police4aqi

Police, The Fourth Amendment, Qualified Immunity

Good plaintiffs make for strong 4A protections

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Case: Boyle v. Reed, Dist. Court, ED Louisiana 2014

Comment: Without going into detail, this case involved an extremely minor business dispute, where the District Attorney intervened with an arrest, rather than letting the parties settle their dispute on their own (or with recourse to small claims court, if neccessary). As a person who reads a lot of “police qualified immunity” cases, it looks like the plaintiff in this case got much more favorable treatment than a typical plaintiff does, especially on the following issues: (i) failure to investigate; and (ii) use of warrant to potentially shield law enforcement from liability. I certainly don’t begrudge plaintiff his favorable outcome, but I wish more 4A cases worked the way this one did, with what I, personally, consider to be a fair application of failure to investigate law and reasonable skepticism toward the practice of using an arrest warrant to inoculate an arrest against later civil claims.

Further Comment: This case shows why I believe that 4A should be primarily made in the context of civil cases, and not primarily made in the context of criminal lw 9for example, suppression hearing) cases. If the party asserting 4A is typically someone that most people agree is a bad person, then there will be a natural bias toward weak 4A protections. On the other hand, and I think is shown a bit by the present civil case about which I am now blogging, if the party asserting 4A is seen as a “good guy,” then 4A protections will tend to be strong (like they should be).

Written by Burgers Allday

January 10, 2015 at 9:41 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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