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A Civil Liability Law Publication
for Law Enforcement

ISSN 0271-5481

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2004 LR Apr (web edit.)

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Featured Cases - With Links

Defenses: Qualified Immunity
False Arrest/Imprisonment: No Warrant (2 cases)
Firearms Related: Intentional Use (2 cases)
Malicious Prosecution
Medical Care
Public Protection: Disturbed/Suicidal Persons

Public Protection: Informants
Pursuits: Law Enforcement
Search and Seizure: Person
Sexual Assault and Harassment

Noted in Brief -(With Some Links)
Assault and Battery: Physical (4 cases)
Attorneys' Fees: For Plaintiff
Defenses: Indemnity
Defenses: Notice of Claims
Defenses: Statute of Limitations
Disability Discrimination
False Arrest/Imprisonment: No Warrant (2 cases)
Firearms Related: Intentional Use
Firearms: Licenses and Regulations
Freedom of Information (2 cases)
Governmental Liability: Policy/Custom
Insurance (2 cases)
Negligence: Vehicle Related
Off-Duty/Color of Law: Vehicle Related
RICO (2 cases)
Search and Seizure: Home/Business (2 cases)
Search and Seizure: Person


Cross References

Featured Cases -- With Links

Defenses: Qualified Immunity

Officer had at least arguable probable cause to arrest mother for obstruction of justice when she refused to let him in to serve court order concerning custody of her youngest child, which was based on allegations of neglect. Officer was entitled to qualified immunity, and there was no clearly established law against him attempting to gain entrance by a ruse that he merely needed to hand her the papers, without revealing that he would immediately also take the child into custody under the terms of the order.

     A county social services agency took the youngest of a woman's four children into protective custody after a hospital which had been treating him contacted them about possible child abuse. The agency began a court proceeding against the mother, alleging neglect and seeking the removal of all four of her children.

     After a hearing, a New York family court found that the mother suffered from Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, a psychological disorder in which a person fabricates symptoms of illness in her child for the purpose of gaining the attention of medical personnel. Based on this, the court entered an order removing the youngest child from his mother's custody and placing him with a foster family. The mother, however, subsequently moved to Florida with all four of her children, and was not award of the court's order.

     The court ordered the child removed to the custody of a Florida state agency and two Florida caseworkers, along with two Florida police officers came to the woman's residence with a faxed copy of the removal order. While the mother was talking to them, her youngest son snuck out of a back window in the apartment and hid at a neighbor's home. It was disputed later whether he had done this on his own or whether the mother instructed him to do so.

     The caseworkers and officers advised her that they would be back and would arrest her if she interfered at that later date. A Florida court held proceedings and issued an order enforcing the New York court decision, and stating that the mother would be arrested if she interfered with it. Officers surrounded her residence, and attempted to serve the order on her. She allegedly initially refused to allow them to serve the papers on her. When she finally exited her apartment, she was allegedly knocked to the ground by officers and arrested for obstruction of justice.

     She filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against a police officer and Florida city, claiming that she had been falsely arrested for obstruction of justice.

     A federal appeals court has found the officer had "arguable probable cause" to arrest the mother for interfering with and obstructing his execution of legal process, an order directing that the child be taken into custody immediately and turn him over to county social services. Additionally no violation of a clearly established constitutional right was violated by the officer in attempting to gain entrance into the residence by a ruse of telling the mother that he merely had to get inside to give her the papers, without informing her that he would immediately take the child.

     Since there was nothing to indicate that the officer's arrest of the mother was clearly unlawful, he was entitled to qualified immunity, the appeals court ruled, upholding a trial court decision.

     Storck v. City of Coral Springs, No. 02-16956, 354 F.3d 1307 (11th Cir. 2004).

     » Click here to read the text of the opinion on the Internet. [PDF]

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False Arrest/Imprisonment: No Warrant

Ticket scalpers arrested by Milwaukee police outside sports arena and kept in custody for between three to fourteen hours for processing did not show any violation of their civil rights, despite the fact that violation of the ticket scalping ordinance was punishable only by a fine.

     Fifteen persons arrested by Milwaukee police officers for ticket scalping activities outside a sports stadium in violation of a municipal ordinance filed a lawsuit against the city, the police department, and the police chief, claiming that the custodial arrests, as well as the length of their detentions, violated their constitutional rights.

     The city had make a decision to "get serious" about enforcement of the ordinance, which prohibited the selling of sports tickets on the sidewalk in the vicinity of the Bradley Center, Milwaukee's sports and entertainment arena, for two hours before and one hour after any scheduled event.

     The penalty for violating the ordinance was, at most, a fine plus the costs of prosecution, rather than incarceration. The ordinance was frequently violated and seldom enforced, but the city began to receive complaints that patrons of the arena were being frequently bothered by ticket scalpers and that issuing citations was ineffective. Ticket scalpers would allegedly receive tickets, be released on the scene, and immediately continue engaging in scalping tickets.

     A deputy police chief therefore approved a police lieutenant's decision to start to arrest all such offenders summarily regardless of whether they were first time offenders or regular ticket sellers who routinely scalped tickets. Persons arrested were taken to a police station where they were booked. They were allegedly detained there in holding cells from three to fourteen hours while various administrative processing took place, including paperwork and a check for outstanding local, state, or national warrants. Arrestees were then given citations and allowed to leave.

     A federal appeals court has upheld the constitutionality of the arrests. Arrest for a "minor, non-jailable offense does not violate the Fourth Amendment," the court noted, citing Atwater v. City of Lago Vista, 532 U.S. 318 (2001). When officers have probable cause to believe that a person has committed an offense in their presence, they may make a custodial arrest.

     Atwater, however, the court noted, still did not preclude an individualized review of a challenge to the manner and duration of the arrests. In this case, however, the court found that any "mistreatment" the arrestees suffered during the arrests was not "extraordinary" in a manner that would support a federal civil rights claim.

     In this case, the arrestees complained about the amount of time they were detained, the amount of time spent handcuffed in a police vehicle, the thoroughness of the body searches they were subjected to, their inability to make phone calls, and the fact that they had to share a holding cell with other prisoners rather than being placed in holding cells alone. The appeals court agreed that the arrests may have been "humiliating," but also found that they were "no more harmful than the normal custodial arrest."

     The defendants were found to have adequately explained the length of the detention as a product of "back log" at the busy downtown police booking station where the arrestees were taken. Given that, the delay in processing the arrestees was not unconstitutional.

     Chortek v. City of Milwaukee, No. 03-1329, 356 F.3d 740 (7th Cir. 2004).

     » Click here to read the text of the opinion on the Internet. [PDF]

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There was no probable cause to arrest a husband for violation of a domestic protection order for attending church services at the same church his wife attended, since that was not prohibited by the order. Officer who did not read the order or otherwise attempt to ascertain its contents was not entitled to qualified immunity.

