police4aqi

Police, The Fourth Amendment, Qualified Immunity

Refusing to roll down window all the way is not obstruction

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On YouTube and other similar sites that have police / citizen interaction videos, one current battleground boils down to the following question: on a traffic stop, do I have to lower my window all the way, or just a couple of inches? There seems to be surprisingly little case law on this contentious question, so when a case came up, I noticed.

Case: TORLAI v. LaCHANCE, Dist. Court, D. Connecticut 2015

Quote:

The court concludes that Torlai has failed to meet his burden of proving the malice element of malicious prosecution under Connecticut law. LaChance’s testimony at trial was that he filed the officer interference charge against Torlai because he believed Torlai had committed the crime of interfering with an officer under Connecticut law. As noted earlier, the court found LaChance to be a highly credible witness whose general demeanor and testimony at trial were corroborated by the tone and content of the statements he made in the recorded phone call he placed during the traffic stop, as well as by the testimony of other witnesses. In contrast, Torlai presented virtually no evidence from which the court could conclude that LaChance filed the officer interference charge “primarily for a purpose other than that of bringing an offender to justice.” Brooks, 299 Conn. at 211. Because the court credits LaChance’s testimony that he filed the charge against Torlai because he genuinely believed Torlai had committed the crime of officer interference and finds no facts that would tend to contradict this testimony, and because the question of whether Torlai’s conduct rose to the level of criminal interference with an officer is a close one, the court declines to infer that LaChance was motivated by malice simply because he lacked probable cause to charge Torlai with interfering with an officer in violation of section 53a-167a of the Connecticut General Statutes. Thus, Torlai has failed to meet his burden of proving the malice element of his claim for malicious prosecution on the charge of officer interference.

Comment:¬†Reading the opinion as a whole, the judge seemed please by the police officer’s calm demeanor and lack of apparent aggression. On the other hand, I was troubled by the fact that the police officer (Bruce A. LaChance, a Connecticut state trooper) arrested a not-drunk and not-on-drugs driver for driving while intoxicated.

Written by Burgers Allday

December 26, 2015 at 9:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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