Saturday, September 12, 2009

A federal judge who actually believes in the law

On these facts, Judge Black concluded as a matter of law that the police violated Matthew St. John's constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment because they seized and disarmed him even though there was not "any reason to believe that a crime was afoot." Judge Black's opinion is consistent with numerous high state and federal appellate courts, e.g., the United States Supreme Court in Florida v. J.L. (2000) (detaining man on mere report that he has a gun violates the Fourth Amendment) and the Washington Appeals Court in State v. Casad (2004) (detaining man observed by police as openly carrying rifles on a public street violates the Fourth Amendment).
And here's a bit that's undoubtedly causing a lot of LE brass hats a real problem:
Notably, Judge Black denied the police officers' requested "qualified immunity," a judicially created doctrine allowing government officials acting in good faith to avoid liability for violating the law where the law was not "clearly established."
'Qualified immunity' is what a lot of agencies and cops have used to keep themselves from being held personally responsible for screwing up in an incident(like shooting your yorkie 'as a matter of policy', for instance); take that away, and it just might cause some of these people to become a bit more careful about their actions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, it's about damn time, isn't it? See? I knew that there was at least ONE person with a functional brain in the "judge" seat. This begs a celebration. Grab the yorkie's and paint some signs.

Yorkie signs should say, "No more profiling!" "I'm a tail-wagger, not a threat!" "Bite the badge that shoots you!"