     A married couple was in the process of divorcing, and the wife obtained a protective order on behalf of herself and their children against her husband. The order prohibited the husband from committing or threatening to commit any act of physical injury against the wife and children, harassing or following the wife, or going with 300 feet of the wife's residence or work place.

     A few days after obtaining the protection order, the wife attended church services. Her husband appeared at the church with his infant son from another relationship, and sat several rows behind her. He was a former member of the congregation, but was permitted and encouraged by the church to continue attending services there. The wife called the police, and an officer called the police dispatcher to confirm the issuance and service of the protective order, but did not request information about the terms of the order.

    The officer then came to the church and asked the husband to leave, and placed him under arrest for alleged violation of the protective order. The husband objected, stating that he had not violated the terms of the order, and told the officer that he should read the order. The officer admitted that he had not read the order and did not know the details of the order, but nevertheless proceeded with the arrest.

     All charges against the arrestee were later dropped. The order did not explicitly prohibit the husband from attending church services at the church his wife also happened to attend.

     The arrestee sued the city and a number of its officers involved in his arrest. Upholding denial of qualified immunity to the individual defendants, a federal appeals court found that, if the plaintiff's version of the facts were correct, there was a lack of probable cause for his arrest, and the officers were not entitled to qualified immunity.

     The court found that it was objectively unreasonable for an officer to believe that there was probable cause to arrest the husband for violating a domestic protection order without ascertaining the contents of the order and its terms either from authorized personnel or by reading the "readily available" document.

     In enforcing a domestic protection order, the court stated, officers must familiarize themselves with the order's "precise contents" through some official sources. While it is not required that the officer personally read the order, they can fulfill their duty of knowing its contents by seeking the information from a supervisor or dispatcher with access to the actual order. It is not reasonable, however, the court found, to rely uncritically on the legal conclusions of laypersons, such as the wife, as to what the terms of a judicial order are.

     The appeals court also rejected the argument that the officers should be given qualified immunity for fear of "dissuading" officers from enforcing such orders in the future. Knowledge that they could be liable if they did not ascertain the terms of a protective order would "encourage" officers to do so.

     Beier v. Lewiston, #02-35516, 354 F.3d 1058 (9th Cir. 2004).

     » Click here to read the text of the opinion on the Internet. [PDF]

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Firearms Related: Intentional Use

Maryland jury awards $105 million in damages to family of unarmed man shot and killed by Baltimore police officer. While officer claimed the man was holding a gun and turning towards him, evidence in the case led to the officer subsequently pleading guilty to murder charges. The shooting allegedly occurred because the officer believed the man was having an affair with his wife.

     A Baltimore police officer shot and killed an unarmed man who was near his car outside his home. He stated that he was observing the man when he saw him reaching into the rear of his car. The officer, on duty and in uniform, was approaching the motorist when he allegedly saw him turn toward him.

     The officer drew his gun, but the man still continued towards him, and the officer asserted later that he believed that the man had a gun in his hand. The officer fired, emptying his weapon into the man's body. He allegedly then reloaded his weapon and fired four more times into him, while standing over his body. The officer fired a total of twenty-one shots, although no shots were fired by the man, who was unarmed.

     The decedent's family sued the officer and on January 9, 2004, a state court jury awarded them $105 million in damages. The officer pled guilty to charges of murder in the shooting and was sentenced to 50 years in prison. The shooting occurred outside the decedent's home, and the officer allegedly believed that the man he shot was having an affair with his wife. Some newspaper accounts indicated that this may have been the case, and that the shooting was done with the motive of exacting revenge for the affair. The decedent had previously called the police department to report that the officer was harassing him.

     The bulk of the award was punitive damages, which the City of Baltimore is immune from and has no obligation, under state law, to indemnify the former officer on. The city argued at trial, without presenting any witnesses, that the officer was not acting within the course and scope of his employment in shooting the decedent.

     Estate of Little v. Price, No. 24-c-02-000997 (Baltimore City, Md., Cir. Ct.), reported in The National Law Journal, page 20 (February 9, 2004).

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Federal appeals court upholds jury award of $1 million to arrestee who was shot in his bed by an officer, allegedly with his hands up, while in possession of a shotgun in his lap. Mere possession of a weapon, without any indication that a suspect is going to use it, is an insufficient basis for the use of deadly force.

     An arrestee shot by a Los Angeles police officer in his bed in the course of his arrest sued the officer for excessive use of force in violation of his federal constitutional rights.

     At trial, the officer and the arrestee presented conflicting accounts of the circumstances of the shooting. The officer testified that the arrestee was holding a shotgun that he was pointing at the officer, and that he shot him in the hands in order to protect himself. The plaintiff arrestee stated that the shotgun was in his lap at the time, and that he was lying on the bed with his hands up when the officer shot him.

     The plaintiff presented forensic and physical evidence to support his version of the events, which involved the path of the bullet through his hands, as well as evidence that there was no blood or other tissue on the shotgun, as would have been expected if his hands had been on the gun when they were shot.

     The jury evidently believed the arrestee's version of the incident, and awarded $1 million in compensatory damages.

     A federal appeals court has upheld this award, and rejected the officer's argument that he was entitled to qualified immunity under the circumstances.

     The use of deadly force, the appeals court noted, is a violation of the Fourth Amendment when more force is used than is reasonably necessary under the circumstances. Such force is only reasonable when an individual poses an immediate threat of death or serious bodily harm to the officer or others.

     In the position the arrestee claimed he was in, lying back on his bed, his "arms raised over his head in a classic surrender position, with a gun in his lap," he did not pose a risk to the officer or others, the court ruled. "Simply possessing a gun, without more, is insufficient cause to justify the use of deadly force."

     In this case, other than the mere possession of the gun, there was "no other indication" that the arrestee intended to use it, and there was also evidence that the informant who had tipped the police off to the suspect's presence had told officers that the suspect was armed, but that he would not fire on police.

     The appeals court found no merit to the officer's claim that he was entitled to qualified immunity, finding that the general rules concerning what is constitutionally required for the use of deadly force have been clearly established since the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985).

     Robinson v. Nolte, No. 02-55094, 77 Fed. Appx. 413 (9th Cir. 2003).

     » Click here to read the text of the opinion on the AELE website.

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Malicious Prosecution

FBI agents were not entitled to either absolute or qualified immunity on claims that they essentially "framed" a former informant on charges of kidnapping and murder by arranging for false evidence against him which led to convictions and sentences of life imprisonment and death respectively, which subsequently were overturned. Plaintiff claimed that these actions were in retaliation for his decision to stop being an informant.

