Police, The Fourth Amendment, Qualified Immunity

Naive melody

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In a white collar crime case, a man was arrested for 24 days and released. He sued, alleging that there was a conspiracy between law enforcement and certain private individuals to bring him down. The man lost, and, in handing the man his loss, the trial court stated as follows:

It would be completely illogical for Officer Law to believe her career would be furthered by pursuing an arrest without probable cause based on a concocted scheme.

This seems incredibly naive. Of course, Officer Law’s career will be advanced by arresting a white collar criminal. Not only is there a reason to believe that, but it is self-evident. If she was actively involved in concocting the scheme then she would believe that it would advance her career because presumably powerful people are plotting to bring down a businessman, and she would presumably have confidence in their eventual success being part of the plot and all. Even if she wasn’t involved in concocting the scheme, she would still believe that an arrest of this kind of suspect would advance her career, and would be tempted to skimp on probable cause to make the arrest. As a U.S. Supreme Court Justice wrote a long time ago, law enforcement is a competitive enterprise. A white collar defendant is, most likely, a trickier arrest to make than one for a speeding ticket or failure to appear or a dime bag

All this is not to say that Officer Law did skimp on probable cause. If there truly was a frame-up going on, then that frame-up may well have been successful in generating probable cause. But, to say that there is no reason to believe that Officer Law would believe that arresting a white collar criminal could advance her career, especially relative to her instead saying, “guys, I just don’t think there is probable cause here,” is ridiculous to me. You don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

Not linking the case. On purpose.

Written by Burgers Allday

March 8, 2014 at 8:34 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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