AELE LAW LIBRARY OF CASE SUMMARIES:
Civil Liability of Law Enforcement Agencies & Personnel
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Police Plaintiff: Search and Seizure
A number of police
officers claimed that two other officers violated their Fourth and Fourteenth
Amendment rights when they complied with a court order to obtain DNA samples
from them to exclude them as possible contributors of DNA at a crime scene.
The samples were of saliva, obtained by use ol a mouth swab. A federal
appeals court ruled that the court order in question satisfied the Warrant
Clause of the Fourth Amendment, and that no undue intrusion occurred as
the use of buccal swabs was brief and minimal, intrusions that involve
almost no risk, trauma, or pain. As to a reasonable expectation of privacy,
it was reasonable to require officers to produce such samples to to demonstrate
that DNA left at a crime scene was not theirs and was not the result of
inadvertent contamination of the crime scene by on-duty officers.
Bill v. Brewer, #13-15844, 799 F.3d 1295 (9th
Given eyewitness accounts of him drinking and the presence of an open bottle labeled as containing alcohol in a police officer's personal vehicle when he was stopped, there was probable cause to administer a breathalyzer test, as a reasonable person would have believed that he had committed a DUI. He was only charged with driving with an open container of alcohol when the breathalyzer detected no alcohol, and the open container charge was dropped when the liquid in the bottle was shown to have no alcohol. A police deputy superintendent who ordered him prosecuted was entitled to qualified immunity under the circumstances. Seiser v. City of Chicago, #13-1985, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 15473 (7th Cir.).
Police officials did not violate the Fourth Amendment rights of police officers by searching them after the residents of a home that they were searching accused him of stealing $1,750 in cash during the search. A reasonable person in the plaintiffs' position would not have feared arrest or detention if they had refused the defendants' request to search them for the money. The fact that one of the plaintiffs agreed to the search only because he was taking a nonprescription supplement to clean his colon and therefore had an immediate need to use the restroom and couldn't do so until he had been searched did not turn what occurred into a "seizure." Carter v. City of Milwaukee, #13-2187, (7th Cir.).
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