Police, The Fourth Amendment, Qualified Immunity

TELLY v. CITY OF LOS BANOS, No. 1:11-cv-0927 AWI SMS (E.D. California, October 1, 2012)

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Link to court opinion.


The fact that the defense of necessity does not negate any element of a crime means that it cannot negate probable cause where probable cause would otherwise exist.

Explanation: In this case a woman was rushing her husband to the emergency room with a gunshot wound and would not stop for police on the way to the hospital. When she got to the hospital she was arrested for fleeing. However, the criminal charges were dropped, probably because the “neccessity defense” would have worked to beat the criminal charges.

Criticism: I do not believe that it is firmly-estblished law that an affirmative defense (which defense is grounded in facts known to the police at the time of arrest) is consistent with the existence of probable cause. If that were true then police could always arrest people in self-defense situations, no matter how clear the self-defense was.

Another criticism: I am pretty uncomfortable with the idea of police arresting people for rushing a victim of medical emergency to a hospital. It is nice that they did not convict the woman, but I tend to think that she should have not been arrested and that police should be trained to know that they should generally forbear from arresting people in these types of circumstances. It is one of those situations where the policeman should either forget about the arrest, or at least take the time to cool off and get a warrant. Just basic empathy there.

Written by Burgers Allday

October 6, 2012 at 5:32 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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