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NCJ Number: 98450 Find in a Library
Title: Defending Law Enforcement Officers Against Personal Liability in Constitutional Tort Litigation (Part 1)
Journal: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin  Volume:54  Issue:4  Dated:(April 1985)  Pages:24-31
Author(s): J Higginbotham
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This discussion of civil litigation arising from police activities focuses on a description of the civil actions, the identification of various defenses that may expeditiously resolve these actions without having to go to trial, and suggestions of other means of combating litigation against police officers.
Abstract: Suits filed against law enforcement officers alleging a constitutional violation are generally founded on 42 U.S.C., a statute which imposes civil liability on any person, acting under State laws who deprive another person of his constitutional rights. The constitutional protection claimed to have been violated is frequently the fourth amendment, as the result of an alleged unlawful arrest or search; the fifth amendment, as the result of an alleged improperly obtained confession or deprivation of liberty or property without proper due process; the sixth amendment, for violating the right to counsel; or the eighth amendment, as the result of the incarceration of a plaintiff claiming to have been subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. Defenses available are technical in nature, including improper service and venue and lack of jurisdiction. In addition, the first argument to be made is that the plaintiff has failed to state a claim against the law enforcement officer upon which relief can be granted. The second avenue is the qualified immunity defense, which shields the law enforcement officer from liability. A review of Supreme Court cases using the qualified immunity defense is included, focusing on the Harlow decision to illustrate the immunity defense. Forty-six footnotes are included.
Index Term(s): Civil liability; Complaints against police; Police court relations; Police legal advisers; Police legal limitations; US Supreme Court decisions
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