"Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, and who is neither tarnished nor afraid." Raymond Chandler
Case Law 4 Cops contains information on hundreds of court cases. These cases are important to officers and citizens alike. The cases cover what officers can and cannot do in several areas of law. Follow the links below.
Mitchell v. Wisconsin, No. 18-6210 (SCOTUS 2019)-When a drunk driver is unconscious, the general rule is that a warrant is not needed to draw blood to determine blood alcohol content. There are two factors in this type of case. 1. The alcohol is dissipating. 2. Unconsciousness creates a medical emergency. The person might require a blood draw for medical reasons anyway, and medical treatment may delay or distort the results of a later blood draw. The exigent circumstances allow for the warrantless blood draw.
Nieves v. Bartlett, No. 17-1174 (SCOTUS 2019)-Bartlett was intoxicated and interfering with officers while they were talking to a group of people. Bartlett was yelling to the people not to talk to the police. He also stepped in between a minor and a Trooper. The Trooper was talking to the minor to see if he had been drinking intoxicating beverages. Bartlett was aggressive and actively trying to keep the Trooper from talking to the minor. Ofc Nieves, who had a confrontation a few minutes earlier, stepped over. He arrested Bartlett. Bartlett resisted and was taken to the ground. He was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Bartlett sued claiming the officers violated his 1st Amendment rights and retaliated against him because of his speech. The Court held that because there was probable cause to arrest Bartlett, his retaliatory arrest claim fails as a matter of law.
US v. Castro, No. 17-1901 (3rd Cir. 2018)-An anonymous caller reported that a Hispanic male was pointing a gun at juveniles. The caller gave a description of the person. An officer contacted a person matching the description. As the officer approached, he politely asked the person to remove his hands from his pockets. When the person did, the officer saw a pistol grip protruding from his pocket. The person was arrested. The person, Castro tried to suppress the evidence. He claimed the officer unlawfully seized him when he had Castro remove his hands from his pockets. The Circuit Court held that the officer did not demand the hands be removed, but politely asked him. Asking Castro to remove his hands from his pockets under these circumstances was not a seizure. The gun was not suppressed.
US v. Knapp, No. 18-8031 (10th Cir. 2019)-A police officer can search a person incident to arrest without further justification. The person includes the clothes the person is wearing, but it does not include hand held containers such as a purse. A purse is considered an object within the area of immediate control of the person. Before an officer can search a purse incident to arrest, the officer must establish that the person could access the purse at the time of the search. The Circuit Court looked at the following factors to determine whether an area searched is within an arrestee's reach: (1) whether the arrestee is handcuffed; (2) the relative number of arrestees and officers present; (3) the relative positions of the arrestees, officers, and the place to be searched; and (4) the ease or difficulty with which the arrestee could gain access to the searched area. In this case, Knapp was handcuffed with an officer next to her and two others nearby. The purse was closed and 3 to 4 feet away from Knapp. The Circuit Court held that the case did not justify a search incident to arrest and the exception did not apply. The search of the purse was unlawful.