Police, The Fourth Amendment, Qualified Immunity

Mere allegations of messaging and massaging students are enough for police to arrest teacher

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Case: GONZALEZ v. BUTTS COUNTY, Civil Action No. 5:10-CV-164 (MTT) (M.D. Georgia, September 24, 2012)

What happened: A couple of students claimed that a teacher (the plaintiff) engaged in inappropriate conduct, such as inappropriate text messages and massaging one of them at school. Plaintiff was arrested, had his hoe searched and apparently lost his job. A grand jury no-billed the criminal charges meaning that they were dropped.

Decision: QI for the police for making the arrest. The student allegations were deemed to rise to probable cause.

Criticism: The only evidence against the teacher was the word of a couple of students. There was no corroboration with physical evidence, and there were other students whose statements suggested that the accusers were not being truthful. Since much of the behavior complained of was inappropriate text messages, it is puzzling that these text messages were not saved somehow (fault of the students? fault of the investigators? text messages never really existed?). This just does not seem like probable cause to me.

Written by Burgers Allday

September 29, 2012 at 6:19 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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