Fourth Amendment

The doctrine of qualified immunity protects state and local officials from individual liability unless the official violated a clearly established constitutional right. Some of the police reform bills Congress is considering eliminate qualified immunity for state and local police and correctional officers.

What does it mean for a state or local official to have qualified immunity and what would the impact be if it was eliminated?

The evolution of qualified immunity began in 1871 when Congress adopted 42 U.S.C. § 1983...

In an 8-1 opinion the Supreme Court held that a police officer may initiate a traffic stop after learning the registered owner of the vehicle has a revoked license unless the officer has information negating the inference the owner of the vehicle is the driver.

In Kansas v. Glover Deputy Mehrer ran the license plate of a vehicle he saw being driven lawfully, matched it to the vehicle he observed, and learned it was registered to Charles Glover...

Excessive force is a violation of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” In Torres v. Madrid the State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed a Supreme Court amicus ...

The Supreme Court has held that excessive force violates the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” The question in Torres v. Madrid is whether police have “seized” someone who they have used force against who has gotten away.   

In this case police officers approached Roxanne Torres thinking she may be the person they intended to arrest. At the time Torres was “tripping” from using meth for several days...

In Mitchell v. Wisconsin the Supreme Court held that generally when police officers have probable cause to believe an unconscious person has committed a drunk driving offense, warrantless blood draws are permissible. The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus brief arguing for this result.

By the time the police officer got Gerald Mitchell from his car to the hospital to take a blood test he was unconscious. Mitchell’s blood alcohol content (BAC) about 90 minutes after his arrest was 0.222%.

Wisconsin and twenty-eight other states allow warrantless blood draws of unconscious persons where police officers have probable cause to suspect drunk driving.

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