skip navigation

Add your conference to our Justice Events calendar


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the NCJRS Abstracts Database. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

  NCJ Number: NCJ 211323     Find in a Library
  Title: When is Force Excessive?: Insightful Guidance From The U.S. Supreme Court
  Document URL: HTML PDF 
  Author(s): Thomas D. Petrowski J.D.
  Journal: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin  Volume:74  Issue:9  Dated:September 2005  Pages:27 to 32
  Date Published: 09/2005
  Page Count: 6
  Annotation: This article reviews the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Brosseau v. Haugen (December 2004), which refines the trilogy of U.S. Supreme Court decisions that define when law enforcement officers are civilly liable for uses of force.
  Abstract: The trilogy of cases consists of Tennessee v. Garner (1985), Graham v. Connor (1989), and Saucier v. Katz (2001). "Garner" and "Graham" established the general approach to defining constitutional constraints on law enforcement's use of force, stating that such force constitutes a seizure under the fourth amendment and is to be objectively evaluated for reasonableness. The "Katz" decision impacted the way courts analyze civil rights lawsuits brought under Title 42, Section 1983 of the U.S. Code. After the "Katz" decision, there were numerous cases that evaluated whether police uses of force fell in the "hazy border" between the clearly excessive and the clearly constitutional as defined in "Katz." "Brosseau" was the U.S. Supreme Court's vehicle for addressing this issue. The case before the Court was an appeal by Brosseau to the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to deny her summary judgment in the lawsuit brought against her by Kenneth Haugen, who was wounded by Brosseau when he sought to flee from her execution of an arrest warrant for drug and other nonviolent offenses. The Court held that although Brosseau's use of force was constitutionally questionable, it was in the "sometimes hazy border between excessive and acceptable force;" therefore, she was entitled to qualified immunity. This finding indicates that if an officer's use of force is not overtly excessive and unreasonable, then qualified immunity must be granted the officer against civil liability for the action. 27 notes
  Main Term(s): Police use of deadly force
  Index Term(s): Police legal limitations ; Civil liability ; Legal liability ; US Supreme Court decisions ; Police legal training
  Publisher URL: 
  Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
  Country: United States of America
  Language: English
  To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.