Legal Update Archive2018-08-06T22:11:41+00:00

OFFICERS THAT SHOT EMOTIONALLY DISTURBED MAN WITH A BIG STICK DID NOT VIOLATE THE FOURTH AMENDMENT

On August 17, 2018, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals decided Wilson v. Parker et al.[i], which serves as an excellent review of the law pertaining to the Fourth Amendment and the use of deadly force.  The relevant facts of Wilson, taken directly from the case, are as follows: A. Uncontested Facts On July 21, 2015, Parker and Thompson responded to a call stating that it sounded like two men were fighting in the woods behind the caller's house. Parker and Thompson began searching the woods using the procedure called "contact and cover," described above. Thompson made initial contact with [...]

By |February 12th, 2019|Categories: Legal updates|

ELEVENTH CIRCUIT DISCUSSES THE VEHICLE INVENTORY EXCEPTION TO THE WARRANT REQUIREMENT

On September 11, 2018, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals decided the United States v. Moss[i], in which the court discussed the vehicle inventory exception to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment. The relevant facts of Moss are as follows: On August 6, 2015, at approximately two o'clock in the morning, Miami Gardens Police Department officers on patrol saw a 2002 silver Buick bearing temporary Florida paper license tag BLH9635 exit the parking lot of an Exxon gas station in Miami Gardens, Florida. The officers observed that neither Mr. Moss, who was driving the vehicle, nor the front seat [...]

By |February 5th, 2019|Categories: Legal updates|

EIGHTH CIRCUIT DENIES QUALIFIED IMMUNITY FOR ARREST ON ALLEGED SCHOOL THREAT

On July 26, 2018, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals decided Ross v. City of Jackson, et al. [i], in which the court examined whether officers violated the Fourth Amendment when they arrested a man posted a comment on social media that was construed as a threat to a school.  The relevant facts of Ross are as follows: On January 25, 2015, James Ross was a 20-year-old resident of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and an active user of the social media website, Facebook. Facebook allows users to connect with each other by establishing "friend" relationships and posting items to a personal [...]

By |January 29th, 2019|Categories: Legal updates|

THIRD CIRCUIT AFFIRMS IMMUNITY FOR OFFICER IN EXCESSIVE FORCE HANDCUFFING CASE

On June 28, 2018, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals decided Graham-Smith v. City of Wilkes-Barre, et al. [i], in which the court examined whether an officer violated the Fourth Amendment when he handcuffed a woman and forcefully escorted her out of a business.  The relevant facts of Graham-Smith are as follows: Graham-Smith was involved in a car accident with another automobile on the morning of November 12, 2012. Graham-Smith acted "nervous and agitated" at the scene of the accident. She crossed the street to go to Luzerne Bank, though Graham-Smith disputes that her conduct constitutes the Pennsylvania misdemeanor of [...]

By |January 22nd, 2019|Categories: Legal updates|

WHEN IS A PRIVATE CITIZEN ACTING AS A GOVERNMENT AGENT?

On July 6, 2018, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals decided the United States v. Highbull[i], in which the court examined whether the Fourth Amendment applied when a woman retrieved a cell phone out of her boyfriend’s car and gave it to the police.  The relevant facts of Highbull are as follows: On February 19, 2015, the Sioux Falls Police Department received a domestic-disturbance call from a young boy, who reported that a man was harassing his mother. Andrew Mattson was the first officer to respond to the call. Upon arriving at the scene, Officer Mattson was flagged down by [...]

By |January 15th, 2019|Categories: Legal updates|

FIFTH CIRCUIT HOLDS K9 BITES WERE REASONABLE ON DANGEROUS SUSPECT WHO CLAIMS HE SURRENDERED

On July 11, 2018, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decided Escobar v. Montee[i], in which the court examined whether it was reasonable to allow a police K9 to bite a felony assault suspect who was within arm's reach of his knife for approximately a minute until he was safely handcuffed.  The relevant facts of Escobar are as follows: Escobar assaulted his wife in a restaurant parking lot, and then left her alone in a nearby retail lot. After noticing police vehicles at his house, he fled into the night. He ran through several neighbors' yards, finally hiding in the [...]

By |January 8th, 2019|Categories: Legal updates|