Archives

Supreme Court to Define Contours of False Arrest Claims

What if a police officer arrests someone because the officer doesn’t believe the person is telling the truth and there is evidence the officer is right?

 In District of Columbia v. Wesby the Supreme Court will decide whether, when the owner of a vacant house informs police he has not authorized entry, an officer assessing probable cause to arrest those inside for trespassing may discredit the suspects’ claims of an innocent mental state.

 Facts similar to those in this case may not arise very often. But police officers must assess claims of innocence in numerous other instances (theft, assault, even homicide). 

 Police officers arrested a group of late-night partygoers for trespass. The party-goers gave police conflicting reasons for why they were at the house (birthday party v. bachelor party). Some said “Peaches” invited them to the house; others said they were invited by another guest. Police officers called Peaches who told them she gave the partygoers permission to use the house. But she admitted that she had no permission to use the house herself; she was in the process of renting it. The landlord confirmed by phone that Peaches hadn’t signed a lease. The partygoers were never charged with trespass.

 The partygoers sued the police officers for violating their Fourth Amendment right to be free from false arrest. To be guilty of trespass the partygoers had to have entered the house knowing they were doing so “against the will of the lawful occupant or of the person lawfully in charge.” The partygoers claimed they did not know they lacked permission to be in the house. 

Continue reading

 

What Might Justice Gorsuch Mean for States and Local Governments?

The authors of Searching for Scalia evaluated who on President Trump’s list of potential nominees to replace Justice Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court would be most like Justice Scalia—the originalist, the textualist, and, most importantly, the conservative. The winner:  Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch!

While just one case is too few to judge any Supreme Court nominee, one case in particular gives states and local governments a reason to be excited about this nomination. Last year Judge Gorsuch (strongly) implied that given the opportunity the U.S. Supreme Court should overrule Quill Corp. v. North Dakota (1992). In Quill, the Supreme Court held that states cannot require retailers with no in-state physical presence to collect sales tax.

While Judge Gorsuch hasn’t ruled on abortion (an issue states care about) his most prominent rulings involve a related issue (the Affordable Care Act birth control mandate), which is not of particular interest to states and local governments.

Interestingly, in the one area of the law where the views of Judge Gorsuch and Justice Scalia differ—agency deference—the views of states and local governments are generally more in-line with Judge Gorsuch’s view.

Continue reading

 

SLLC Supreme Court Amicus Brief Urges Supreme Court to Pull the Plug on the Provocation Rule

Los Angeles County v. Mendez poses a simple question:  Should police officers be liable for the use of reasonable force (when they have done something they should not have).

In its amicus brief the State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) asks the Supreme Court to reject the “provocation” rule, under which any time a police officer violates the Fourth Amendment and violence ensues, the officer will be personally liable for money damages for the resulting physical injuries.

 In Los Angeles County v. Mendez everyone agrees police officers used reasonable force when they shot Angel Mendez. As officers entered, unannounced, the shack where Mendez was staying they saw a silhouette of Mendez pointing what looked like a rifle at them.  Mendez kept a BB gun in his bed to shoot rats when they entered the shack. Mendez claimed that when the officers entered the shack he was in the process of moving the BB gun so he could sit up in bed. The officers shot Mendez. Continue reading

 

Police Officer Liability for Reasonable Force?

It is undisputed that police officers used reasonable force when they shot Angel Mendez. As officers entered, unannounced, the shack where Mendez was living they saw a silhouette of Mendez pointing what looked like a rifle at them. Yet, the Ninth Circuit awarded him and his wife damages because the officers didn’t have a warrant to search the shack thereby “provoking” Mendez.

(Mendez kept a BB gun in his bed to shot rats when they entered the shack. Mendez claimed that when the officers entered the shack he was in the process of moving the BB gun so he could sit up in bed.)

