Supreme Court

Supreme Court Rules 8-0 for Police in Major Fourth Amendment Case

SCOTUS rejects "provocation doctrine," says illegal police search must be viewed separately from subsequent police use of force.

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In 2002 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said that the lawful use of deadly force by the police may be ruled unlawful if the police themselves "created the need to use force" by acting in an illegal manner. "Where an officer intentionally or recklessly provokes a violent confrontation, if the provocation is an independent Fourth Amendment violation," the 9th Circuit held in Billington v. Smith, the officer "may be held liable for his otherwise defensive use of deadly force." Otherwise known as the "provocation doctrine," this legal standard has served as an important check on overreaching law enforcement tactics. Today, by a vote of 8-0, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the 9th Circuit's reasoning and wiped the provocation doctrine off the books.

At issue today in County of Los Angeles v. Mendez was a 2010 incident in which two deputies from the L.A. County Sheriff's Department entered the residence of Angel Mendez and Jennifer Garcia without a search warrant, spotted Mendez holding a BB gun (which he kept on hand to fend off rats), and shot both Mendez and Garcia multiple times in ostensible self-defense. Mendez's right leg was later amputated below the knee as a result of his injuries. Garcia was shot in the back.

Mendez and Garcia sued, charging the police with illegal search, illegal seizure, and illegal use of force under the Fourth Amendment. In March 2016, Mendez and Garcia prevailed at the 9th Circuit, which rejected the officers' pleas for qualified immunity and instead held that the two detectives were "liable for the shooting as a foreseeable consequence of their unconstitutional entry even though the shooting itself was not unconstitutionally excessive force under the Fourth Amendment." In other words, Mendez and Garcia prevailed under the provocation doctrine.

Writing today for a unanimous Supreme Court, Justice Samuel Alito overturned that 9th Circuit decision, dismantled the provocation doctrine, and ruled in favor of the officers. The provocation doctrine "is incompatible with our excessive force jurisprudence," Justice Alito declared. "The rule's fundamental flaw is that it uses another constitutional violation to manufacture an excessive force claim where one would not otherwise exist." According to Alito, "there is no need to dress up every Fourth Amendment claim as an excessive force claim."

Of course, if the police had not violated the Constitution to begin with in this case, the police would not have had the opportunity to use any sort of force at all. The indisputable fact is that Angel Mendez would still have the use of his right leg if the detectives had not disobeyed the Fourth Amendment, illegally entered his home, and shot him.

The Supreme Court's opinion in County of Los Angeles v. Mendez is available here.

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133 responses to “Supreme Court Rules 8-0 for Police in Major Fourth Amendment Case

  1. Christ, what assholes.

    1. Seriously. What the crap is this?

      1. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

        This is what I do… http://www.webcash10.com

    2. It’s an eight-assed monkey.

    3. Read the opinion.

      1. I read most of it.. but fifteen rounds pumped into two people to subdue a guy holding a BB-rifle which was pointed “vaguely in the direction of the officers” ???

        Excessive Force, maybe?

        I’d love to follow the appeals to this one. I think the Supremes screwed this one up, royally.

    4. Fuck the Police.

      1. But Sting is okay.

  2. And that’s why the SCOTUS is such an important check on power.

  3. Prediction: no liberal outrage because even Ginsburg and the Wise Latina voted in favor of this.

    1. Why would there be liberal outrage to begin with?

      1. Many lefties take a an anti-police stance.

        1. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Just ask FDR and Stalin.

          1. How did that work out?

            1. well, the allies won, so it seems to have worked out perfectly.

          2. How did that work out?

        2. Only when its to their advantage.

        3. Liberals are anti-police when it’s convenient to paint them as tools of oppression against minorities. There was no BLM in sight when Kelly Thomas was beaten to death.

          They would have no issue with cops raiding some “militias” accused of having guns and copies of Mein Kempf.

    2. Prediction: rather than think: “gee this kinda sucks for everyone that’s not a cop,” brokencycle’s first reaction will be to think about the librulz. Because obviously this could never happen to a “good guy,” right?