     A former FBI informant, who had also worked as a Chicago police officer, claimed that after he stopped furnishing information to the FBI, he became a suspect in a kidnapping of two drug dealers, and later a suspect in two murders. He was convicted of the kidnapping and sentenced to life in prison. He was later also convicted of one of the murders and sentenced to death.

     Both of these convictions were subsequently overturned, and he filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against two FBI agents involved in the investigations, claiming that they had framed him for both offenses in retaliation for his decision to cease being an FBI informant.

     Among the misconduct alleged was holding a "highly suggestive photographic lineup" and inducing a witness to make a flawed identification of him as the kidnapper, leading to his wrongful conviction of that offense. While he was in custody on the kidnapping charge, the plaintiff contends, the FBI agents arranged for an "unreliable jailhouse informant" to be placed into his cell to create false evidence, including telling them that the plaintiff had confessed to two murders.

     The plaintiff claims that the jailhouse informant was "wired" during the conversations and that audiotapes did not show any such confession, but that the agents subsequently claimed that the confession occurred during a brief time when the tape recorder supposedly failed to operate. His murder conviction was alleged to have been caused by the FBI agents through their own false testimony and the testimony of the jailhouse informant, all of which the plaintiff claims was false.

     A federal appeals court noted that if the claims against the FBI agents were based solely on their own alleged perjury, they would be entitled to absolute immunity as witnesses. But it found that the plaintiff's claims went beyond perjury or conspiracy to commit perjury, including allegedly inducing a witness to falsely identify the plaintiff in a lineup, selecting a jailhouse informant and inducing the informant to create a false story in exchange for a reduction in his own sentence, and failing to tell prosecutors that they had done these things.

     The plaintiff also argued that the FBI agents created and submitted false reports stating that he had confessed when they knew he had not, "and destroyed or tampered with the physical evidence, namely the tapes of the purported confessions." Under these circumstances, the agents were not entitled to absolute immunity, because the claims were based on more than the purported false testimony at trial, but rather on the withholding of exculpatory evidence from prosecutors, and the alleged manufacture of incriminating evidence.

     The appeals court also rejected the FBI agents' qualified immunity claim. The mere fact that the plaintiff was already in custody when the FBI agents allegedly conspired to prosecute and convict him of murder did not bar him from claiming a deprivation of constitutional liberty under the due process clause, the court stated.

     The appeals court also rejected the argument by the FBI agents that any obligation to disclose exculpatory evidence was applicable only to prosecutors and not to law enforcement agents, citing Kyles v. Whitley, 514 U.S. 419 (1995) in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that the duty of turning over exculpatory evidence applies to investigating officers as well as prosecutors.

     Having rejected the FBI agents' claims for either absolute or qualified immunity, the appeals court ordered further proceedings in the case, without expressing an opinion as to the ultimate merits of the claims asserted by the plaintiff.

     Manning v. Miller, #02C372, 355 F. 3d 1028 (7th Cir. 2004).

     » Click here to read the text of the opinion on the Internet. [PDF]

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Medical Care

Officer acted reasonably in not interfering with forcible blood and urine tests imposed on DUI arrestee by hospital doctor after he concluded that she was not competent to refuse consent and needed medical treatment to prevent the possibility of a drug overdose.

     After placing a motorist under arrest for driving under the influence of drugs, a police officer drove her to a nearby hospital for the purpose of obtaining a urine sample. She refused to provide a urine sample and to consent to a drug-screening test requested by the emergency room doctor. The doctor, however, after declaring the motorist not competent, without the assistance of the arresting officer, forcibly extracted blood and urine samples from her.

     The motorist subsequently sued the city and several police officers for violation of her constitutional right to due process based on the imposition of unwanted medical treatment, as well as asserting various state law claims against them and hospital employees. The federal trial court granted summary judgment to the city and police officers on the federal civil rights claims, and declined to exercise jurisdiction over the state law claims.

     A federal appeals court upheld this result, ruling that the plaintiff motorist did not establish that the officers either breached a duty of care towards her or placed her in a dangerous situation by not preventing her forced treatment.

     The appeals court noted that the motorist had admitted, to the officer, taking a drug called Soma, which had been prescribed for her sister, and had difficulty walking unassisted. The doctor at the hospital also observed that the motorist's speech was slurred, that she was intermittently sleepy and alert, and that she had borderline low blood pressure, and was disoriented, stating that it was January instead of July.

     Based on all this, the doctor became concerned that the motorist may have overdosed on the Soma, with potentially fatal consequences, and may have ingested other drugs as well that would have exacerbated the effects of the Soma. The doctor believed that she was then incompetent to make decisions about her medical treatment, and told the officer that he planned to extract the blood and urine samples in order to determine the type and amount of drugs she had ingested. Additionally, hospital staff told the officer that they were concerned about potential liability if they allowed the motorist to leave the hospital and she overdosed.

     The officer did not have any medical training beyond CPR and basic first aid. Further, once the decision to proceed with the tests was made by the doctor, the officer played no role in the medical treatment, and she did not participate in whatever use of force was necessary to extract the samples. The tests ultimately revealed that the motorist had taken other drugs besides the Soma, such as benzodiazepines, marijuana, and opiates. The motorist was given counteracting agents designed to prevent overdoses and was then released back into police custody.

     Under DeShaney v. Winnebago County Dep't of Social Services, 489 U.S. 189 (1989), there is an exception to the general rule that officers have no constitutional duty to protect specific individuals from harm when those individuals are either in custody or the actions of an officer "creates" an enhanced danger to them.

     In this case, the motorist was a "pretrial detainee" while at the hospital, so the officer did have some duty to provide a certain level of care and safety.

     The facts, however, did not support the plaintiff's contention that the officer was aware of a substantial risk of injury to the motorist in the form of a battery (the forced medical treatment), but failed to prevent this known danger. "Rather, the evidence suggests that it is precisely because" the officer did not intervene with the medical treatment that any obligations to the plaintiff were met.

     The officer acted reasonably in choosing not to question a licensed physician's determination that treatment was necessary and that the motorist was not competent to decide otherwise. Indeed, the court commented, had an officer prevented the treatment, and the motorist suffered negative health consequences as a result, this might have constituted failure to provide appropriate medical care to a pretrial detainee.

     The actions by the officer which were complained of, the court concluded, were a reasonable attempt to "minimize danger" by allowing a licensed physician to exercise his judgment rather than substituting" the judgment of an officer.

     Estate of Allen v. City of Rockford, No. 02-1873, 349 F.3d 1015 (7th Cir. 2003).