In
Los Angeles County v. Mendez the Supreme Court must decide whether to accept or reject the Ninth Circuit’s “provocation” rule. Per this rule, “Where an officer intentionally or recklessly provokes a violent confrontation, if the provocation is an independent Fourth Amendment violation, he may be held liable for his otherwise defensive use of deadly force.” Continue reading

 

SCOTUS to Decide Whether Fourth Amendment Malicious Prosecution Claims are Possible

What does a litigant do when the statute of limitations has run on his or her best claim?  Get creative, of course, especially when the Supreme Court has left the door open.

Elijah Manuel was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance even though a field test indicated his pills weren’t illegal drugs. About six weeks after his arrest he was released when a state crime laboratory test cleared him.   Continue reading

 

Supreme Court Drunken Driving Case Implicates Police Practices

As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision in Birchfield v. North Dakota in states that criminalize the refusal to take a blood alcohol concentration tests, officers should offer only a breath (not blood) test unless they have a warrant.

The Court held 5-3 that states may criminalize an arrestee’s refusal to take a warrantless breath test. If states criminalize the refusal to take a blood test police must obtain a warrant. The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus brief arguing that states should be able to criminalize warrantless refusal to consent when a person is arrested upon suspicion of drunken driving.   Continue reading

 

Ferguson Finds its Way to the Supreme Court

Not directly, but certainly unmistakably.

A police officer stopped Edward Streiff after he left a suspected drug house. The officer discovered Streiff had an outstanding warrant, searched him (legally), and discovered he was carrying illegal drugs. The Supreme Court held 5-3 that even though the initial stop was illegal, the drug evidence could be admissible against Streiff in a trial.

Continue reading

 
 

Unconstitutional: Hotel Registry Ordinances and Statutes

While cities are rewriting their sign codes, per the Supreme Court’s decision last week in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona they should check to see if they have a hotel registry ordinance.  If they do, it will need some rewriting too.

In City of Los Angeles v. Patel the Supreme Court held 5-4 that a Los Angeles ordinance requiring hotel and motel operators to make their guest registries available to police without at least a subpoena violates the Fourth Amendment. In his dissenting opinion, Justice Scalia cites to the State and Local Legal Center’s (SLLC) amicus brief, which notes that local governments in at least 41 states have adopted similar ordinances. Eight states also have hotel registry statutes:  Indiana, Florida, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.  Continue reading

 

Getting around Rodriguez: As Easy as Justice Alito Suggests?

In a 6-3 decision issued this morning in Rodriguez v. United States, the Supreme Court held that a dog sniff conducted after a completed traffic stop violates the Fourth Amendment.  In a dissent, Justice Alito describes the Court’s holding as “unnecessary, impractical, and arbitrary” and suggests savvy officers can skirt it.

Officer Struble pulled over Dennys Rodriguez after he veered onto the shoulder of the highway and jerked back on the road. Officer Struble ran a records check on Rodriguez, then questioned his passenger and ran a records check on the passenger and called for backup, and next wrote Rodriguez a warning ticket. Seven or eight minutes passed between Officer Struble issuing the warning, back up arriving, and Officer Struble’s drug-sniffing dog alerting for drugs.  Rodriguez argued that prolonging the completed traffic stop without reasonable suspicion in order to conduct the dog sniff violated the Fourth Amendment. Continue reading

 

Supreme Court Rules GPS Monitoring of Sex Offenders is a Fourth Amendment Search

Beginning in the mid-2000s numerous states adopted “Jessica’s” laws requiring GPS monitoring of certain sex offenders.  These statutes have been challenged on a number of grounds—including that they violate the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches.  Eight states, including North Carolina, monitor sex offenders for life.

The Supreme Court ruling that GPS monitoring of certain sex offenders is a Fourth Amendment search doesn’t invalidate these statutes.  But if the lower court—and ultimately the Supreme Court—rule GPS monitoring is an unreasonable Fourth Amendment search—state statutes nationwide could be unconstitutional.

