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SCOTUS hears police chase case

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October 27, 2006, 16:21
John Stride
SCOTUS hears police chase case
A case that promises a lively oral argument. During a high speed chase after a speeding violation, police used their vehicle to nudge the suspect's vehicle. The resulting crash left the suspect a quadraplegic. I fear that bad facts will lead to the making of some bad law! Are my concerns warranted?
October 28, 2006, 07:49
Could be good or bad, depending on how the new justices shake out. Was it really deadly force, or just a near deadly result?
October 28, 2006, 08:10
The driver was using deadly force through his reckless evasion of the police. By choosing the endanger himself, the officer and the public when he began recklessly driving a multi-ton vehicle through a populated area, the defendant presented an immediate threat of deadly force. Even under basic self-defense law, a person, including an officer, may use deadly force to prevent serious bodily injury or death to the officer or a third person.

Surely all states also have a separate justification for an officer to use deadly force when a defendant threatens deadly force during a lawful arrest. That exactly what this numknuck driver did.

Although the initial traffic stop was for speeding, the ultimate criminal case was a felony (in Texas, at least) evading arrest with a vehicle. Therefore, nobody violated the defendant civil rights. Give me a break.

Any other conclusion will be an open season on the public by high speed evaders looking to sue. Not gonna happen.

And this wasn't even the deliberate use of deadly force. The officer used a maneuver that was not intended as deadly force. He didn't shoot at the idiot.

The same thing could have happened with those dealybobbers that take out the tires. If the car had flipped from popping the tires, do you think anyone would care about this guy?

The defendant has a very simple solution for avoiding being hurt: stop evading in your vehicle.

One more thing. The court says the jury can decide whether the vehicle, as used by the defendant, presented the threat of deadly force? Say what? Then why is the court saying that the officer used deadly force, thereby forcing this to trial? Bad law already exists. SCOTUS needs to protect officers and send a clear message to high speed evaders that flight will not shield them from criminal prosecution and reward them with a lawsuit.

[This message was edited by JB on 10-28-06 at .]

[This message was edited by JB on 10-28-06 at .]
October 30, 2006, 08:42
John Stride
Since the SCOTUS usually reverses cases it takes up, law enforcement should prevail. More troublesome might be the observations of the Court in reaching the result. But l/e may be vindicated in full & they should be.
October 30, 2006, 09:46
The 11th Circuit made a big deal out of the officer not warning the defendant he was going to use Deadly Force before using it. What kind of nonsense is that? Are we still working under Wild West rules? "Stop or I will shoot!."

The defendant is fleeing in his car at high speeds through a populated area. The defendant is using potentially deadly force. We need to warn the defendant that he is subject to the use of deadly force?

And how, exactly, should the officer convey this information? Cell phone call to the defendant? Billboards? Flashing lights? Oh, wait, he already has on his siren and lights.

What really burns me about these kinds of cases is the completely unrealistic understanding of what is going on by the appellate court. Judges in robes gently tapping on their computers about their vision of how to stop a high speed evader.