Everyone's Place for Police Related Case Law

"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.

 

New Cases

K-9-

Escobar v. Montee, 895 F. 3d 387 (5th Cir. 2018)-Escobar assualted his wife. He later fled into his neighborhood to avoid police at his house. The police were told that Escobar was armed with a knife. His mother told the police that they would have to kill Escobar because he will not go done without a fight. A K-9 was used to track Escobar down. He was located. The K-9 officer decided not to give Escobar a warning before throwing the K-9 over the fence. The K-9 officer followed the K-9 over the fence. Escober had a knife. The K-9 bit him. Escober dropped the knife in surrender, but the knife was within a couple of feet of him. The K-9 continued to bite Escobar for about a minute before the officers fully subdued and handcuffed him. Escobar sued under a 1983 action claiming his rights were violated. He was not given a warning before the K-9 bit him and the K-9 officer allowed the K-9 to continue biting after Escober surrendered and was not resisting. The lower court dismissed the initial bite claim, but denied the K-9 officer qualified immunity for the continued bite. The case was appealed to the 5th Circuit Court. The Court held that with the information provided to the officer, it was reasonable to believe that Escobar's surrender was not genuine. The officer's actions were proper and he was entitlted to qualified immunity.

Homes and Property-

Timbs v. Indiana, No. 17-1091 (SCOTUS 2019)-The Court held that the Excessive Fines clause of the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution applies to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process clause. An asset Forfeiture case prompted this decision. The decision only applied the Excessive Fines clause to the states. The Court did not rule on whether asset forfeitures are considered fines under this clause. This will be a new line of argument for future asset forfeiture cases.

Search incident to Arrest-

US v. Brixen, No. 18-1636 (7th Cir. 2018)-Brixen made arrangements through Snapchat to meet with a 14yr old girl to shop for underwear and bras. Brixen was actually chatting with a police officer. They agreed to meet. When Brixen showed up, he was arrested. He denied being at the location to meet anyone. The officers searched Brixen incident to arrest and removed his cell phone from his pocket. The officer sent a chat to Brixen's phone to confirm to Brixen he was chatting with a police officer. The phone screen showed the chat notification. After being shown this, Brixen admitted being there to meet with a 14 yrs old girl to show for undergarments. The officer later obtained a search warrant for the phone and found child pornography on it. Brixen tried to have the phone evidence suppressed. He claimed that looking at the phone screen of the chat notification was an unlawful warrantless search. He intended to keep this information private by leaving his phone in his pocket. The police, however, removed the phone allowing them to see the chat notification. The court held that Brixen lost his right to privacy when he was arrested. The officers could search and remove the phone incident to arrest. No further manipulation was needed by the police to see the chat notification. Therefore, Brixen had no reasonable expectation of privacy. The evidence was not suppressed.

K-9-

Colorado v. McKnight, 16CA0050 (Colorado Court of Appeals 2017)-When a dog is trained to only detect contraband, which is unlawful to possess, a sniff of a car is not a search. When a dog is trained to detect both a legal substance under Colorado law (marijuana) and contraband, the sniff becomes a search because a person has a legitimate expectation of privacy in the possession of marijuana. The Court held that reasonable suspicion of criminal activity is required before a dog trained to detect marijuana can be used to sniff a vehicle.