Continue reading

 

SLLC Amicus Brief Contemplates Fourth Amendment Facial Challenges, Hotel Registry Ordinance, and More…

The State and Local Legal Center’s (SLLC) Supreme Court amicus brief in Los Angeles v. Patel, which IMLA joined, is all that you expect from an amicus brief…and more.  It makes not one but all the usual amicus arguments:  don’t rule that state and local governments can be sued for yet another thing, if you rule against the city in this case many other cities and states will be affected, and a ruling against the city will likely impact many similar but unrelated statutes and ordinance. hotel   

A Los Angeles ordinance requires hotel and motel operators to keep specific information about their guests and allows police to inspect the registries without warrants.  Motel operators claim this ordinance is facially invalid under the Fourth Amendment.  The Ninth Circuit agreed, because the ordinance fails to expressly provide for pre-compliance judicial review before police can inspect the registry.   

The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed a Supreme Court amicus brief in Los Angeles v. Patel arguing that Fourth Amendment facial challenges should be disfavored and that if the ordinance in this case is unconstitutional similar hotel registry ordinances across the country—and laws and ordinances requiring record keeping and inspection of other businesses—may be unconstitutional. 

A facial challenge to the ordinance in this case requires a court to determine whether all searches that might be conducted pursuant to the ordinance are unconstitutional (as opposed to an as-applied challenge where the court would decide whether a particular search under the ordinance violates the Fourth Amendment). 

The SLLC argues that Fourth Amendment facial challenges don’t make sense because whether a search violates the Fourth Amendment depends on whether it is reasonable, which is necessarily a fact-based determination.  Under some set of facts almost any search would be reasonable.  For example, depending on the facts, warrantless searches of hotel registries could be reasonable under the “community care-taking exception,” because the registry is “in plain view,” or because of “exigent circumstances.” Continue reading

 

Heien v. North Carolina – A Win, But Not a Free Pass

In Heien v. North Carolina the Supreme Court held that a reasonable mistake of law can provide reasonable suspicion to uphold a traffic stop under the Fourth Amendment.

A police officer pulled over a car that had only one working brake light because he believed that North Carolina law required both brake lights to work.  The North Carolina Court of Appeals, interpreting a statute over a half a century old, concluded only one working brake light is required. highway stop

When the vehicle’s occupants behaved suspiciously, the officer asked to search the car.  They consented, and the officer found cocaine.  The owner of the car argued that the stop violated the Fourth Amendment because driving with one working brake light doesn’t violate North Carolina law.

The Supreme Court has long held that reasonable mistakes of fact do not undermine Fourth Amendment searches and seizures.  Justice Roberts reasoned in this 8-1 decision:  “Whether the facts turn out to be not what was thought, or the law turns out to be not what was thought, the result is the same: the facts are outside the scope of the law. There is no reason, under the text of the Fourth Amendment or our precedents, why this same result should be acceptable when reached by way of a reasonable mistake of fact, but not when reached by way of a similarly reasonable mistake of law.” Continue reading

 

Does the ADA Apply to Arrests?

The Fourth Amendment applies to arrests, no question about it.  What about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?  Specifically, do individuals with mental illnesses have to be accommodated under the ADA when being arrested?  The Ninth Circuit said yes and the Supreme Court has agreed to review its decision in City & County of San Francisco v. Sheehan.Gavel

When police officers entered Teresa Sheehan’s room in a group home for persons with mental illness she threatened to kill them with a knife she held, so they retreated.  When the officers reentered her room soon after leaving it, Sheehan stepped toward them with her knife raised and continued to hold it after the officers pepper sprayed and ultimately shot her.

Title II of the ADA provides that individuals with a disability must be able to participate in the “services, programs, or activities of a public entity,” and that their disability must be reasonably accommodated.

