 (E.D. Pa. 2003).

     Officers who obtained arrest warrant for man suspected of larceny of air compressor from construction site were not liable for alleged violations of arrestee's civil rights when any purported false statements in the affidavit for the warrant were reasonably based on the verbal and written statements of complainants' about the suspect's actions and documents showing the ownership of the compressor missing from the site. Sietins v. Joseph, 238 F. Supp. 2d 366 (D. Mass. 2003).

Firearms Related: Intentional Use

     Officers did not violate any clearly established constitutional rights in 1987 when they made a "split second" decision to shoot a suspect after she had thrown a knife at one of them in an attempt to kill him, and made an assault on a second officer by throwing a glass at him, as well as being near a source of additional potential weapons. They were therefore entitled to qualified immunity. No prior case law from either the U.S. Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that using deadly force under such circumstances was excessive. Willingham v. Loughnan, No. 99-4005, 321 F.3d 1299 (11th Cir. 2003).

     A factual issue as to whether an officer was inside or outside of his vehicle when a motorist began driving towards him prevented summary judgment on the issue of whether the officer reasonably feared for his own safety and life at the time he shot and killed the motorist. Martin v. Dishong, #02-1173, 57 Fed. Appx. 153 (4th Cir. 2003).

Freedom of Information

     Police officers association was not entitled under California's Public Records Act, Cal. Gov. Code Sec. 6252(e), to access to a database of information maintained and compiled by the county public defender's office. The database, composed of information from client files as well as public records was not a public record "related to the conduct of the public's business," but rather served a "private function," that of aiding the public defender in the representation of its clients. Coronado Police Officers Association v. Carroll, No. D039198, 131 Cal. Rptr. 2d 553 (Cal. App. 4th Dist. 2003).[PDF]

Governmental Liability: Policy/Custom

     Homeowners who contend that the search warrant used to enter their home described a distinctly different residence could pursue their claim for municipal liability. Their allegations that three of the officers involved in the search had previously been named as defendants in other civil suits as a result of raiding the wrong house and that they were then given no additional training, if true, was sufficient to allow an inference that the city was deliberately indifferent to such incidents. Smith v. City of Detroit, 238 F. Supp. 2d 896 (E.D. Mich. 2003).

Police Plaintiff: Vehicle Related

     Trial court improperly allocated 80% of fault for an accident to a motorist and 20% to the police officer in a case where the officer was traveling 99 miles per hour in violation of the speed limit while responding to an emergency call at the time of the collision. The officer had not activated his siren and therefore was not entitled to a statutory exemption from liability. He therefore would be treated the same as any private person using a public highway for purposes of allocating blame. Appeals court finds equal fault on the part of the motorist and the officer, resulting in an award of damages to neither in their cross-complaints against each other. Bonds v. Emerson, 94 S.W.3d 491 (Tenn. App. 2002). [PDF]

Procedural: Amendment of Complaint

    Arrestees were entitled to amend their complaint against deputy sheriff, prosecutor and other defendants claiming false arrest, malicious prosecution, conviction and imprisonment for sexual abuse of a child in case where child later recanted his testimony. Initial complaint did not contain enough specific facts for court to determine whether absolute or qualified immunity applied to the defendants' alleged conduct. Broam v. Bogan, No. 01-17246, 320 F.3d 1023 (9th Cir. 2003). [PDF].

Racial Discrimination

     Officer did not deny a black detainee equal protection when he singled him out for interrogation from a group of six people, all the rest of whom were white. A police dispatcher had told the officer that the detainee had the same last name as a suspected bank robber, and that, rather than race, was the basis for the detainee being singled out for questioning. Arrington v. City of Davenport, 240 F. Supp. 2d 984 (S.D. Iowa 2003).

Search and Seizure: Home/Business

     There were genuine issues of fact as to whether a parent's alleged consent to a police officer and social workers to enter their home to investigate suspicion of child neglect without a warrant was coerced, so that officers and social workers were not entitled to summary judgment on parent's claim that they violated the Fourth Amendment and Ohio state constitution in entering the premises. Walsh v. Erie County Dept. of Job and Family Services, 240 F. Supp. 2d 731 (N.D. Ohio 2003).