     » Click here to read the text of the opinion on the Internet. [PDF]

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Public Protection: Disturbed/Suicidal Persons

Police officers were not entitled to qualified immunity in lawsuit brought by family of mentally ill man they shot and killed while he was driving his vehicle towards a toll plaza. Plaintiffs claimed that the officers shot him multiple times at close range and continued firing after all officers were out of the way of his vehicle, intending to hurt or kill him.

     A 42-year-old Maryland man with a history of bipolar disorder, a mental illness characterized by mood swings, including episodes of mania and delusional thinking, had a history of conflicts with family members, other persons, and with the police. He had also had delusions, such as believing that he had special powers. He allegedly stopped taking his prescribed medications, and was driving a car in the terminal area of the Baltimore Washington International Airport when a police officer recorded him speeding at 51 m.p.h. in a 25 m.p.h. zone.

     The officer gave chase onto nearby highways, and additional police vehicles joined the chase. Officers heard a radio transmission from one police vehicle indicating that the motorist had tried to "run me off the road," and another stating that the motorist "reached under the seat." The motorist proceeded to a lane at a toll plaza, and slowed down at first while then lunging or lurching forward. Officers who were on foot at that time aimed their weapons at the vehicle and fired a number of shots.

     The driver was struck and died from five gunshot wounds he sustained. It was disputed as to whether some of the officers were standing in the path of the vehicle when it began to accelerate again and before they shot.

     The motorist's surviving family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against three officers who allegedly shot at his vehicle.

     The officers' motion for qualified immunity was denied. If the plaintiffs' version of the events were to be believed, at the time of the shooting, the motorist was not steering the vehicle toward any officer and was then traveling at a slow rate of speed, accelerating only slightly by less than 4 miles per hour. At the time, therefore, he allegedly did not pose a serious threat to the safety of the officers or others, so that it was clearly established that their use of deadly force to apprehend him would be unconstitutional.

     The officers' alleged conduct of using deadly force to apprehend a mentally ill suspect was sufficient, the court stated, to permit a finding that the officers were not entitled to statutory immunity under Maryland statutes for state law claims also asserted in the claim. The plaintiffs claimed that the officers shot him multiple times at close range and continued to shoot him after all of the officers had moved out of the way of the vehicle, intending to hurt or kill him.

     Waterman v. Batton, 294 F. Supp. 2d 709 (D. Md. 2003).

     » Click here to read the text of the opinion on the AELE website.

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Public Protection: Informants


Federal appeals court finds that police sergeant and city were not liable for death of informant, murdered by gang members after he cooperated by furnishing information about their involvement in a prior gang killing. Sergeant, city, and prosecutor provided assistance to help informant leave town until he had to testify, and could not have foreseen that he would choose to remain in town (or return there), only to be killed in retaliation for his actions.

     A man in Minneapolis was murdered by gang members after he cooperated with police, and his widow and estate sued a police detective and the city, claiming a violation of his federal civil rights because of the alleged failure to adequately protect him. The decedent was a long-time member of the gang in question, known as the "Mickey Cobra" gang. While he was in the county jail on charges of armed robbery, he stated that he wanted to cooperate with the police in exchange for assistance with his state charges and a chance to start a new life free of gang ties.

     He was interviewed by two police sergeants and told them what he knew about the gang's criminal activities, including furnishing detailed information relating to the suspected Mickey Cobra gang-murder of a member of the Gangster Disciples, a rival gang. Subsequently, based on this information, an alleged gang member was indicted and arrested for the murder and a related attempted murder. The informant's sentence was reduced to three years probation in return for his assistance, and he was ordered to remain in contact with the prosecutor and available to testify at trial.

     The man arrested for the murder was discovered by jail officials to be attempting to mail a transcript of the informant's police statement to an outside friend, along with a handwritten note stating, "Check this out. Something must be done about this." Officers from the jail allegedly contacted one of the police sergeants about what they should do with the letter. The sergeant subsequently told them that the police were not interested in subpoenaing the letter, and that if the sheriff department's policies did not prohibit mailing the letter, he personally did not know how it could lawfully be withheld from mailing. Jail officials then released the hold on the letter and it was mailed to the outside friend.

     The police sergeant then informed the other sergeant who had been in on the interview of the informant, who in turn contacted the informant and advised him of the mailing. The informant expressed his fear that if the letter was circulated to gang members, his life could be in danger.

     Officers and the prosecutor's office, with court approval, gave the informant permission to leave town until he was needed to testify, and furnished some funds from a witness protection program to allow him to relocate. It was believed that the informant had left town and relocated to Arkansas. Less than a month later, police found the informant's body in an alley in Minneapolis, where he had been shot between 13 and 15 times. Three Mickey Cobra gang members were later indicted for the murder, with two of them convicted and one allegedly killed in Chicago before he could be arrested.

     A federal appeals court has ruled that the police sergeant who was sued by the widow and estate was protected against liability for violation of the informant's federal civil rights under the principles set down in DeShaney v. Winnebago County Dep't of Social Services, 489 U.S. 189 (1989). There is no general duty on states under federal civil rights law to protect individuals against private violence. Exceptions have been made in some instances where a special relationship--such as having a person in custody--or the existence of a "state-created danger" are found. The court found that no such exception applied in this case.

     The informant, the appeals court commented, "made a courageous decision" to leave the gang and cooperate with police in order to start a new life. By doing so, he "knowingly assumed a considerable risk" that gang members would eventually discover his cooperation and seek revenge against him. As a twenty-five year veteran member of the gang, he could "evaluate better than anyone the deadly risk inherent in cooperating with police."

      The appeals court also noted that the officer, the prosecutor, and others took actions to attempt to minimize the risk of a retaliatory gang "hit." The fact that the informant would chose to ultimately remain in or return to Minneapolis after being given assistance to leave, without informing authorities, was unknown to the defendant police sergeant. The informant "miscalculated the grave risk of harm he assumed," and "tragically, his miscalculation cost him his life."'

     The appeals court also failed to find that any official city policy, practice or custom caused the death. It rejected arguments that the city failed to properly train its officers in how to protect witnesses and informants.

     Gatlin v. Green, #02-3705, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 4864 (8th Cir. 2004).

     » Click here to read the text of the opinion on the Internet. [PDF]

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Pursuits: Law Enforcement

Any recklessness by one officer in continuing pursuit of vehicle after it spun out of control and hit a guardrail was "superseded" under Georgia state law by the actions of a second officer, from another city, in accelerating the speed of the pursuit to over 100 miles per hour at close range to pursued car. First officer and the city which employed him, therefore, were entitled to summary judgment in wrongful death claim made by family of driver of oncoming vehicle struck and killed by pursued car.

     A police officer employed by Bloomingdale City, Georgia allegedly pursued a fleeing motorist at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour, tailing the pursued vehicle closely so hat he could read the license tag number. An officer employed by Pooler City, Georgia followed the chase in a secondary pursuing vehicle at a distance of one-quarter mile or more. The fleeing motorist changed lanes and struck an oncoming vehicle, killing the driver.