Sheehan argued that Title II of the ADA applies to arrests and that the officers should have taken her mental illness into account when reentering her room.  Her proposed accommodations included:  respecting her comfort zone, engaging in non-threatening communications, and using the passage of time to defuse the situation

The Ninth Circuit agreed with Sheehan that Title II of the ADA applies to arrests. Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:court collumn

First Circuit

Third Circuit

Sixth Circuit Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:court collumn

Fourth Circuit

Sixth Circuit

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are the last two weeks’ published decisions involving local governments:court collumn

Second Circuit

Sixth Circuit Continue reading

 

Hotels in the Hot Seat: Supreme Court Accepts Hotel Registry Case

Cities and states from California to Maine have confronted the problem of hotels that are crime magnets. hotel One solution that some evidence suggests effectively deters crime is ordinances or state laws that require hotels to keep detailed information about guests that are subject to police inspection.  These ordinances and laws generally do not require police to obtain a warrant.

In Los Angeles v. Patel a Los Angeles ordinance requires hotel and motel operators to keep specific information about their guests and allows police to inspect the registries without warrants.  Motel operators claim this ordinance is facially invalid under the Fourth Amendment.

The first issue the Supreme Court will decide in this case is whether facial challenges to ordinances and statutes are permitted under the Fourth Amendment. Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:court collumn

Sixth Circuit

  • Cass v. City of Dayton, No. 13-4409 (Oct. 16, 2014): In 1983 action alleging that officer used excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment, the court affirmed summary judgment for defendants because officer’s conduct was objectively reasonable and did not violate Fourth Amendment.

Seventh Circuit

Ninth Circuit Continue reading

 

Supreme Court Long Conference Results Are In!

Last Monday’s Supreme Court “long conference” did not disappoint.  The Supreme Court granted a total of 11 petitions.Supreme Court3  At least four of those cases are relevant to local government.

Housing discrimination.  For the third time the Court has accepted a case involving this issue of whether disparate-impact (as opposed to disparate treatment) claims can be brought under the Fair Housing Act (FHA).  It remains to be seen if Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project will settle like its predecessors, Mt. Holly v. Mt. Holly Citizens in Action and Magner v. Gallagher.  The 11 federal circuits that have decided this issue have all held that disparate-impact claims are actionable.  The Supreme Court is expected to rule to the contrary.  Local government have been sued for disparate impact under the FHA and have sued other entities.

Fourth Amendment search.  In its second Fourth Amendment case of the term, Rodriguez v. United States, the Court will decide whether a police officer violates the Fourth Amendment by extending (for just a few minutes) an already-completed traffic stop for a dog sniff.  The Eighth Circuit held the search in this case was reasonable.  The police officer waited seven or eight minutes after the traffic stop was completed before deploying his sniffer dog because he wanted backup given that there were two people in the stopped car.

Employment discriminationContinue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:court collumn

Second Circuit

Sixth Circuit

  • United Pet Supply, Inc. v. City of Chattanooga, No. 13-5181 (Sept. 18, 2014): The court found that: (i) private animal-welfare employee that contracted with City may not assert qualified immunity; (ii) officers may not assert qualified-immunity defense to “official capacity” suits; (iii) seizure of animals without prior hearing did not violate procedural due process; (iv) revocation of permit without hearing did violate due process; (v) that warrantless animal seizure did not violate Fourth Amendment because of exigent circumstances; and (vi) seizure of records without warrant violated clearly established Fourth-Amendment right and therefore officer was not entitled to qualified immunity.
  • Finn v. Warren County, No. 13-6629 (Sept. 16, 2014): In action alleging inadequte medical care in violation of the Eighth Amendment and state law claims including negligence after Finn died in his cell, the court reversed grant of summary judgment for officer, remanded for trial on negligence claim, and otherwise affirmed judgment below.

Seventh Circuit Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:court collumn

Ninth Circuit

Eleventh Circuit

  • West v. Davis, No. 13-14805 (Sept. 8, 2014): The court found that district court improperly granted summary judgment for security guard in case in which West challenged the actions of a security guard at courthouse security checkpoint; district court should have applied standard for “seizures” under the Fourth Amendment.

