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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.

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Cases involving the questioning of suspect  

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Cases that had a significant impact on the law

Use of Force

Cases involving police uses of force
Cases involving searches and seizures of persons a property

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Cases involving minors   

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US v. Jones, No. 19-6182 (10th Cir. 2021)-Jones had misdemeanor warrants. He also failed to appear in court. A bail bondsman contacted the Sheriff's office and informed them that Jones was living in a shop and gave the address. The Deputy went to the address and arrested Jones. He also did a protective sweep of the residence and found a gun. He got a search warrant for the gun. Jones was a convicted felon and was charged with possessing the gun. He made a motion to suppress the gun claiming that the shop belonged to his grandfather. The deputy was required to get a search warrant to enter and arrest him. The court held that the deputy had reliable information to believe that Jones was living at the shop. A search warrant was not required to enter and arrest. The Arrest warrant was sufficient.

Use of Force-

Wilkins v. Gaddy, 08-10914 (SCOTUS 2010)-The District Court and the 4th Circuit ruled that a person could not claim an excessive use of force if the injuries were de minimis. The Supreme Court reversed these courts and held that  injury and force are only imperfectly correlated, and it is the latter that ultimately counts. Wilkins only needs to show that the his injuries were caused "maliciously and sadistically". 


Zuress v. Newark, No. 19-3945 (6th Cir. 2020)-Zuress was actively resisting arrest and was bitten by a police dog. The dog continued to bite for 24 seconds after she was subdued. She sued claiming excessive use of force. The Court held that the deployment of the dog was justified and that the continued bite for 24 seconds was not an excessive use of force. The fact of the case was that for the 24 seconds the officer was trying to get the dog to release the bite. While the officer was working to get the dog to release his bite, the continued bite was not a "means intentionally applied." Therefore, the continued bite was not a Fourth Amendment violation.


Lange v. California, No. 20-18 (SCOTUS 2021)-A California Highway Patrol Officer tried to stop Lange on traffic using emergency lights for playing loud music and honking his horn. Lange did not stop. He drove to his home and pulled into his garage. The officer followed Lange into his garage. He saw signs of intoxication and arrested him. Lange moved to suppress evidence after the officer entered the garage. The lower court denied the request. Lange appealed to the California Court of Appeal. This court held that Lange could not defeat an arrest begun in a public place by retreating into his home. The pursuit of a suspected misdemeanant, the court held, is always permissible under the exigent-circumstances exception to the warrant requirement.

SCOTUS refused to create a categorical rule allowing the warrantless home entry when a suspected misdemeanant flees the police. The flight of a suspected misdemeanant does not always justify a warrantless entry into a home. An officer must consider all the circumstances in a pursuit case to determine whether there is a law enforcement emergency. On many occasions, the officer will have good reason to enter—to prevent imminent harms of violence, destruction of evidence, or escape from the home. But when the officer has time to get a warrant, he must do so—even though the misdemeanant fled.

SCOTUS held in the case US v. Santana in 1976 that we can pursue a felon into a home without a warrant, but it never established a ruling on pursuing misdemeanants, until now.


Search Warrant Exceptions

One of the most significant expressions of police power and authority over a citizen is the execution of a search of that citizen’s person or property. The unchecked government intrusion into the personal effects of any citizen was abhorrent to the founding fathers of this country. Because of this, the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution was written: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses...

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When Should You Read Someone Their Miranda Rights?

  What are Miranda warnings? The United States Supreme Court in the case of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), established an irrebuttable presumption that a statement is involuntary if made during a custodial interrogation without the "Miranda Warnings" given...

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Can a Passenger Be Detained on a Traffic Stop?

  We in the United States are blessed with the recognition that we can travel freely without government interference. Sooner or later, though, just about everyone that operates a motor vehicle or is a passenger in one will be stopped by a law enforcement officer...

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Law Enforcement and Drivers from Foreign Countries

Law enforcement agencies across this country should review the practices of their officers and their department procedures on handling foreign drivers. As I write, I must clarify that I have not reviewed the state statutes of all the states in regards to operators with foreign licenses. I have, however, read many of them and they are consistent with the points...

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Duty to Take Risks, Not Abuse

Any person that wants to be a police officer must accept the inherent risks that go with the job. At any moment, on any traffic stop or call, anything can happen to a police officer. We proactively seek out offenders committing crimes. We also respond to calls from the citizens of our communities who need us to stand between them and the violent criminals that may pray upon them. We wade into the fray and break up fights and riots...

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 It is no secret that police and defense attorneys bare a lot of animosity toward each other. The only time they deal with each other is during the adversarial court process. Often times, attorneys treat officers with distain. Lazy and disreputable attorneys will falsely paint officers as corrupt, racists, prevaricators, or any other thing to make the officer appear to be of far worse makeup than the defendant...

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Good Cops Are Forged in the Fire of Good Defense Attorneys

The United States Supreme Court described Curtilage in the case US v. Dunn as that area which harbors the "intimate activity associated with the `sanctity of a man's home and the privacies of life.'" Curtilage is the area surrounding a home where occupants have a reasonable, but diminished expectation of privacy from government intrusion...

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An Officer's View on Racial Profiling

Racial profiling is a common accusation thrown at police. Rarely, though, to people think about what it really means. They only have an emotional reaction to the accusation. The ACLU defines racial profiling as, "When law enforcement and private security target people of color for humiliating and often frightening detentions, interrogations, and searches without evidence of criminal activity...

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