     The deceased driver's family sued both cities and several of their employees for wrongful death. The City of Bloomingdale settled the claim, but the Pooler City defendants sought summary judgment, which the trial court denied.

     An intermediate Georgia appeals court reversed, finding no legal basis under state law for the imposition of liability on these defendants.

     While it was true that a Pooler City officer began the chase of the vehicle, suspected of being driven by a driver under the influence of alcohol who was going 80 miles per hour in a 45 mph zone, the officer's radio report of the chase was heard by officers in the neighboring City of Bloomingdale, and a Bloomingdale officer positioned his vehicle to assist.

     As the car entered Bloomingdale, the Bloomingdale officer activated his blue lights and siren and proceeded ahead of the chase to warn traffic. The pursued vehicle then passed the Bloomingdale officer's vehicle, which then took over the chase and became the primary pursuing officer, while the Pooler officer followed at a distance of one-quarter mile to serve as backup.

     The Bloomingdale officer caught up with the pursued vehicle and followed closely so that he could read the license tag, and the chase now exceeded speeds of 100 mph, reaching a clocked speed of 113 mph as the vehicles entered the next county. It was then that the pursued vehicle suddenly changed lanes to pass a vehicle and struck an oncoming vehicle head-on, killing both drivers.

     The plaintiffs claimed that the Pooler officer acted in reckless disregard of law enforcement procedures in two ways, by failing to discontinue the chase when he witnessed the pursued vehicle lose control and strike a guardrail, and by participating in the chase as the secondary pursuing officer, which it was argued "clearly heightened the risk of injury or death to others."

     A Georgia appeals court, however, in granting summary judgment to the City of Pooler and its officer, found that even if the Pooler officer did act in reckless disregard of police procedures, there was no showing that, at that point, his actions had anything to do with causing the eventual accident. His actions of continuing the chase after the pursued vehicle spun out of control was "superseded," the court ruled, by the Bloomingdale officer's actions in taking over the chase as the primary pursuing officer.

     Further, it was not until the chase reached the next county some miles down the road, following a minute and forty-five seconds of 100-plus mph high-speed pursuit, with the Bloomingdale officer "crowding the bumper" of the pursued car, that the accident occurred.

     It was the actions of the Bloomingdale officer in accelerating the speed of the pursuit to such high speeds at such close quarters, the appeals court found, which "intervened as a matter of law to break the causal chain between the actions of the Pooler officer and the accident."

     Since the "undisputed evidence" showed that the Pooler officer's actions were not a proximate cause of the accident, "the claims against him must fall," along with claims against the City of Pooler and other Pooler officials, all of which were ultimately based on the officer's actions.

     City of Pooler v. Edenfield, No. A03A1538, 587 S.E.2d 408 (Ga. App. 2003).

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Search and Seizure: Person

Police officer was entitled to qualified immunity for making investigatory stop of woman even if based merely on suspicion of possession of gun, which is not necessarily a crime, when investigatory stop and search occurred prior to U.S. Supreme Court decision clearly establishing the law on the issue. He was not, however, entitled to qualified immunity on the manner in which the stop was carried out, using a "sensory overload" technique designed to frighten and disorient the person.

     A police officer and his partner observed a woman in a van, a 55 year-old African-American who was a teacher and guidance counselor in a public school. They believed that she might be the woman identified in a dispatch report concerning a woman driving a van believed to be in possession of a gun. (It was later disputed whether the dispatch also said that shots had been fired or that the van had been stolen, but only undisputed that the report stated that the woman possessed a gun).

     The officers immediately activated their emergency lights and pulled the woman over. Then also broadcast the stop on the police radio, and at least five squad cars came to the scene. The officers blocked off the street, surrounded the van, and shined lights on the motorist, apparently to prevent her from seeing. They also pointed handguns, rifles and shotguns at her, and cocked their guns so that she could hear the clicking sounds of guns being prepared for firing.

     Several officers also shouted profanity-laced commands at her -- some over a public address systems -- such as "get your goddamn hands out and get out of the goddam car," "get the fuck out of the vehicle," and "shut your fucking mouth or I'll shoot." These tactics, taken together, subjected the motorist to "sensory overload," a court later commented, and it appeared that their purpose was to frighten and disorient her.

     She complied with commands to exit the vehicle, place her hands on her head, and walk backwards toward the officer who had first stopped her, who prepared to handcuff her by grabbing her wrists and pulling her arms down while pushing at least one of her hands upward against her back. At this point, a radio transmission informed the officers that they had seized the wrong woman, and she was released. She was later treated at a local hospital for injuries to her arm, neck and shoulder, allegedly caused when the officer pulled her arms.

     She sued the city and the officer for allegedly unreasonable search and seizure. The officer sought summary judgment of the basis of qualified immunity.

     An investigatory stop not amounting to an arrest is authorized if the officer is able to point to "specific and articulable facts" that give rise to a reasonable suspicion that a crime is about to be or has been committed, under the principles set down in Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S.1 (1968). Such a detention must be limited in scope and carried out through the least restrictive means, as related to the circumstances of the stop and search.

     In this case, the court stated, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, a reasonable fact-finder could conclude that the officer lacked reasonable suspicion to believe that the plaintiff was involved in criminal activity. The dispatch report "stated only that the individual possessed a gun, which is not necessarily a crime." The court cited Florida v. J.L., 529 U.S. 266 (2000) (holding that an anonymous tip that a person is carrying a gun is, without more, insufficient to justify an officer's stop and frisk of that person and declining to adopt a "firearm exception" to the standard Terry analysis). Nevertheless, the court concluded that the officer was still entitled to qualified immunity for having made the decision to stop and frisk the plaintiff, since this took place prior to the U.S. Supreme Court decision clearly establishing the law on the matter.

     The court found that the use of the "sensory overload" method in this case, as well as causing the plaintiff to suffer physical injury from the pulling of her arms, was unreasonable under the circumstances, when there was no reason to suspect that the plaintiff had done anything more serious that possess a weapon, and she posed "little or no threat to the safety of the officers. At the time that the officer allegedly twisted her arm, she had complied with all of the officers' instructions, and was walking backward with her hands on her head, and was not resisting in any way. Additionally, she was a woman in her 50s and her physical capacity to resist was limited.

     Use of tactics designed to "terrify and disorient," combined with the use of unneeded physical force could lead a reasonable jury to conclude that the officer acted unreasonably in the manner in which the seizure was carried out was unreasonable, including pointing weapons at the plaintiff, cocking them, and threatening to fire, when she did not lead them to believe she was dangerous. The court found that the officer was not entitled to qualified immunity for these aspects of the plaintiff's claims, as he reasonably should have known that they were unlawful under the circumstances.