      “Many lefties take a an anti-police stance.”

      Yeah, totally! Because there’s absolutely no meaningful difference between a)being against getting shot by trespassing cops who suffer zero consequences for so doing and b) being simply “anti-police.” they must be exactly the same thing, amirite?

      Lemme guess – he hammered that out on his phone right while fantasizing about using his gun in a home-defense scenario, forgetting that this could happen to him, too.

      1. Wut?

        1. Just ask Kathryn Johnston.

      2. You sir are an ass. Outraged and partisan in your reply to the suggestion that some people are outraged partisans.

  4. The provocation doctrine “is incompatible with our excessive force jurisprudence,” Justice Alito declared. “The rule’s fundamental flaw is that it uses another constitutional violation to manufacture an excessive force claim where one would not otherwise exist.”

    Maybe you need to rethink your excessive force jurisprudence, then.

    1. Also, I thought police were all about considering the totality of the circumstances.

      1. Exculpatory circs only, brah

        Smooches

        HTH

        1. Except when it comes to hearsay heard by the police, then it’s inculpatory only. Strange how that works.

          1. It’s called the “shut up, prole” doctrine…

      2. Totality of circs for me, but not for thee.

        1. A punch to the nuts for thee, but not for me. /Sammy & The Blue Lights

    2. If people don’t like what the police are doing, they shouldn’t have voted them into office.

      1. If you don’t like the laws then get them changed. It’s so easy. I mean, look at how many laws have been overturned thanks to voting for people who oppose the law. There’s been like, um, shit. I can’t think of any. Not one. But that doesn’t matter! If you don’t like it then vote for someone who will change it! Otherwise you must obey! You signed that social contract!

        1. We need a revolution every twenty years or so. Just ask Thomas Jefferson.

          1. What we need is New Texas’ Court of Political Justice to deal with the legislators who create these problems.

    3. Kinda wonder if the SC is just salty that lower courts were trying to make their own doctrine.

    4. I dont follow his logic.

      Absent the 4th ammendment violation there would have been zero/no force at all, so any force at all is by definition excessive to none in such a situation.

      Ultimately here the problem is the “qualified immunity” – it emboldens (especially after this ruling) the police to violate rights without the fear of consequence.

      1. No it does not. You are confusing two aspects. The law that the police broke was the illegal search and seizure law. They did not violate use of force. However in terms of awarding damages, the court is not limited to damages of the violation of the search and seizure. The court can apply damages to subsequent events that violating search and seizure caused. Thus the police, still face consequences for their illegal actions, and any legal actions that caused harm that only came about because of the illegal actions. However those legal actions do not suddenly become illegal.

        1. “The court can apply damages to subsequent events that violating search and seizure caused”

          Yay, that means that when police violate your rights, the tax payer can spend even more to cover it!

          Ruling still feels “Heads, I win. Tails, you lose.”

    5. No read the decision, it is this article that is terrible. The court specifically says in their ruling that unlawful search and seizure is grounds enough to recover damages for subsequent events. That would include the use of force. The court is not saying the plaintiffs do not have a right to damages, they are saying that the illegal search and seizure is the violation, not the use of force. However in considering damages, the court does not need to limit it to the illegal search and seizure, damages can cover subsequent events that come after the illegal search and seizure.

      1. Right. Just ask for compensation for your great grandmother’s china collection that she brought from Italy or Germany. Her’s a few bowls and cups?

        1. Here’s

      2. So what is the point? To allow the plaintiffs to seek damages at the municipality/state/fed level, but not to have the acts count against the officers? Are they indirectly instructing the lower courts to award greater damages for 4th amendment violations regardless of outcome? The opposite?

        I am reading it, but I still do not understand the reasoning why they even took the case to start with.

  5. This is so rage inducing I can’t even think of anything pithy or sarcastic to say.

    1. “All hail to our police overlords” will do.

