AELE Seminars

Management, Oversight and Monitoring of Use of Force
Including ECW Post-Incident Forensics
Mar. 3-5, 2014 Las Vegas

Lethal and Less Lethal Force
Oct. 13-15, 2014 Orleans Hotel, Las Vegas

Public Safety Discipline and Internal Investigations
Dec. 15-17, 2014 Orleans Hotel, Las Vegas

Click here for more information about all AELE Seminars



 Search the Case Law Digest


A civil liability law publication for Law Enforcement
ISSN 0271-5481 Cite this issue as: 2014 LR February
Click here to view information on the editor of this publication.

Access the multi-year Civil Liability Case Digest

Return to the monthly publications menu
Report non-working links here
Some links are to PDF files - Adobe Reader must be used to view content

CONTENTS

Digest Topics
Assault and Battery: Physical
Defenses: Absolute Prosecutorial Immunity
False Arrest/Imprisonment: No Warrant
False Arrest/Imprisonment: Warrant (2 cases)
Firearms Related: Intentional Use
First Amendment (2 cases)
Privacy
Search and Seizure: Person

Resources

Cross References


AELE Seminars

Management, Oversight and Monitoring of Use of Force
Including ECW Post-Incident Forensics
Mar. 3-5, 2014 Las Vegas

Lethal and Less Lethal Force
Oct. 13-15, 2014 Orleans Hotel, Las Vegas

Public Safety Discipline and Internal Investigations
Dec. 15-17, 2014 Orleans Hotel, Las Vegas

Click here for more information about all AELE Seminars


MONTHLY CASE DIGEST

Assault and Battery: Physical

     A man arrested as a suspect in a double homicide sued an officer, claiming that while he was being transported she had kicked him in the face and hit him with a flashlight. In the civil rights lawsuit, the plaintiff fired his appointed lawyer, acting as his own attorney but later brought the lawyer back. He told the judge that he was ok with proceeding with the jury despite the fact that they had seen him arguing with his lawyer, and the jury returned a verdict for the officer. A federal appeals court ruled that he had waived his right to challenge a jury he had tried at the beginning to have removed for cause when he gave seemingly contradictory statements about whether he had ever been involved in the justice system. Washington v. Parkinson, #12-3042, 737 F.3d 470 (7th Cir. 2013).

Defenses: Absolute Prosecutorial Immunity

     Several off-duty police officers visited a woman's apartment by invitation and she and the officers engaged in sexual activity involving bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism. A neighbor later reported the incident, seeing her bloody swollen mouth, but the woman would not cooperate in the investigation. She later testified before a grand jury that she had allowed the men to urinate in her mouth because one had slapped and scared her. The officers were found not guilty of charges arising from the incident and sued those involved in the investigation and prosecution. Two prosecutors were entitled to both absolute and qualified immunity for their roles. Rogers v. O'Donnell, #12-6335, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 24830, 2013 Fed App. 0344P (6th Cir.).

False Arrest/Imprisonment: No Warrant

     Officers had probable cause to stop and arrest a motorist for speeding based on their radar gun's readings despite his challenge to their arrest of him for DUI. Additionally, as his blood alcohol reading was over the legal limit despite his claim that he had only one beer. The officers were entitled to summary judgment on a false arrest claim when the plaintiff presented no evidence of any inaccuracy in the radar gun. Jones v. City of Elkhart, #12-3912, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 24744 (7th Cir.).

False Arrest/Imprisonment: Warrant

     An animal control officer was not entitled to qualified immunity for obtaining an arrest warrant lacking evidentiary support and using it to arrest a woman for allegedly withholding information about rabid animals. Damages of $2,943.60 were properly awarded, but an award of attorneys' fees was reduced from $322,340.50 to $100,000, since the trial court overstated the extent of the plaintiff's success. McAfee v. Boczar, #13-1356, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 24709 (4th Cir.).

     City police who had a valid arrest warrant for a man with the same name as the plaintiff wanted for drug dealing could not be held liable under Nevada state law for mistakenly arresting him on 11 different occasions over a two year period, despite the fact that he was two years younger than the wanted suspect, had a tattoo on his left arm not mentioned in the warrant and had a different hair color. The incidents only stopped when the true suspect was arrested. The Nevada Supreme Court, while expressing sympathy for the plaintiff, said officers with a valid warrant should not have to choose between releasing a person closely meeting the warrant's description or detaining him and facing possible liability. Gonzalez v. Los Vegas Metro Police, #61120, 2013 Nev. Unpub. Lexis 1815.