D.C. Circuit Continue reading

 

Supreme Court and Local Governments: What Will the Court Accept Next?

While the Supreme Court’s next term officially begins on October 6, its “long conference” is September 29.  At this conference the Court will review a backlog of petitions that have been piling up over the summer.  SCOTUSblog complies a list of petitions that it thinks have a reasonable chance of being granted.  Eight of the petitions the Court will consider either during the “long conference” or at a later conference directly involve or impact local governments.5554035521_f6b59ccafa_n

Public nuisance.  A Brighton, Michigan, ordinance presumes that an unsafe structure will be demolished as a public nuisance if the cost of repairing it exceeds its value.  The owner has no right to repair the structure.  Brighton property owners wanted to repair two unsafe structures even though Brighton estimated it would cost almost double the property value do so.  In Bonner v. City of Brighton, Michigan, the property owners claim the ordinance violates substantive and procedural due process.

Employment.  Under federal employment law to bring a discrimination claim a plaintiff must prove that an “adverse action” occurred, and to bring a retaliation claim a plaintiff must prove a “materially adverse action” occurred.  The question in Kalamazoo County Road Commission v. Deleon is whether either can be proven when an employer grants an employee’s request for a job transfer (and the new position turns out to be less desirable than the old position).  The International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA) filed an amicus brief in this case. Continue reading

 

IMLA Files Brief in Wyatt v. Gonzalez

On Friday, IMLA filed its brief in Wyatt v. Gonzalez,judicial bench a petition stage Supreme Court case, which involves a question of whether immaterial discrepancies in a police officer’s recollection of a stressful event amounted to a “genuine issue for trial” where the plaintiff offered no contradictory evidence.  In this case, the police officer was trapped inside a vehicle controlled by someone who had already committed several dangerous felonies.  The officer shot and killed the driver of the van, after he resisted verbal commands and non-lethal force.  The plaintiffs did not dispute that the driver of the van “stomped” on the accelerator with the officer trapped inside.  Nonetheless, the Ninth Circuit ruled that summary judgment on the plaintiffs’ Fourth Amendment claim was inappropriate because the parties disputed how fast the van was traveling at the time the officer employed deadly force.

IMLA’s brief argues that the Ninth Circuit’s focus on the speed of the van is misguided, as that particular fact is not material for the purposes of the summary judgment analysis.  Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Apologies that this edition is delayed. I was tied up with a significant filing for the past week. The courts were busy too. Here are the last two weeks’ published decisions involving local governments:court collumn

First Circuit

  • Penn v. Escorsio, No. 13-2309 (Aug. 22, 2014): The court affirmed the district court’s denial of qualified immunity at the summary judgment stage to corrections officers alleged to be deliberately indifferent to risk that detainee could commit suicide.  The court found that the issues presented on appeal were purely factual, and the court had no jurisdiction to decide them on interlocutory appeal.

Second Circuit Continue reading

 

Supreme Court Preview for Local Governments

Even though the Supreme Court’s next term won’t officially begin until October 6, the Court has already accepted about 40 of the 70 or so cases it will decide in the upcoming months.

For a more detailed summary of all the cases the Court has accepted so far affecting local government, read the State and Local Legal Center’s Supreme Court Preview for Local Governments.Supreme Court3

Here is a quick highlight of what is on the Court’s docket right now that will affect local government: Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:court collumn

Fourth Circuit

  • Cherry v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore City, No. 13-1007 (Aug. 6, 2014): In case brought by active and retired Baltimore police officers and fire fighters who participate in City’s pension plan, reversing district court’s decision that the City had violated the Contract Clause and affirming that the City had not violated the Takings Clause by changing how it calcualtes pension benefits.