     Presence of officers during a court-sanctioned entry into a man's residence by his wife in connection with divorce proceedings to retrieve some of her possessions did not constitute an illegal search and seizure in violation of federal and state constitutional provisions. The plaintiff's federal civil rights claims against the city and officers were frivolous and the defendants were therefore entitled to an award of attorneys' fees. Todd v. City of Natchitoches, 238 F. Supp. 2d 793 (W.D. La. 2002).

Search and Seizure: Person

     Officers had a reasonable basis for making an investigatory stop of a man reported to be walking "wet and barefoot" through a neighborhood while talking to himself. Information provided by neighborhood residents gave officers grounds to be concerned about his well being, since they could believe that he might be under the influence of drugs, in need of medical assistance, or suffering from mental illness. Jogger's equal protection rights were not violated by the fact that the officers stopped and questioned him while he was barefoot, but did not stop and question other joggers who were wearing shoes. Cady v. Village of McCook, #02-2579, 57 Fed. Appx. 261 (7th Cir. 2003).

     Male officer's alleged cross-sex pat-down searches of female arrestees, even if in violation of police department policies, were reasonable under the Fourth Amendment and therefore were not a basis for a constitutional civil rights claim when searches were minimally intrusive and carried out in a routine manner. Searches were adequately contemporaneous with the arrests when they were carried out upon the arrestee's arrival at the police station. Wyatt v. Slagle, 240 F. Supp. 2d 931 (S.D. Iowa 2002).

Search and Seizure: Vehicle

     When officers knew that the vehicles in question had been rebuilt from salvage and had been told that replacement parts might either not have VIN numbers or else not match the public VIN of the vehicles, there was a genuine issue of fact as to whether the officers reasonably believed that missing or mismatched VIN numbers established probable cause for seizure of the vehicles. Appeals court rules that there was also a valid issue as to the adequacy of the procedure provided by the state of Arkansas for car owners to recover vehicles seized by police. King v. Fletcher, No. 022-1967, 319 F.3d 345 (8th Cir. 2003). [PDF]


       AELE's list of recently-noted civil liability law resources.

     Article: "Suicide Risk and Hostage/Barricade Situations Involving Older Persons," by Arthur A. Slatkin, Ed.D., 72 FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin No. 4, pgs. 26-33 (April 2003). [PDF format]. The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, beginning with the June 2001 issues, is also available online in .html format, as well as PDF.

     Conference: BioSecurity 2003. October 20–22, 2003 in Washington, D.C. BioSecurity 2003 is an international scientific and educational conference that provides a forum for officials in government, defense, science and technology, public health, academia, medicine, law enforcement, and public policy to exchange information applicable to biosecurity strategies. The Biosecurity Mailing List provides event updates, which will also be posted to the conference web site.

     Publication: Department of Justice Emergency Preparedness: Guidance and General Information. Justice Management Division (February 2003).

     Publication: "Early Precursors of Gang Membership: A Study of Seattle Youth," produced by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), (December 2001) draws on data from the Seattle Social Development Project, a longitudinal study of youth living in high-crime neighborhoods, to assess risk factors for youth gang membership. Identifying early precursors of gang membership can facilitate the development of more effective interventions to prevent youth gang membership and combat juvenile crime. This bulletin, part of OJJDP’s Youth Gang Series, analyzes the relationship between risk factors present in the lives of 10-to 12-year-old youth and the probability of their participation in gangs later in life. The implications of this analysis for the design of successful prevention strategies also are explored. For a copy of this 6-page bulletin (NCJ 190106), contact the National Criminal Justice Reference Service at 800-851-3420. Or, access this publication at OJJDP’s Web site at http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/pubs/gangsum.html#190106.

     Report: "Advancing Justice Through DNA Technology." (March 2003). This report provides an overview of the President's initiative to improve the use of DNA in the criminal justice system by providing funding, training, and assistance. The President has proposed $1 billion in funding over 5 years to fulfill the goals of the initiative: reduce the DNA testing backlog, build crime lab capacity, stimulate research and development, support training, protect the innocent, and identify missing persons.

