Of particular interest to those involved in law enforcement
The following information has been received from AELE.
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AELE’s July 2012 case notes and publications alert
1. ECWs: Few police or correctional officers will use their firearm against an aggressor. Many will use an ECW in a dart or stun mode. That is why officers need to know the law of their Federal Circuit before an incident occurs, not after a lawsuit is filed. Training officers need to keep current on case law, and to modify an agency's ECW policy and in-service training, as needed.
In May, AELE created a single webpage where ECW cases are summarized. Since then, the site has expanded by a third, and now summarizes more than 200 cases. If printed on paper, the summaries are now 40 pages long, and are growing. Almost all cases cited have a link to the full decision. More than 10,000 of your colleagues have visited the webpage since May.
On June 27th we added a cautionary flag for 84 case summaries (about 42% of the total).
These summaries now begin with the word
RESTRICTIVE -- because a court has determined, a jury has found, or a settlement has indicated, that the quantum of force used either was, or may have been, unreasonable. View here.
2. ECW Resources: AELE also began a webpage where ECW articles, deployment policies, IACP conference materials and other ECW resources can be found. There are links more than 80 documents and informational sites. View here.
3. Monthly Law Journal: The June article on weapon confusion has been updated with additional cases and the article was repaginated. An appellate court unceremoniously rejected an appeal by the BART officer who fired his Glock in mistake. View here.
4. Two New Monthly Law Journal articles.
• Teaching 4th Amendment Based Use-of-Force
Author and trainer James Marker explains a state law enforcement academy's decision to avoid teaching a force continuum and to concentrate on standards announced in Supreme Court opinions. View here.
• Video and Audio Taping Police Activity
AELE introduced this topic in a May, 2009 article in the Monthly Law Journal. Much has happened since then. In addition to significant decisions in Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts, the U.S. Justice Dept. has weighed in, with six policy recommendations. View at here.
Persons interested in contributing an article should contact AELE.
5. The July 2012 issues of AELE’s three periodicals have been uploaded.
The current issues, back issues since 2000, three 37-year case digests, and a search engine are FREE. Everyone is welcome to read, print or download AELE publications without charge. SOS: Share Our Stuff! The main menu is at: http://www.aele.org/law
Among the new cases are several that warrant mention here.
*** Law Enforcement Liability Reporter ***
• Electronic Control Weapons - Dart Mode
A Taser was used in dart mode to restrain an intoxicated man who was perceived as attempting to break away from an officer after resisting an attempt to handcuff him. The man had a medical condition which caused his arm to suffer involuntary tremors.
The trial court found that the suspect's alleged crimes were two relatively minor misdemeanors, that he did not pose a threat to the officers, and that he did not struggle with the officers, resist arrest, or try to escape, so that the use of the Taser was objectively unreasonable if the facts were as the plaintiff alleged. The officer was not entitled to qualified immunity. Shekleton v. Eichenberger, #11-2108, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 9041 (8th Cir.).
*** Fire, Police & Corrections Personnel Reporter ***
• Injuries to Trainees
A fire department "live burn" training exercise got out of hand. A recruit participating in the exercise became trapped on the third floor of the three-story vacant building being burnt, and died from her injuries. Her surviving family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit claiming that the city had acted with deliberate indifference to the decedent's safety, in violation of substantive due process.
Such a claim could not be pursued in the absence of any evidence that the department actually intended to inflict harm on the participating recruits, for which there was no evidence. Slaughter v. Baltimore, #10-2436, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 11482 (4th Cir.).
*** Jail and Prisoner Law Bulletin ***
• Homosexual Prisoners
An insulin-dependent diabetic prisoner was hired to work in a public works program off the prison premises. After he experienced an incident in which he became ill from low blood sugar, he was removed from the program. He sued, claiming that the true reason for his termination was his gay sexual orientation. He claimed that officers supervising the work crews treated him differently than other heterosexual insulin-dependent diabetic inmates working on the project, taunting and harassing him.
The prisoner adequately stated a claim of class-based discrimination based on sexual orientation, so that the dismissal of his lawsuit was improper. His claim was not a "class-of-one" equal protection claim barred in the context of public employment by Engquist v. Oregon Dept. of Agriculture, #07-474, 128 S.Ct. 2146 (2008).Davis v. Prison Health Services, #10-2690, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 9548, 2012 Fed. App. 131P (6th Cir.).
6. Selected criminal law and procedure cases are at two other free websites.
AELE has a free search tool covering our database of more than 32,000 case summaries, since 1975.
We also have three menus of the more than 32,000 case summaries, divided into 700 + topics.
1. Law enforcement civil liability at http://www.aele.org/law/Digests/civilmenu.html
2. Employment law and discipline at http://www.aele.org/law/Digests/emplmenu.html
3. Jail and prisoner legal issues at http://www.aele.org/law/Digests/jailmenu.html
View or print our guide: How to Navigate AELE’s Online Law Libraries.