    2. I am with you. This is quite rage inducing. I am also at a loss for words.

  6. Damon, the SCOTUS decision was not unanimous. It was actually 8-0 with Gorsuch not voting.

    On one hand, it is good to reign in judicial creation of rules that complicate claims for violations of the constitution. In this case, the 9th Circuit created a complicated expansion of Graham v. Connor, 490 U. S. 386 for 4th Amendment violations.

    In the other hand, the government has sought to limit actions against government agents through expanded immunity and dismissing clear violations of constitutional protections. In this case, the cops did not have a warrant and shot an innocent person who was holding a BB gun.

    The police shoot people without reasonable justification of danger way too much. That and they were trespassing, should be a clear case of liability for the Sheriff’s department.

    1. It was actually 8-0 with Gorsuch not voting.

      So… unanimous.

      1. There are 9 justices on the supreme court.

        So, 8-0-1 is the voting record for this decision. So NOT unanimous.

        1. Except that Gorsuch did not participate in the case at all, it having begun BEFORE he was appointed. 8-0 makes it unanimous–in the sense that there were eight judges in the case and ALL eight voted for the judgment.

    2. Gorsuch did not “vote” because he was not present for the arguments.

    3. Well speaking of reining in non-textual Constitutional doctrine, perhaps you could point me to the clause establishing qualified immunity ; no, the FYTW clause doesn’t count.

      1. So much this. “Qualified Immunity” is the core problem here.

      2. It’s in the null set. Apparently you’ve never studied symbolic logic.

  7. Oooohh, FUCK THEM ALL!! The thirst for power is unbelievable.

    I wonder how Gorsuch would have voted.

    1. I guess we’ll never know.

      1. Yeah, unanimous decisions are practically permanent for all time. Future Supreme Courts will not ever take up a case invoking the Provocation Doctrine again. And no defense lawyer will use it in a defense argument.

        1. That’s what’s the most fucked up about this whole thing.

  8. I read that some Mexicans — probably illegals — got shot for being unlawful, but the article doesn’t state if our good Kingsmen escaped the shootout unharmed; I hope no officer took a bb to the eye!

  9. I don’t like the outcome, but I think I actually have to agree with the court’s logic here in that the “Provocation Document” seems to be trying to graft use of force decisions on the the fourth amendment where it doesn’t fit.

    It seems this would be better treated on other grounds. Possibly the fifth amendment. If we really want to be interesting, try bringing it on grounds of violating the third amendment, although due to the lack of decisions in that area, I have no idea how that would go.

    1. I’ve been thinking along similar lines. I’m not sure it makes sense to consider it excessive force only on the basis of it being an illegal search/entry. On the other hand, the police were trespassing and people ought to be allowed to defend their own homes with force. Not sure if California has a castle doctrine law.

      I think what we really need is less immunity for police and severe criminal penalties for police who violate people’s civil rights.

      1. So now a cop is protected by qualified immunity even for what should be unprotected acts (i.e. unconstitutional violations). That is an improvement how?

        1. Are the police protected by qualified immunity now because of this? Or just against automatic assumption of excessive force?

          I’m sorry if I gave the impression that that is what I think. All I’m saying is that I’m not certain the court got the constitutional question wrong. Are the police protected by qualified immunity now because of this? Or just against automatic assumption of excessive force?

          I think the outcome for the particular case in question is wrong. Even if they are police, you should be able to defend your home against people illegally entering, and to brandish a weapon in your own home. And police should be punished for trespassing just like anyone else. It shouldn’t be a lawsuit over excessive force (or not only that). It should be a trial for attempted murder (I’m pretty sure that if I unlawfully entered someone’s house and tried to kill them when they confronted me with a gun that would be the charge) and violation of civil rights.

          1. I had the same reservations at first, maybe they weren’t saying it’s okay for cops to go around shooting people willy-nilly, maybe they were drawing a line saying there are other remedies. As per Alito, “there is no need to dress up every Fourth Amendment claim as an excessive force claim.”

