SUPREME COURT GRANTS QUALIFIED IMMUNITY TO SECRET SERVICE AGENTS IN CHENEY CASE

Then Vice President Richard Cheney was at a Colorado mall shaking hands. He was accompanied by a Secret Service detail. Among the Secret Service agents present were Gus Reichle and Dan Doyle. Also present at the mall was Steven Howards, an opponent of the war in Iraq. Doyle heard Howards say, “I’m going to ask [the Vice President] how many kids he’s killed today.” At this point several agents paid increased attention to Howards. Howards approached Cheney and told him […] Read more »

FOURTH CIRCUIT UPHOLDS DENIAL OF QUALIFIED IMMUNITY

Officer Robert M. Bauer, a Fairfax County Virginia police officer, investigated a complaint that a vehicle later determined to belong to Dr. Rose Merchant had forced another car off the freeway and that Merchant’s vehicle had blue flashing lights. Bauer made plans to meet Merchant and her husband. It was determined that her husband had the car during the time in question but their was no proof the car had blue flashing lights or that such lights had at some […] Read more »

COURT REVERSES GRANT OF SUMMARY JUDGEMENT DUE TO LACK OF PROBABLE CAUSE

Hershel Oscar Rosenbaum received free tickets to the Nevada State Fair from radio station KOZZ. He did not want to use the tickets. Rosenbaum, his wife and his two young children went to the fair. His wife stayed in the car while Rosenbaum and the children got out of the car. Rosenbaum proceeded to sell the tickets for five dollar each while he was standing in front of the fair. Deputy Sheriff Lieutenant James Forbus approached Rosenbaum, took the children […] Read more »

MISTAKEN USE OF POLICE OFFICER’S REVOLVER RESULTS IN FOURTH AMENDMENT VIOLATION

In 2003 a Maryland court issued a misdemeanor warrant for Frederick P. Henry for failure to pay child support. Deputy Robert Purnell went to Henry’s trailer to serve the warrant. He met a man outside the trailer who said he was a friend of Henry’s. The man told the deputy that Henry was at work and gave the address of his employment. When Purness went to the address he was told that Henry no longer worked there. At this point […] Read more »

SUPREME COURT APPROVES CIVIL RIGHTS ACTION TO OBTAIN DNA TESTING

In District Attorney’s Office for Third Judicial Dist. v. Osborne the Supreme Court, last year, found a limited right to DNA samples. The question of how to get it was left open. Is a writ of habeas corpus with its limitations necessary or can a defendant file a civil rights suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C.1983. This week the Supreme Court in Skinner v. Switzer ruled that it can be obtained by a civil rights suit. A writ of habeas corpus […] Read more »

SEVENTH CIRCUIT FINDS POLICE ACTED REASONABLY TO SAVE MAN’S LIFE

Andrew B. Sallenger lived with his mother, sister, and her four children in Springfield, Illinois. He was schizophrenic and suffered from bipolar disorder. Shortly after midnight on April 30, 2002 he had a major psychotic break. His sister, Kim Nolan, called the police. They arrived shortly after 2:00 am. Sallenger, a large man was running around the house nude, and out of control. The police eventually subdued him, placed him in handcuffs and hobbled him. A hobble is a cord […] Read more »

THIRD CIRCUIT REINSTATES HABEAS CHALLENGING IFRP

At times I have discussed writs of habeas corpus and civil rights suits pursuant to 42 USC 1983. A recent Third Circuit Court of Appeals cases does an excellent job of differentiating the two and explaining when each is to be used. In McGee v. Martinez Steven McGee was convicted in a drug case. He was sentenced to 120 months and a fine of $10,000. Due to his indigence he was ordered to pay $20.00 a month while he was […] Read more »

TENTH CIRCUIT REVERSES GRANT OF SUMMARY JUDGMENT FINDING ILLEGAL SEARCHES

A woman called the Albuquerque Police Department complaining that she heard a female neighbor yelling at a young child and beating the child in the neighbor’s back yard. She did not see anything due to a high fence. Officer Debra Romero responded to the residence. Joseph Lundstrom answered the door. Lundstrom requested identification. Romero pointed to her badge. Romero ordered Lundstrom and his girlfriend, Jane Hibner to leave the house. Lundstrom asked why she was present and told her there […] Read more »

FAILURE OF PRISON TO PROVIDE TOOTHPASTE FOR 337 DAYS FOUND TO VIOLATE EIGHTH AMENDMENT

Jerry Flanory was an involuntary resident at Michigan’s Newberry Correctional Facility. The Classification director told him that he had to take a GED class. He told the director that he already had a GED from Sarvis Educational Center and an AA degree from Montcalm Community College. The institution refused to confirm his information. When Flanory refused to go to GED classes he was placed on restriction. As part of his restriction he was not allowed to participate in the Indigent […] Read more »

EIGHTH CIRCUIT REINSTATES CLAIM AGAINST JAILORS FOR NOT PROTECTING INMATE FROM RAPE

Employees from the Stone County (Missouri) jail transported Penny Whitson and four men in the same van to the state Department of Corrections. The van consisted of three section. In the first section were two employees of the jail, one of whom drove the van. In the first caged section behind the driver were three men. In the back caged section was one man, Richard Leach, and Whitson. The van was dark and noisy. The officers were playing loud music. […] Read more »