     Brown v. City of Milwaukee, #02-C-0178, 288 F. Supp. 2d 962 (E.D. Wis. 2003).

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Sexual Assault & Harassment


Federal appeals court reverses trial judge's grant of summary judgment to city in lawsuit brought by female motorist who claimed that police officer broke into her home and sexually assaulted her after obtaining her home address from her driver's license during traffic stop which might have been aimed solely at finding out where she lived. Court speculates that Illinois Supreme Court might find that the officer, because of his assertion of his official authority, acted within the scope of his employment, triggering a duty, on the part of the city, to indemnify the officer for any judgment against him.

     A female motorist involved in an accident sought the help of a Chicago police officer. He was allegedly attracted to her and asked her to have a drink with him, but she refused. He subsequently started calling her at her home at night, "pestering her for a date." She allegedly refused his invitations and also refused to tell him her address. One day, while on duty and in his police car, he saw her driving and ordered her to pull over.

     She claimed that he told her that she had done nothing wrong and would not be getting a ticket, but insisted on examining her driver's license so that he could learn her address. One morning several weeks later, he allegedly broke into her house while she was sleeping. She claimed that he grabbed her, rubbed against her, and exposed his penis to her. When she threatened to call 911 if he didn't leave, he alleged told her that he "is 911." Following another break-in by the officer and more harassing phone calls, she complained to the police department. The officer claimed, at a hearing on disciplinary charges, that the two had a "voluntary relationship that had gone bad," and he was suspended for ten months on trespass and telephone harassment charges, but was not found guilty on more serious sexual assault allegations.

     The woman sued the city and the officer, seeking damages for both violation of federal civil rights and misconduct under state law. The federal trial court granted summary judgment to the defendant city.

     Reversing on appeal, a federal appeals court noted that if the plaintiff obtained a substantial money judgment against the officer, it was doubtful that he would have the funds to pay it. But under Illinois state law, if the officer, in harassing the plaintiff, was acting within the scope of his employment, the city is required to pay the judgment under a state indemnification statute 745 ILCS 10/9-102.

     The general rule, the appeals court stated, is that an employer is only liable for intentional misconduct by an employee only if the misconduct was in "furtherance of his employment," i.e., if the employee's motive, or at least a motive, in committing the misconduct was to "serve his employer." Therefore, under the facts of this case, if the officer pulled the motorist over both to ticket her for a traffic offense and to get her address for entirely personal reasons, then some small part of the harassment would be within the scope of his employment.

     The appeals court further noted, however, that the plaintiff argued that even if the officer's motives were entirely personal, his misconduct was within the scope of his employment because he is a police officer who used "(that is misused)" his "authority to effectuate his personal design."

     The appeals court commented that "indispensable to law and order" as a police officer is, "he is also and inescapably a dangerous instrumentality," making an analogy to a "person who keeps a tiger in his backyard" being "strictly liable for the injuries caused by it." The court expressed the speculation that perhaps by analogy, "a police department should be held strictly liable for torts of police officers who use their official powers" to engage in misconduct. The power of a rogue police officer to inflict harm, the court stated, "is so great that more than ordinary care on the part of his employer may be required in order to provide adequate protection to the public."

     The Illinois Supreme Court, the federal appeals court further speculated, might accept the analogy and hold that the officer, if the facts alleged by the plaintiff were true, was acting within the scope of his employment in harassing her, and that the city was therefore entitled to indemnify him for any judgment.

     The federal appeals court, therefore, reinstated the plaintiff's claim against the city, and ordered further proceedings in the case, while making it clear that it was expressing no opinion as to whether or not the facts were as the plaintiff alleged.

     Doe v. City of Chicago, No. 03-2221, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 3811 (7th Cir. 2004).

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Noted in Brief

Assault and Battery: Physical

     Police officers who participated in the execution of a search warrant, but were not accused of use of physical force against a resident of the premises being searched could not be held "derivatively" liable for the actions of an officer who the plaintiff claimed struck him. Claims against these officers were therefore properly dismissed before jury trial which returned a verdict in favor of the remaining defendant officer. Willis v. Freeman, No. 02-1757. 93 Fed. Appx. 803 (7th Cir. 2003).

     Motorist who asserted claims for assault and battery and negligence against officer he claimed pulled him out of his car and beat him failed to make a case for a separate claim of negligence, requiring the court to overturn a jury verdict in his favor on the negligence claim. (The jury returned a verdict for the officer on the assault and battery claim). The conduct alleged was intentional conduct by the officer, and the plaintiff failed to allege any "negligence" other than the purported use of excessive force. District of Columbia v. Chinn, 839 A.2d 701 (D.C. 2003). [PDF]

     Dispute as to whether police officer intentionally used his car to run down suspect in order to arrest him or whether, as officer argued, he was only positioning his patrol car so that he could exit the vehicle and pursue the suspect on foot, when the suspect ran into the patrol car, made trial court's dismissal of arrestee's lawsuit inappropriate. Day v. Rogers, 71 Fed. Appx. 337 (5th Cir. 2003). [PDF]

     Trial judge's refusal to give jury instructions concerning the plaintiff's degenerative disc disease which purportedly made him more prone to injuries such as ruptured discs as a result of allegedly being stomped or kicked by officers was no basis for a new trial in his excessive force lawsuit. Rejected instructions related to the issue of damages to be awarded, which the jury did not even need, as they returned a verdict in favor of the defendant officers, rejecting the claim that excessive force had been used. Dawson v. Page, 286 F. Sup. 2d 617 (M.D.N.C. 2003).

Attorneys' Fees: For Plaintiff

     Arrestee who was awarded $1 in nominal damages on his claim that a police officer improperly arrested him for exercising his freedom of speech in putting him under arrest for disorderly conduct after he shouted at the officer for refusing to move his illegally parked personal vehicle was a prevailing party entitled to an award of attorneys' fees under Massachusetts state statute. Trial court awarded $45,451.36 as reasonable attorneys' fees and expenses. Norris v. Murphy, 287 F. Supp. 2d 111 (D. Mass. 2003).

Defenses: Indemnity

     Plaintiff awarded damages against police officer in federal civil rights lawsuit did not have the ability, after officer withdrew his demand for indemnification from the county, to pursue the application for indemnification on his own behalf. Lampkin v. Little, No. 03-7000, 85 Fed. Appx. 167 (10th Cir. 2004).