Fifth Circuit

  • Thompson v. Mercer, No. 13-10773 (Aug. 7, 2014): In 1983 action against officer who shot and killed individual who had stolen vehicle and led police on a two-hour, high-speed chase, affirming grant of qualified immunity to officer because use of deadly force was not a constitutional violation.
  • Sullo & Bobbitt v. Milner, No. 13-10869 (Aug. 6, 2014): In unpublished decision, affirming dismissal of case brought by attorneys claiming First-Amendment right to access misdemeanor court records within one day of their filing.

Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:judicial bench

First Circuit

Merit Construction Alliance v. City of Quincy, No. 13-2189 (July 16, 2014): The court concluded that the district court: (1) properly determined that ERISA preempts a City ordinance mandating a specific apprentice-training program; and (2) erred by awarding attorney’s fees under ERISA’s fee-shifting statute.

Third Circuit

Batchelor v. Rose Tree Media Sch. Dist., No. 13-2192 (July 17, 2014): The court found that retaliation claims related to enforcement under the Indviduals with Disabilities in Education Act must be exhausted before a court may assert subject-matter jurisdiction. Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:law books

Sixth Circuit

Hescott v. City of Saginaw, No. 13-2103 (July 2, 2014) (ruling that district court erred denying attorney’s fees to Hescotts in their successful 1983 action claiming that the City had unconstitutionally seized their personal effects by demolishing their property).

Seventh Circuit

Scherr v. City of Chicago, No. 13-1992 (July 2, 2014) (affirming that 1983 suit against officer based on alleged Fourth-Amendment violation was properly dismissed). Continue reading

 

Can You Hear Me Now: Supreme Court Rules Cell Phone Privacy Isn’t Dead

Supreme Court watchers love technology cases.Supreme Court Technology is for the young, so the cliché goes, and the youngest Justices are middle age.  Court watchers speculate, will the Justices even understand the technology they are ruling? Justice Robert’s 28-page opinion in Riley v. California, discussing encryption, apps, and cloud computing, reads like a primer on how cell phones work. The Court held unanimously that generally police must first obtain a warrant before searching an arrested person’s cellphone. Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:Alexandria-court

First Circuit

Second Circuit Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:SCT pillars

Third Circuit

  • Rosano v. Township of Teaneck, No. 13-1263 (June 10, 2014) (in action by current and former police officers against Township alleging violation of Fair Labor Standards Act because it did not pay proper overtime and provide compensation for attending daily roll calls and putting on and taking off uniforms, affirming grant of summary judgment for Township).

Seventh Circuit

Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:NinthCircuit

First Circuit

Fifth Circuit

Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:Alexandria-court

First Circuit

  • Jones v. City of Boston, No. 12-2280 (May 7, 2014) (in suit challenging police department’s drug-testing program as causing disparate impact based on race, reversing denial of summary judgment for plaintiffs on whether they had proved a prima facie case of disparate impact under Title VII).

Sixth Circuit

Continue reading

 

Anonymous Tip: No Corroboration? No Problem!

Does an anonymous, unverified tip of dangerous driving justify a traffic stop? Yes, says a divided Supreme Court.highway stop

In Prado Navarette v. California an anonymous 911 caller reported that a vehicle had run her off the road.  The Court held 5-4 that a police stop complied with the Fourth Amendment because, under the totality of the circumstances, the officers had reasonable suspicion that the driver was intoxicated.  When police stopped the Navarette brothers they smelled marijuana.  A search of the vehicle revealed 30 pounds of marijuana.

The Court’s rationale, in an opinion written by Justice Thomas, is as follows.  The tip of dangerous driving was sufficiently reliable because Continue reading

 

Supreme Court To Decide if Mistakes of Law Invalidate Arrests

In Heien v. North Carolina a police officer pulled over a car because he thought that North Carolina law required that motor vehicles have two working brake lights. It turns out the officer was wrong. SupremeCourt2The North Carolina Court of Appeals concluded that state law requires motor vehicles to only have one working brake light.

