Police, The Fourth Amendment, Qualified Immunity

Did police steal $350,000 in diamonds from a suspected drug dealer?

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Case: MACKOVSKI v. City of Garden Grove, Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit 2016

What happened:  Police executed a search warrant at a residence a suspected drug dealer.  Apparently no contraband was found on that search,* but, when the suspect returned to the residence a week later, he claimed that $350,000 worth of diamonds were missing from his room.


We also agree with the district court that a reasonable juror would have to engage in “pure speculation” to find that the police seized $350,000 of diamonds from Mackovski’s room during the search. The only evidence Mackovski submitted pertaining to the diamonds was an appraisal from January 2010, indicating they were worth $350,000 at that time. Mackovski was not present during the search, did not return to the property until one week later, does not know whether anyone else went into his room after the search and before his return, and submitted no other evidence that the police stole the diamonds.

Criticism: This explanation is weak. I suspect that the Ninth Circuit do not believe that reasonable jury could take the word of a suspected drug dealer over that of the police. But, that is not how it is supposed to work. I think that the suspected drug dealer should have gotten a jury trial because the panel’s decision makes an inappropriate credibility determination.

Written by Burgers Allday

December 3, 2016 at 5:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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