            And yet – what the fuck do you mean “dressing up”? It seems to me that every infringement claim is by definition an excessive force claim, when the government has no right to use force at all, all uses of force are excessive. This is saying if you want to be a burglar, become a cop first because that way you can freely break into people’s houses and if they try to stop you, you can shoot them. And I’m not being hyperbolic – when a cop comes into your house without a warrant or exigent circumstances, he’s committing a criminal trespass, he’s at that point a crook breaking into your house. And he can shoot you and get away with it if you try to stop him.

            1. If an officer bursts into your home brandishing a gun and shouting at you without identifying himself as law enforcement you may shoot him to preserve your life.

              If the officer bursts into your home and is shouting that he is law enforcement you probably need to drop your gun and find out what he wants because by not doing so he is justified to use lethal force to protect his life. No matter the justification for his presence. If he robs you call a cop. (no irony intended but probably someone from a different agency)

              If the shooting was a crime it was committed earlier in the process by the failures that sent the officers into the wrong home primed for a violent confrontation.

      2. Agreed. NEEDZ MOAR payment from individual cops’ bank accounts.

    2. I think this is a fair interpretation, but with the SCOTUS vacating this decision, does that have to be addressed elsewhere, and if so, do police have no restraints on use of force when they make an unconstitutional contact?

      1. Of course the constitutionality of any contact can be debated but if an officer is threatened he is justified to use force. You call it trespass he calls it a warranted arrest, even if he is looking for cousin Bob on your property.
        This case starts with a couple of half-wit cops pumped up to kick in some “bad guy’s” door. They come in muzzle first and see a weapon. The shouting was not the crime it was the tactics, training, desensitization, violent anticipation, hell maybe even redbull or google maps contributed to the circumstances. That is why it goes all the way up to the Supremes, it has everything correct EXCEPT the use of force part.

    3. I would only agree with the rulling if the provocation doctine was struc down along with the qualified immunity doctrine. At the end of the day, a person’s rights were violated and they cam to harm at the hands of the State as a result – somebody should be on the hook for that shit.

    4. I disagree. The 9th Circuit ruling is consistent with Felony Murder. When you commit a felony, you are liable for any subsequent deaths even if you didn’t mean to kill anyone.

  10. Me: Woodshipper.

    God: Vengeance is still mine, I will repay.

    Me: The Lord is a God who avenges.
    O God who avenges, shine forth.
    Rise up, Judge of the earth;
    pay back to the proud what they deserve.
    How long, Lord, will the wicked,
    how long will the wicked be jubilant?
    They pour out arrogant words;
    all the evildoers are full of boasting.
    They crush your people, Lord;
    they oppress your inheritance.
    They slay the widow and the foreigner;
    they murder the fatherless.
    They say, “The Lord does not see;
    the God of Jacob takes no notice.”

    He will repay them for their sins
    and destroy them for their wickedness;
    the Lord our God will destroy them.

    (Psalm 94)

    1. This is the sort of fire and brimstone I can get behind.

  11. Mr Root, perhaps you don’t understand a unanimous decision. That means that even really liberal justices, such as Sotomayor and Ginsberg did not find that case demonstrated a constitutional violation of the fourth amendment. Now if as you say there was an additional violation, it was the attorney’s filing that was flawed not the decision. Your blaming of the court in this instance was naive.

    1. If it was unanimous, it must be right, because eight people have never been wrong about the same thing before!

      1. +1 Korematsu

    2. That is not at all what the court found. Nobody disagrees that there was a 4th A violation. Only whether or not that violation opens the cops to prosecution for the harm inflicted.

  12. So a drunk cop breaks into my home and sees me in my kitchen holding a paring knife, he’s justified to kill me.

    1. Short answer: yes.

      Slightly longer answer: yes, duh.

    2. But your next of kin can sue him for violating your 4th Amendment rights, so, you know, you are constitutionally protected.

      1. Well after this ruling, they can sue the officer’s “agency” as Dunphy always calls it. The officer is, of course, always innocent of any wrondgoing.