When the driver and the passenger offered different stories as to where they were going, the officer asked to search the vehicle. Consent was granted and cocaine was found.

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether a traffic stop is permissible under the Fourth Amendment when it is based on an officer’s misunderstanding of the law. The North Carolina Supreme Court reasoned Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:Alexandria-court

First Circuit

Second Circuit

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:NinthCircuit

Third Circuit

  • M.R. v. Ridley School District, No. 12-4137 (Feb. 20, 2014) (finding under Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act that for “stay put” period: (1) school district must reimburse parents for private-school costs even if parents do not file a claim for payment until after a court has ruled for the school; and (2) the parents’ right to interim funding extends through the time of judicial appeal.).

Fourth Circuit

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:SCT stairs

Second Circuit

  • McColley v. County of Rensselaer, No. 12-2220 (Jan. 21, 2014) (affirming that whether officer and County were entitled to qualified immunity for alleged Fourth-Amendment violation arising out of search-warrant-application omissions turned on genuine issues of material fact, and concluding therefore that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction).

Fourth Circuit

  • Corr v. Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, No. 13-1076 (Jan. 21, 2014) (finding that tolls paid by drivers on the Dulles Toll Road are user fees not taxes, and that their collection by airport authority does not violate Virginia Constitution and motorists’ due-process rights).

Seventh Circuit Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Happy New Year to all of our readers.

Last week was a slow one for the courts. The only significant action for local governments came from the Ninth Circuit:

 

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are published decisions involving local governments from the federal appellate courts from December 23, 2013, through December 27, 2013:

Seventh Circuit

Ninth Circuit

Eleventh Circuit

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are published decisions involving local governments from the federal appellate courts from December 9, 2013, through December 13, 2013:

Sixth Circuit

Seventh Circuit

Ninth Circuit

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are published decisions involving local governments from the federal appellate courts from November 18, 2013 through November 22, 2013:

First Circuit:

Seventh Circuit:

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are published decisions involving local governments from the federal appellate courts from November 11, 2013 through November 15, 2013:

First Circuit

Second Circuit

  • Lynch v. City of New York, No. 12-3089 (Nov. 15, 2013) (affirming summary judgment for NYPD in Fourth-Amendment challenge to City policy requiring breathalyzer test for any officer whose firearm discharge results in death or injury; testing under the policy is a reasonable “special needs” search).

Seventh Circuit

D.C. Circuit

 

Seventh Circuit: Glance After Officers Open Wrong Apartment Door Not “Search”

In Balthazar v. City of Chicago, No. 12-3378 (Nov. 8, 2013), the Seventh Circuit addressed an interesting Fourth-Amendment question: is it a “search” for officers to mistakenly open the wrong apartment door and glance inside? Judge Posner said that in this case, it likely was not:

Police forced open the door of a residence by mistake, realized their mistake immediately (in fact before the door opened—for remember that Beckman tried to check the forward motion of the battering ram), and left immediately. With the door open in front of him he couldn’t have avoided seeing into the apartment without closing his eyes (which would have been dangerous). But having learned before looking that it was the wrong apartment, he wasn’t using his eyes to search for anything. Seeing can be searching, but isn’t always. Even before the door fell open, Beckman knew there was nothing to search for in the plaintiff’s apartment. . . . If you know you’re in the wrong place—a place you’re not authorized to search or want to search—the unavoidable glance through the open door is not a search.

 

Third Circuit: Authorities must obtain warrant to put GPS device on car

The Third Circuit decided this week that installing a GPS device on a car requires police to obtain a search warrant. The case, United States v. Katzin, builds upon the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Jones, which held that placing a GPS device on a car is a “search” for Fourth Amendment purposes. Katzin addresses when that search is reasonable. The court considered various exceptions to the warrant requirement in other contexts, but concluded that none applies here. The court recognized that it was the first circuit to address this issue.

See coverage from Lyle Denniston and Orin Kerr.