Defenses: Notice of Claims

     Police officer seeking to sue city for failing to provide him with proper respiratory or protective equipment, causing him to be injured by exposure to toxic substances in the course of his work related to the rescue and recovery operations from the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center adequately showed a reasonable excuse for his delay in filing the required notice of claim, and that the city had knowledge of the essential facts of his claim given the circumstances of destruction stemming from the attack, the well-publicized allegations of toxic substances in the smoke and debris, and the similar health claims made by many rescue workers. O'Halloran v. City of New York, 770 N.Y.S.2d 583 (Supreme Court, N.Y. County, 2003).

Defenses: Statute of Limitations

     A three-year statute of limitations under New York state law for alleged constitutional violations in connection with the arrest of a minor did not start to run until the plaintiff turned 18, so that her claim was timely filed, and would not be dismissed. Perez v. County of Nassau, 294 F. Supp. 2d 386 (E.D.N.Y. 2003).

Disability Discrimination

     Commissioner of Minnesota state Department of Public Safety was entitled to official immunity against lawsuit by disabled individual claiming that fees which are charged for a disabled parking permit violated a state disability discrimination statute. Podruch v. State Department of Public Safety, No. A03-809, 674 N.W.2d 252 (Minn. App. 2004).

False Arrest/Imprisonment: No Warrant

     Officers had probable cause to arrest suspect when complaining witness stated that the arrestee had stabbed him several times with an awl during an argument and that the arrestee was the aggressor. Additionally, the arrestee's subsequent indictment for assault created a presumption of probable cause for the arrest which the plaintiff arrestee failed to overcome in his false imprisonment and malicious prosecution lawsuit. Jenkins v. City of New York, 770 N.Y.S.2d 22 (A.D. 1st Dept. 2003).

     State trooper who had probable cause to arrest motorist for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) was entitled to summary judgment in motorist's subsequent false arrest lawsuit, even if he did not have probable cause for other offenses charged, such as leaving the scene of an accident or driving at an unsafe speed. "Probable cause is not needed on each and every offense that could be charged, probable cause is only needed for one of the offenses that may be charged under the circumstances." Ankele v. Hambrick, 286 F. Supp. 2d 485 (E.D. Pa. 2003).

Firearms Related: Intentional Use

     County was not liable for police officer's shooting of suspect who had taken hostages in his car, even if he had his hands up when he was shot, when the suspect and his accomplice were known to be armed and the suspect allegedly quickly opened the car door and lunged out so that the officer could not see his right hand at the time he fired. County review board reasonably decided that officer's shooting did not violate police department's use of force rules. Kanae v. Hodson, 294 F. Supp. 2d 1179 (D. Hawaii 2003).

Firearms: Licenses and Regulations

     Statute prohibiting firearms purchase by persons convicted of crimes punishable by more than one year of imprisonment was not designed to punish, but was aimed at promoting public safety, so that its retroactive application did not impermissibly increase the plaintiff's punishment. Plaintiff, who was convicted in 1962 of a larceny charge based on stealing beer worth $3.38, and was denied the right to purchase a rifle thirty-eight years later on the basis of that conviction, could still pursue a claim that the statute was unconstitutional as applied to him, so further proceedings are ordered on that claim, which the lower court improperly dismissed. Lehman v. Pennsylvania State Police, 839 A.2d 265 (Pa. 2003). [PDF]

Freedom of Information

     Audio tapes and transcripts of 911 calls made relating to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center were not exempt from disclosure under New York's Freedom of Information Law, McKinney's Public Officers Law Sec. 87. New York Times Company v. City of New York Fire Department, 770 N.Y.S.2d 324 (A.D. 1st Dept. 2004).

     FBI had no duty under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. Sec. 552, to attempt to reconstruct and produce documents that had previously been destroyed, and the identities and photos of FBI special agents, suspects, and witnesses in the highly-publicized kidnapping of the plaintiff's mother were protected from disclosure under an exemption for law enforcement information that could constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy. Documents relating to sources of information, which could disclose the identity of a confidential source were also exempt from disclosure, despite the fact that the kidnapping occurred over 30 years ago, when the convictions relating to the kidnapping had been overturned and no other charges relating to the crime had been filed. Information concerning an electronic device used for monitoring purposes was also exempt from disclosure, since revealing the identity of the device used would permit individuals being investigated to take countermeasures to avoid detection. The FBI could not, however, withhold a photo of an allegedly "government-doctored" fingerprint and related material, which the plaintiff asserted meant that the government tampered with evidence in the case. Piper v. U.S. Department of Justice, 294 F. Supp. 2d 16 (D.D.C. 2003).

Governmental Liability: Policy/Custom

     Plaintiffs failed to present evidence that any city policy or custom was responsible for police detective's alleged misconduct in illegally entering and searching their home, making an arrest of one resident, and using excessive force in doing so, barring any federal civil rights claim against the city. Griffin v. City of New York, 287 F. Supp. 2d 392 (S.D.N.Y. 2003).


     A city's sovereign immunity limiting liability for the negligence of a driver of a government vehicle except to the extent of insurance purchased did not prevent the recovery, by injured parties, of underinsured motorist benefits under their own auto insurance policy, despite a policy requirement to show damages "due by law" and a legal right to recover damages. Supreme Court of Kentucky rules that the insurer's attempt to exclude government-owned vehicles from the definition of "underinsured" vehicles was void under Kentucky state law. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company v. Hatfield, No. 2001-SCk-0969-DG, 122 S.W.3d 36 (Ky. 2003). [PDF]

     An arrestee who was suing several cities and police officers to recover damages for alleged misconduct, including false arrest, in the course of an investigation into alleged "scams" to defraud elderly women was entitled under Louisiana law to add a city's liability insurance carrier as a defendant and was entitled to a jury trial against the insurer. A state law prohibition against a jury trial on claims against a political subdivision did not apply to the political entity's liability insurer. Smith v. City of Lake Charles Police Department, No. 03-155, 858 So. 2d 869 (La. App. 3d Cir. 2003). [PDF]

Negligence: Vehicle Related

     Genuine issues of fact concerning whether funeral director arranged with sheriff's office for a police escort for a funeral procession, and whether the sheriff had a duty to provide such an escort made summary judgment for the sheriff inappropriate in a lawsuit brought by a motorist in the procession injured in a collision with another driver, claiming that the sheriff was negligent in failing to provide such an escort. Siripanyo v. Allstate Indemnity Company, No. 03-559, 862 So. 2d 1254 (La. App. 3d Cir. 2003). [PDF]

Off-Duty/Color of Law: Vehicle Related

     New York intermediate appellate court upholds $321,000 jury award against city to motorist allegedly knocked to the ground and punched in the face by an off-duty police officer after he rear-ended the officer's vehicle. Evidence was sufficient to show that the officer was acting within the scope of his employment and used excessive force when the officer requested the motorist's driver's license and detained him for up to half an hour until other police arrived. Graham v. City of New York, 770 N.Y.S.2d 92 (A.D. 2nd Dept. 2003).