     Report: "Report to the Attorney General on Delays in Forensic DNA Analysis." (March 2003). Although crime laboratories have made enormous progress in reducing the number of unanalyzed convicted offender samples for DNA databases, they continue to be deluged with analysis requests. This National Institute for Justice (NIJ) report presents the results of a task force, convened by NIJ at the request of Attorney General John Ashcroft, to assess existing DNA analysis delays and develop recommendations for eliminating those delays. The report details six recommendations that will serve as the foundation of a comprehensive, national DNA backlog reduction strategy. Full text of the Report: ASCII Text File Adobe Acrobat File.

     Report: "The Effectiveness and Safety of Pepper Spray" (April 2003). National Institute of Justice (NIJ). "Though generally assumed to be safe and effective, the consequences of the use of pepper spray, as with any use of force, can never be predicted with certainty. To expand the scope of knowledge on such a complex subject, this Research for Practice examines two unpublished NIJ-funded studies on the use of pepper spray in real-life arrests and compares them with previous studies. While the research does not and cannot prove that pepper spray will never be a contributing factor in the death of a subject resisting arrest, it seems to confirm that pepper spray is a reasonably safe and effective tool for law enforcement officers to use when confronting uncooperative or combative subjects." Full text of the Report: ASCII Text File Adobe Acrobat File.

     Report: "Lessons Learned From Early Corrections and Law Enforcement Family Support (CLEFS) Programs," by Robert P. Delprino Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Buffalo State College, S.U.N.Y. 51 pgs. (Feb. 2002). [PDF format] This report summarizes lessons learned from the experience of 32 grants awarded by the National Institute of Justice since 1996 to address the negative effects of stress experienced by law enforcement and correctional officers and their families under the Corrections and Law Enforcement Family Support (CLEFS) Program developed in response to Section 2301 of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Assistance Act.

     Report: "Patterns of Global Terrorism" Report 2002, U.S. State Department (April 2003). (A 40.3 megabyte .pdf file). Individual sections may be downloaded in .pdf format here. Individual sections of the report may be accessed in .html format here.

     Statistics: The Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2001 (April 2003). Visit Sourcebook Online (http://www.albany.edu/sourcebook) which is updated as new material becomes available. The Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2001 presents a broad spectrum of criminal justice data from more than 100 sources in 6 sections: characteristics of the criminal justice systems, public attitudes toward crime and criminal justice topics, the nature and distribution of known offenses, characteristics and distribution of persons arrested, judicial processing of defendants, and persons under correctional supervision. Nearly all the data presented are nationwide in scope and, where possible, they are displayed by regions, states, and cities to increase their value for local decision-makers and for comparative analyses. The report includes over 600 tables, figures, subject index, annotated bibliography, technical appendixes with definitions and methodology, and list of source publishers and their addresses. Hindelang Criminal Justice Research Center. 04/03  To order: Printed copies are available for a postage and handling charge of $9.00 for U.S. buyers and $39.00 for buyers from Canada and other countries. NCJ 196438 A CD-ROM of the 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997-1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001 editions is available for a postage and handling charge of $9.00 for U.S. buyers and $39.00 for buyers from Canada and other countries. NCJ 197533.

     Statistics: Reporting Crime to the Police, 1992-2000  (March 2003). This Special Report presents National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) data from 1992 to 2000 on non-lethal crimes against persons age 12 or older that were reported to police. The reporting of overall violent crime, serious violent crimes, and simple assaults increased from 1992 through 2000. In 2000 a total of 9.9 million crimes were reported to law enforcement authorities, according to NCVS estimates. Highlights include the following: Reporting to the police of rape/sexual assault and assault increased between 1992 and 2000. Violence against females was more likely to be reported than violence against males. Overall violent crime committed by strangers was reported to police at a higher percentage than was violent crime committed by non-strangers. 03/03 NCJ 195710 Acrobat file (PDF, 309K) | ASCII file (35K) | Spreadsheets (zip format 32K)

