Maresca v. Fuentes, No. 14-2163 (10th Cir 2015)-Fuentes, a new officer, ran the Marescas' vehicle tag on her in-car computer. She entered the tag number incorrectly. The tag she ran checked to a stolen vehicle that had a different description than the Marescas' vehicle. She did not check the vehicle description before conducting a high-risk felony traffic stop on the vehicle with other officers arriving to assist. The Marescas sued for false arrest and excessive force. Fuentes claimed that they were not arrested, but placed in investigative detention.
The Court held: Ordering people out of a vehicle at gunpoint and proning them on the ground, then handcuffing and securing them in a patrol car without any factual reason to believe they were armed and dangerous is beyond a Terry type investigative detention and is an arrest. Further, Fuentes could not rely on an unreasonable mistake of facts to develop probable cause. She had exculpatory evidence on her computer in the vehicle description which she failed to read. The arrest was unlawful and Fuentes was not entitled to qualified immunity.
Moore v. Pederson, No. 14-14201 (11th Cir 2015)-Under the Fourth Amendment, the home is a sacrosanct place that enjoys special protection from government intrusion. The government may not enter a person’s home to effect an arrest without a warrant, or probable cause plus either consent or exigent circumstances.
City of Los Angeles v. Patel, No. 13-1175 (SCOTUS, 2015)-The Court held that police, absent consent, must have a warrant or administrative subpoena to see a hotel's guest records.
Rodriguez v. US, 13-9972 (SCOTUS 2015)-The Court ruled that a traffic stop, absent reasonable suspicion or consent, cannot be extended even for a few minutes after the conclusion of a traffic stop in order to conduct a K-9 sniff of the vehicle. In this case the driver was stopped and issued a warning. He was then asked for permission to remain so the officer can conduct a K-9 sniff. The driver refused. The officer detained the driver anyway until another officer arrived. The officer conducted the K-9 sniff approx. 8 minutes after the stop was concluded. Drugs were found in the vehicle after the K-9 alerted. The driver was arrested. The Court held that the detention beyond the length of the traffic stop was an unreasonable seizure in violation of the Constitution.
Use of Force-
Aldaba v. Pickens, 13-7034 (10th Cir. 2015)-The justification for use of force on a mentally ill person with serious and deteriorating medical condition who needs treatment differs from a criminal who is a threat to the community. In this case the officers tased a patient at a hospital multiple times and forced him to the ground and handcuffed him. The patient died. The officers were not entitled to qualified immunity.
Cooper v. Bergeron, No. 13-1471 (1st Cir. 2015)-The court held that a victim identification of the suspect by a single voice recording was sufficient for admission at court barring any improper prior suggestions by police.
1. The driver had the apparent authority to give consent to search of the bag.
2. The bag was in easy reach of the driver.
3. Barber did not object to the search.
Barber's arrest was lawful.
Heien v. North Carolina, No. 13-604 (SCOTUS, 2014)-The officer stopped a vehicle for a brake light out. He became suspicious and asked for consent to search. He found trafficking weight of cocaine. Heien was arrested and convicted. Heien appealed to the State Supreme Court. The Court tossed the conviction because state law only requires one functioning brake light which Heien's vehicle had. The US Supreme Court held that as long as the mistake in law was reasonable, then the officer had reasonable suspicion to make the stop. The conviction stands.