Monday, August 27, 2018

A reasonable officer should have known . . .

. . . that touching a young woman who is trying to make a sexual-abuse report, photographing her breasts and buttocks with the officer's personal cellphone, and badgering her into exposing her vagina would violate her Fourteenth Amendment right to bodily integrity. Yeah, no kidding. And yet in Kane v. Barger, the Second Circuit had to disagree with two other circuits to hold that the officer's conduct was sufficiently shocking to violate the constitution. The district court should not have dismissed this woman's 1983 suit on qualified-immunity grounds.

. . . that the Fourth Amendment prohibits "unduly tight or excessively forceful handcuffing during the course of a seizure." So warned the Sixth Circuit in Hansen v. Aper, affirming the district court's refusal to grant qualified immunity to an officer who handcuffed a driver after a traffic stop and, when the driver complained, told him "handcuffs are supposed to hurt."

. . . that Brady and Giglio obligated an officer to disclose to a murder defendant the fact that the state's key witness's law-enforcement sister called the witness "the biggest liar" she had "ever met," said that she would not believe anything her sister said, and noted that her sister had previously filed over 20 unsubstantiated reports with the local police department. This murder defendant was convicted and served 17 years before her exoneration. The district court erred in dismissing her 1983 suit against the officer on qualified-immunity grounds, held the Ninth Circuit in Mellen v. Winn.

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