Firearms Related: Intentional Use

****Editor's Case Alert****

     A woman called 911 to report that her sometime boyfriend, highly intoxicated and suicidal had just left her home despite a protective order that barred him from coming near her. Police observed his vehicles and gave chase. When he stopped, officers approached with guns drawn and ordered him to turn off the car and show his hands. Instead, he put his car in reverse, rammed a police vehicle, moving it 30 feet. Officers opened fire, severely wounding him, and removed him from the car. After pleading guilty to DUI, fleeing or evading police, and wanton endangerment, he sued for excessive force. A federal appeals court ruled that the officers were entitled to qualified immunity under these circumstances. Hocker v. Pikeville City Police Dep't., 13-5341, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 24930, 2013 Fed App. 0349P (6th Cir.).

First Amendment

     Demonstrators from an "Occupy" group were removed by police from a 24-hour-a-day protest on the grounds of a state legislature. The officers were not entitled to qualified immunity as the plaintiffs had a clearly established First Amendment right to demonstrate on the legislature's grounds after 6 p.m. when there was no existing valid time, place, and manner restriction. Occupy Columbia v. Haley, #13-1258, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 24866 (4th Cir.).

     A federal district court is allowing an "Occupy D.C." demonstrator to proceed with his claim that he was arrested for using profanity in violation of his First Amendment rights. Based on the facts alleged, no reasonable officer could have believed that there was probable cause for an arrest for disorderly conduct. The words spoken did not risk provoking violence. All he did was make the remark, addressed to no one in particular, "Ah, this fucking bullshit" when observing several people carrying pro-Tea Party signs entering a federal park. The Tea Party people did not respond, but U.S. Park police arrested him. Patterson v. U.S.A., #13-cv-0085, 2013 U.S. Dist. Lexis 178087(D.D.C.).

Privacy

    A village was entitled to summary judgment on claims that information placed on its parking tickets violated the federal Drivers Privacy Protection Act. While the information listed on the tickets was a "disclosure, it was an acceptable use of the information for purposes of identification and verification of the person to whom the ticket was issued. The court commented, however, that not all the information on the tickets may be necessary, while not spelling out which information might be problematic. Senne v. Palatine, #1:10-cv-05434, 2013 U.S. Dist. Lexis 168677 (N.D. Ill.). For prior opinions, see Senne v. Village of Palatine, #10-3243, 695 F.3d 597 (7th Cir. en banc. 2012), cert. denied, #12-573, 133 S. Ct. 2850, 186 L. Ed. 2d 909, 2013 U.S. Lexis 4737.

Search and Seizure: Person

     Agents from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and FBI were entitled to qualified immunity in a lawsuit brought over airport screening. The plaintiff did not show that any individual federal agent violated his clearly established rights under either the Fourth or First Amendments. He was allegedly detained, interrogated, handcuffed, and then jailed for a total of approximately five hours because he was carrying a deck of Arabic-English flashcards and a book critical of American interventionism. While the flashcards had numerous innocuous words, they also contained "bomb," "terrorist," "explosion," "attack," "battle," "kill," "to target," "to kidnap," and "to wound." George v. Rehiel, #11-4292, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 25604 (3rd Cir.).

Return to the Contents menu.

Report non-working links here


AELE Seminars

Management, Oversight and Monitoring of Use of Force
Including ECW Post-Incident Forensics
Mar. 3-5, 2014 Las Vegas

Lethal and Less Lethal Force
Oct. 13-15, 2014 Orleans Hotel, Las Vegas

Public Safety Discipline and Internal Investigations
Dec. 15-17, 2014 Orleans Hotel, Las Vegas

Click here for more information about all AELE Seminars


Resources

     Shootings: "Active Shooter Events from 2000 to 2012," by J. Pete Blair, M. Hunter Martaindale, and Terry Nichols, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin (January 2014).

     U.S. Supreme Court: "Supreme Court Cases: 2012 to 2013 Term," by Kevin Chechak, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin (January 2014).

Reference

Cross References
Assault and Battery: Flashlights -- See also, Assault and Battery: Physical
Attorneys' Fees: For Plaintiff -- See also, False Arrest/Imprisonment: Warrant (1st case)
False Arrest/Imprisonment: No Warrant -- See also, First Amendment (2nd case)
Police Plaintiff: Malicious Prosecution -- See also, Defenses: Absolute Prosecutorial Immunity
Parking Tickets -- See also, Privacy

Report non-working links here

Return to the Contents  menu.

Return to the  monthly publications menu

Access the multiyear Civil Liability Law  Case Digest

List of  links to court websites

Report non-working links  here.

© Copyright 2014 by AELE, Inc.
Contents may be downloaded, stored, printed or copied,
but may not be republished for commercial purposes.

Library of Civil Liability Case Summaries

 Search the Case Law Digest