Police, The Fourth Amendment, Qualified Immunity

Use of “private attorney general” to monitor police?

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Case:  Roach v. Green, Dist. Court, D. Massachusetts 2016

What happened:  A suspect, who was never charge with the crimes he was suspected of, claims that he was attacked by police.  In addition to civil charges against the police officers involved, the suspect (ex-suspect?) attempted to file Massachusetts state law criminal charges against the police officers.

Decision:  Not surprisingly, Judge Stearns did not allow the criminal law to go forward because Massachusetts state law is settled on the point that only certain lawyers working for the government can bring criminal charges.

Comment:  I am blogging this because the case does suggest an additional mechanism for making sure police behave themselves.  Lawyers employed by the executive branch have collectively, and over time, proven themselves as quite biased against bringing criminal charges against police officers acting in the course of their employment as police officers.  It is a conflict of interest problem.  Changing the law to allow private citizens to bring criminal charges in situations where the proposed defendant is a cop is one possible way of addressing this glaringly obvious (to me, at least) conflict of interest problem.

Written by Burgers Allday

April 2, 2016 at 6:02 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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