Police officer discharged from employment for allegedly stealing $160 from an arrestee was not deprived of any Fourth Amendment interest by the City requiring production of two days worth of bank records from him. Westbrook v. City of Omaha, 231 Fed. Appx. 519 (8th Cir. 2007)* (unpublished):
In this case, Omaha's intrusion began with a citizen complaint that Westbrook took money and wagered at a casino the next day, considered with his assertion of usually withdrawing money from an ATM before wagering. The scope of the intrusion was an order for two-days' record of Westbrook's banking, to which he complied. Under these circumstances, neither the inception nor the scope of intrusion was unreasonable. The investigation's purpose was to determine employee, work-related misconduct, and not criminal prosecution. See Uniformed Sanitation Men Ass'n, Inc. v. Comm'r of Sanitation, 392 U.S. 280, 284, 88 S. Ct. 1917, 20 L. Ed. 2d 1089 (1968) (citing Garrity v. New Jersey, 385 U.S. 493, 87 S. Ct. 616, 17 L. Ed. 2d 562 (1967), and stating "that testimony compelled by threat of dismissal from employment could not be used in a criminal prosecution of the witness"). Thus, the district court did not err in granting summary judgment on the Fourth Amendment claim.
Plaintiff stated a claim for excessive force for his arrest, and the right was clearly established, but he loses on qualified immunity because the officers would not clearly know that they violated his rights. Humphrey v. Mabry, 482 F.3d 840 (6th Cir. 2007).*
Defense counsel could not be ineffective for not raising what was, for all intents and purposes in the habeas petition, a frivolous ground to suppress. The search was clearly legal. United States v. Ball, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23426 (M.D. Fla. March 30, 2007).*
Civil rights case was barred by Heck because it sought to negate an element of the crime that plaintiff was convicted of. Houston v. Buffa, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23532 (E.D. Mich. March 30, 2007):
The court finds that, applying the rule of Heck to the facts of this case, Houston cannot proceed on either of his claims under § 1983. The fourth element of Interference with Police, as charged by the trial court, is that "the officer was then carrying out lawful duties." (Tr. at 213.) In order to proceed on either of Houston's claims, he would have to negate one element of the offense, thereby calling into question the validity of his conviction.
In Houston's underlying criminal trial, the parties presented two competing versions of the events of January 27, 2003. Under Houston's version, the police officers arrived at the club and immediately, without explanation, rationale or probable cause, placed him in handcuffs, took him into a back room and, without any provocation or motivation whatsoever, proceeded to beat him while he was still handcuffed. This is the exact factual scenario upon which Houston's § 1983 claims are based. Conversely, under the prosecution's version, Houston initially consented to speak with them in a back room but, on the way to the room, Houston began an altercation which essentially did not end until the police eventually got him to the back room and, after continued struggle, placed him in handcuffs and took him to the station. This is the exact factual scenario upon which the Officers' § 1983 defense is based.
Reasonable suspicion ripened into probable cause when a gun was found during a patdown. United States v. Johnson, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23119 (D. Del. March 29, 2007).*
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Section 1983 Blog
"If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. It isn't, and they don't."
"Love work; hate mastery over others; and avoid intimacy with the government."
—Shemaya, in the Thalmud
"A system of law that not only makes certain conduct criminal, but also lays
down rules for the conduct of the authorities, often becomes complex in its
application to individual cases, and will from time to time produce imperfect
results, especially if one's attention is confined to the particular case at
bar. Some criminals do go free because of the necessity of keeping
government and its servants in their place. That is one of the costs of having
and enforcing a Bill of Rights. This country is built on the assumption that
the cost is worth paying, and that in the long run we are all both freer and
safer if the Constitution is strictly enforced."
—Williams v. Nix, 700 F. 2d 1164, 1173 (8th Cir. 1983) (Richard Sheppard Arnold, J.), rev'd Nix v. Williams, 467 US. 431 (1984).
"The criminal goes free, if he must, but it is the law that sets him free. Nothing
can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws,
or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence."
—Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 659 (1961).
Any costs the exclusionary rule are costs imposed directly by the Fourth Amendment.
—Yale Kamisar, 86 Mich.L.Rev. 1, 36 n. 151 (1987).
"There have been powerful hydraulic pressures throughout our history that
bear heavily on the Court to water down constitutional guarantees and give the
police the upper hand. That hydraulic pressure has probably never been greater
than it is today."
— Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 39 (1968) (Douglas, J., dissenting).
"The great end, for which men entered into society, was to secure their
—Entick v. Carrington, 19 How.St.Tr. 1029, 1066, 95 Eng. Rep. 807 (C.P. 1765)
"It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have
frequently been forged in controversies involving not very nice people. And
so, while we are concerned here with a shabby defrauder, we must deal with his
case in the context of what are really the great themes expressed by the Fourth
—United States v. Rabinowitz, 339 U.S. 56, 69 (1950) (Frankfurter, J., dissenting)
"The course of true law pertaining to searches and seizures, as enunciated
here, has not–to put it mildly–run smooth."
—Chapman v. United States, 365 U.S. 610, 618 (1961) (Frankfurter, J., concurring).
"A search is a search, even if it happens to disclose nothing but the
bottom of a turntable."
—Arizona v. Hicks, 480 U.S. 321, 325 (1987)
"For the Fourth Amendment protects people, not places. What a person knowingly
exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth
Amendment protection. ... But what he seeks to preserve as private, even in
an area accessible to the public, may be constitutionally protected."
—Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 351 (1967)
“Experience should teach us to be most on guard to
protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born
to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded
rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men
of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”
—United States v. Olmstead, 277 U.S. 438, 479 (1925) (Brandeis, J., dissenting)
“Liberty—the freedom from unwarranted
intrusion by government—is as easily lost through insistent nibbles by
government officials who seek to do their jobs too well as by those whose purpose
it is to oppress; the piranha can be as deadly as the shark.”
—United States v. $124,570, 873 F.2d 1240, 1246 (9th Cir. 1989)
"You can't always get what you want /
But if you try sometimes / You just might find / You get what you need."
—Mick Jagger & Keith Richards
"In Germany, they first came for the communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for
the Catholics and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Catholic. Then they came
for me–and by that time there was nobody left to speak up."
—Martin Niemöller (1945) [he served seven years in a concentration camp]
“You know, most men would get discouraged by
now. Fortunately for you, I am not most men!”
—Pepé Le Pew
"There is never enough time, unless you are serving it."
"The point of the Fourth Amendment, which often is not grasped by zealous officers, is not that it denies law enforcement the support of the usual inferences which reasonable men draw from evidence. Its protection consists in requiring that those inferences be drawn by a neutral and detached magistrate instead of being judged by the officer engaged in the often competitive enterprise of ferreting out crime."
—Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 13-14 (1948)