     Videotape: The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), "Operation Cooperation: Partnerships Between Law Enforcement and Private Security." This BJA video tape presents an overview of Operation Cooperation, a national initiative designed to encourage partnerships between law enforcement agencies and private security professionals. It describes why cooperation is essential for public safety, what benefits arise from cooperation, what is being done already, and how to establish new partnerships. It also elaborates on four key elements of Operation Cooperation (networking, partnering problem solving, cross-fertilization, information sharing) and presents examples of partnerships in several states. This VHS videotape (NCJ 189103) is available from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service at 800-851-3420.

     Website: State Sex Offender Registry Websites. A directory, compiled by the FBI, of direct links to 44 state sex offender registry websites throughout the country.

     Website: FBI Counter-Terrorism Website. Information on the most wanted terrorists, on-line form for providing tips and information, recent warnings, links to useful resources, etc.

     Website: Counter-Terrorism Training and Resources for Law Enforcement. Contains material and links to information on training and technical assistance, conferences, funding, research and statistics, equipment, planning and risk assessment, publications, legislation, and victim assistance.

     Website: CIA World Factbook 2002. On-line access to this publication which provides statistical information and other useful information on all the countries in the world, including data on populations, militaries, geography, governments, and trans-national issues. The book may be searched on-line, or downloaded in .PDF format.


Cross References

Featured Cases:

Defamation -- See also False Arrest/Imprisonment: Warrant
Defenses: Governmental Immunity -- See also Pursuits: Law Enforcement
Defenses: Qualified Immunity -- See also Firearms Related: Intentional Use
Defenses: Qualified Immunity -- See also Public Protection: Arrestees
Dogs -- See also Search and Seizure: Person
False Arrest/Imprisonment: No Warrant -- See also Racial Discrimination
Negligence: Vehicle Related -- See also Pursuits: Law Enforcement
Public Protection: Disturbed/Suicidal Persons -- See also Firearms Related: Intentional Use
Public Protection: Intoxicated Persons -- See also Public Protection: Arrestees
Public Protection: 911 Phone Systems -- See also Public Protection: Crime Victims
Search and Seizure: Person -- See also Defenses: Qualified Immunity
Search and Seizure: Person -- See also Search and Seizure: Home/Business
Search and Seizure: Home/Business -- See also Firearms Related: Intentional Use
Search and Seizure: Home/Business -- See also Interrogation
Search and Seizure: Vehicle -- See also Search and Seizure: Person

Noted in Brief Cases:

Administrative Liability: Training -- See also Governmental Liability: Policy/Custom
Assault and Battery: Physical -- See also Defenses: Qualified Immunity
Attorneys' Fees: For Defendants -- See also Search and Seizure: Home/Business (2nd case)
Damages: Compensatory -- See also Assault and Battery: Physical
Damages: Punitive -- See also Assault and Battery: Physical
Defenses: Absolute Immunity -- See also Procedural: Amendment of Complaint
Defenses: Qualified Immunity -- See also False Arrest/Imprisonment: No Warrant (2nd case)
Defenses: Qualified Immunity -- See also Firearms Related: Intentional Use (1st case)
Defenses: Qualified Immunity -- See also Procedural: Amendment of Complaint
Frivolous Lawsuits -- See also Search and Seizure: Home/Business (2nd case)
Governmental Liability: Policy/Custom -- See also False Arrest/Imprisonment: No Warrant (3rd case)
Interrogation -- See also Racial Discrimination
Juvenile Arrestees -- See also False Arrest/Imprisonment: No Warrant (1st case)
Medical Care -- See also Assault and Battery: Chemical
Negligence: Vehicle Related -- See also Police Plaintiff: Vehicle Related
Property -- See also Search and Seizure: Vehicle
Public Protection: Disturbed/Suicidal Persons -- See also Administrative Liability: Training
Search and Seizure: Home/Business -- See also Defenses: Qualified Immunity
Search and Seizure: Home/Business -- See also Governmental Liability: Policy/Custom

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