     The alleged damage to an arrestee's ability to earn a living that stemmed from a purportedly false charge and false conviction for assault with a deadly weapon did not qualify as an injury to "business or property" as required to establish a claim for damages against a police officer under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1961, et seq. Diaz v. Gates, #02-56818, 354 F.3d 1169 (9th Cir. 2004). [PDF]

     Municipalities could not have the required "criminal intent" needed to show a "pattern of racketeering activity" under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1961, et seq., and a plaintiff traffic flagging service failed to show commission of predicate criminal acts by police union presidents, so court orders dismissal of RICO lawsuit against municipalities and presidents claiming that plaintiff lost contracts because of ordinances giving law enforcement officers the exclusive right or right of first refusal on contracts to provide traffic control services. Interstate Flagging, Inc. v. Town of Darien, 283 F. Supp. 2d 641 (D. Conn. 2003).

Search and Seizure: Home/Business

     Factual issues concerning whether officer's search of man's residence, yard, and barn in an effort to locate a woman purportedly involved in a domestic dispute with him was justified by exigent circumstances or the plaintiff's consent barred summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity in the man's civil rights lawsuit. Colao v. Mills, 770 N.Y.S.2d 474 (A.D. 3d Dept. 2004). [PDF]

     Motorcycle club whose documents and records were lawfully seized by state law enforcement from their clubhouse had no reasonable expectation of privacy in those materials following the seizure, federal appeals court rules, upholding dismissal of civil rights claim against federal agent to whom those materials were subsequently turned over pursuant to an administrative subpoena. Motorcycle club, therefore, had no constitutional right to notice and an opportunity to contest the subpoena. Hell's Angels Motorcycle Corporation, No. 02-15215, 354 F.3d 1000 (9th Cir. 2004). [PDF]

Search and Seizure: Person

     Reasonably competent police officers could have disagreed as to whether probable cause was required to search a student suspected of drug possession when the search was conducted by school officials, so that an officer who suggested that the principal search the student in a school office was entitled to qualified immunity from the student's lawsuit claiming that he was unlawfully detained and searched. Doyle v. Rondout Valley Central School District, 770 N.Y.S.2d 480 (A.D. 3d Dept. 2004).[PDF]

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

     Foreign Language Proficiency: Español for Law Enforcement: An Interactive Training Tool February 2004 This CD-ROM (NCJ 201801) was developed to help law enforcement officers obtain a working knowledge of Spanish and apply it to law enforcement situations. The video walks viewers through English translations, phonetic spellings, and pronunciations of Spanish words in situations involving interviews, crime scenes, motor vehicles, and domestic violence. To obtain a copy of this CD-ROM, visit NCJRS's Online Store or call or write to NCJRS at: NCJRS P.O. Box 6000 Rockville, MD 20859-6000 Fax: 301-519-5212 Phone: 800-851-3420 (toll free).

     Body Armor: Status Report to the Attorney General on Body Armor Safety Initiative Testing and Activities, March 2004. [PDF] (558 KB)

     Chemical Weapons: "Deaths in Police Confrontations When Oleoresin Capsicum is Used" by Charles S. Petty, M.D., 2/2004, NCJ 204029. 52 pgs. A study of 63 incidents. [PDF].

    E-mail and Internet Issues: Special Report on "Phishing" - criminal use of fraudulent e-mail and Web sites to obtain personal information. Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice (2004). [PDF] Includes a discussion of federal criminal laws such e-mails may violate, and links to some other resources on the topic. See also the Federal Trade Commission's webpage on "How Not to Get Hooked by a 'Phishing' Scam."

     Publications: Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary, published on-line weekly by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC), a program of the National Institute of Justice.

     Search and Seizure: "Consent Searches," by Jayme Walker Holcom, J.D., Chief of the Legal Instruction Section, DEA Training Academy, 73 FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin No. 2, pgs. 22-32 (February 2004). [PDF] Also available in .html format. "Officers must conduct consent searches in a reasonable manner and be prepared to explain the circumstances surrounding the search."

     Stress: "Stress and Job Satisfaction in an Urban Sheriff's Department: Contributions of Work and Family History, Community-Oriented Policing and Job Assignment," by Carole Barnes, Ph.D., Joseph Sheley Ph.D., Valory Logsdon and Sandra Sutherland. Feb. 2004. NCJ 203978. 178 pgs. [PDF]

     Vehicles: Michigan State Police Tests 2004 Patrol Vehicles, January 2004. The results of the 2003 model year tests are now available in this bulletin. [PDF] [ASCII Text File].


     • Abbreviations of Law Reports, laws and agencies used in our publications.

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

Cross References

Featured Cases:

Defenses: Absolute Immunity -- See also Malicious Prosecution
Defenses: Indemnity -- See also Sexual Assault and Harassment
Defenses: Qualified Immunity -- See also False Arrest/Imprisonment: No Warrant (2nd case)
Defenses: Qualified Immunity -- See also Malicious Prosecution
Defenses: Qualified Immunity -- See also Public Protection: Disturbed/Suicidal Persons
Defenses: Qualified Immunity -- See also Search and Seizure: Person
Domestic Violence -- See also False Arrest/Imprisonment: No Warrant (2nd case)
False Arrest/Imprisonment: No Warrant -- See also Defenses: Qualified Immunity
Firearms Related: Intentional Use -- See also Public Protection: Disturbed/Suicidal Persons
Governmental Liability: Policy/Custom -- See also Sexual Assault and Harassment

Noted in Brief Cases:
Damages: Jury Trial Right -- See also Insurance (2nd case)
Defenses: Official Immunity -- See also, Disability Discrimination
Defenses: Qualified Immunity -- See also, Search and Seizure: Person
Domestic Violence -- See also, Search and Seizure: Home/Business (1st case)
False Arrest/Imprisonment: No Warrant -- See also, Attorneys' Fees: For Plaintiff
False Arrest/Imprisonment: No Warrant -- See also Insurance (2nd case)
False Arrest/Imprisonment: No Warrant -- See also, RICO (1st case)
First Amendment -- See also, Attorneys' Fees: For Plaintiff
Governmental Liability: Policy/Custom -- See also, Firearms Related: Intentional Use
Governmental Liability: Policy/Custom -- See also, RICO (2nd case)
Malicious Prosecution -- See also, False Arrest/Imprisonment: No Warrant (1st case)
Negligence: Vehicle Related -- See also Insurance (1st case)
Off-Duty/Color of Law: Personal Action -- See also, Off-Duty/Color of Law: Vehicle Related
Police Plaintiffs -- See also, Defenses: Notice of Claims

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