Everyone's Place for Police Related Case Law

"Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, and who is neither tarnished nor afraid." Raymond Chandler

 

Case Law 4 Cops contains information on hundreds of court cases. These cases are important to officers and citizens alike. The cases cover what officers can and cannot do in several areas of law. Follow the links below.

 

New Cases

Search incident to arrest-

US v. Knapp, No. 18-8031 (10th Cir. 2019)-A police officer can search a person incident to arrest without further justification. The person includes the clothes the person is wearing, but it does not include hand held containers such as a purse. A purse is considered an object within the area of immediate control of the person. Before an officer can search a purse incident to arrest, the officer must establish that the person could access the purse at the time of the search. The Circuit Court looked at the following factors to determine whether an area searched is within an arrestee's reach: (1) whether the arrestee is handcuffed; (2) the relative number of arrestees and officers present; (3) the relative positions of the arrestees, officers, and the place to be searched; and (4) the ease or difficulty with which the arrestee could gain access to the searched area. In this case, Knapp was handcuffed with an officer next to her and two others nearby. The purse was closed and 3 to 4 feet away from Knapp. The Circuit Court held that the case did not justify a search incident to arrest and the exception did not apply. The search of the purse was unlawful.

Curtilage-

Morgan v. Fairfield County, No. 17-4027 (6th Cir. 2018)-Five Fairfield County, Ohio deputies went to a home to do a knock and talk based on two anonymous tips that the occupants were growing marijuana and cooking methamphetamine. The property is posted "No Trespassing".  The deputies surround the house by stationing a deputy at each corner of the house while another deputy knocked on the front door. One of the deputies in the rear saw marijuana growing on the rear balcony. A search warrant was obtained and executed. Guns, drugs, and drug paraphernalia were found. The Circuit Court held: The deputies unlawfully entered the curtilage and discovered the marijuana plants. The curtilage is a Constitutionally protected area. The deputies were required to have a search warrant or meet narrowly defined exceptions before entering the curtilage of the residence. They had neither.

K-9-

Escobar v. Montee, 895 F. 3d 387 (5th Cir. 2018)-Escobar assualted his wife. He later fled into his neighborhood to avoid police at his house. The police were told that Escobar was armed with a knife. His mother told the police that they would have to kill Escobar because he will not go done without a fight. A K-9 was used to track Escobar down. He was located. The K-9 officer decided not to give Escobar a warning before throwing the K-9 over the fence. The K-9 officer followed the K-9 over the fence. Escober had a knife. The K-9 bit him. Escober dropped the knife in surrender, but the knife was within a couple of feet of him. The K-9 continued to bite Escobar for about a minute before the officers fully subdued and handcuffed him. Escobar sued under a 1983 action claiming his rights were violated. He was not given a warning before the K-9 bit him and the K-9 officer allowed the K-9 to continue biting after Escober surrendered and was not resisting. The lower court dismissed the initial bite claim, but denied the K-9 officer qualified immunity for the continued bite. The case was appealed to the 5th Circuit Court. The Court held that with the information provided to the officer, it was reasonable to believe that Escobar's surrender was not genuine. The officer's actions were proper and he was entitlted to qualified immunity.

Homes and Property-

Timbs v. Indiana, No. 17-1091 (SCOTUS 2019)-The Court held that the Excessive Fines clause of the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution applies to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process clause. An asset Forfeiture case prompted this decision. The decision only applied the Excessive Fines clause to the states. The Court did not rule on whether asset forfeitures are considered fines under this clause. This will be a new line of argument for future asset forfeiture cases.