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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 136519 Find in a Library
Title: Enforceability of Release-Dismissal Agreements
Journal: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin  Volume:61  Issue:5  Dated:(May 1992)  Pages:27-32
Author(s): W U McCormack
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
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Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
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Document: PDF
Type: Legislation/Policy Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the enforceability of release-dismissal agreements, wherein a suspect or defendant agrees not to bring a civil suit regarding police investigative activity in exchange for the government's agreement to dismiss charges, not bring criminal charges, or reduce charges.
Abstract: Prior to 1987, courts generally disagreed about whether release-dismissal agreements were always against public policy and thus unenforceable. In its 1987 decision in Town of Newton v. Rumery, however, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the enforceability of a release-dismissal agreement, finding that the agreement was voluntary and was not against the public interest. Since "Rumery," courts have upheld the enforceability of agreements that are in the public interest and are voluntary. Also, courts have unanimously held that prosecutors are entitled to absolute immunity for their part in entering into release-dismissal agreements. Police officers, on the other hand, should remember three basic principles regarding release-dismissal agreements. First, officers should always ensure that the prosecutor negotiates and enters into the agreement. Second, where possible, court approval or judicial supervision of the agreement should be obtained. Third, agreements may not be appropriate in cases where the criminal charges involve a crime against the police, since this gives the appearance that the government is attempting to cover up police misconduct. 29 notes
Main Term(s): Case dismissal; Civil liability
Index Term(s): US Supreme Court decisions
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