        1. Not after God-Emperor Chef to signs Back the Blue Act of 2017.

          1. Cheeto. I hate autocorrect.

  13. So shooting someone for holding a BB gun is not excessive force now? Didn’t they at least ask him to drop it first? Or is that just in the movies now?

    1. IRL first they shoot you then they yell at you to drop the fucking weapon and get on the fucking ground as you bleed to death.

      1. +1 “Stop trying to grab my gun!”

      2. Well, it should be easy to get on the ground after you’ve been shot. In fact, there’s a good chance you’re already there, so I don’t see the problem.

    2. Actually, that is a fair question. But that question isn’t being addressed by this opinion. The opinion was specifically related to the provocation rule which is a vague (and ultimately redundant) rule. The court is simply saying that the plaintiffs are entitled to restitution based on the original unconstitutional act (the warrantless search) and possibly the knock and enter claim. That there is no need to come up with an additional “unreasonable” use of force doctrine. If the police shoot someone because they unconstitutionally entered a residence, they are still to be held liable for those injuries. But not because of an extra rule.

  14. So by this logic, if a bank robber is shot at by a security guard, the robber can shoot back and it’s justifiable homicide, not felony murder, if the security guard is killed.

    Except, of course, that the logic of this ruling only applies to shootings by members of the aristocracy cops.

  15. The provocation doctrine “is incompatible with our excessive force jurisprudence,”

    My understanding of “excessive force jurisprudence” based on previous rulings is that there is no such thing as excessive force.

    1. Kelly Thomas would have agreed, if he had lived.

      1. Oops. Disagreed.

  16. 4TH AMENDMENT

    Anyone that supports “stop and frisk” laws is NOT a supporter, but rather an ENEMY, of the Constitution. Stop and frisk, without a warrant or probable cause FIRST, IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL. I said that even BEFORE the higher courts affirmed it.

    It may seem reasonable and it may even be effective but it IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

    And he did so while enforcing UNCONSTITUTIONAL laws in direct and blatant violation of his Oath of Office.

    “… against all enemies, foreign AND DOMESTIC.” [emphasis mine].

    I really don’t care if a USURPER claims to be a D or an R or anything else. I don’t listen to their words. I watch their ACTIONS to determine if they’re a domestic enemy of the Consitution.

  17. Unarmed police would not be able to uses excessive force. Perhaps it’s time to learn alternative ways to police, without force or threats of violence.

    1. You want to read a little British history about how the unarmed cops handled crime back in the day. There was lots and lots of excessive force. It was called good policing.

  18. How does it go if the outcome is reversed? Two citizens sitting peacefully in their home shoot two armed invaders who opened fire on them would likely not be charged even if the invaders are killed. Would that still play if those invaders are police violating the Fourth Amendment? I know if I’m in that situation I’m not trusting the veracity of the blue uniforms and will continue to fire until my California legal ten rounds are spent or the two invaders assault has been well and truly stopped.

    1. I’ll add that since in this instance the police action isn’t considered assault, much less assault with a deadly weapon, would a claim of self defense even be allowed? If so, why if the police aren’t breaking the law? If not, why are police above the law in all instances?

      1. Sovereign immunity uber alles. It would cost too much money.

    2. Then your weapon would be empty when the swat team lobbed in the flash bangs, tear gas, dogs, robots, and followed up with 6 guys emptying semi-auto “assault rifles”.

      1. So you’re saying it’s not the ten rounds I need to worry about it’s not letting them call for backup. Got it. Of course the neighbors are probably going to call the police which might actually be ok since dispatch will recognize that there’s a unit in the area and will call them to investigate. Hmm, I guess I’ll have to answer the radio call for that too and say it’s under control. I’m sure I’ll also have to think of other possible contingencies. Gee, I can’t thank you enough for getting me to think it all through.

  19. It’s not the 5-4 decisions that should outrage you. It’s the bad rulings where it’s unanimous that should scare the hell out of you.

  20. Next at-bat will be the “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree”……Thankfully.

    1. I’ve heard that prosecutors find it delicious.

  21. Yeah, In this case, the cops did not have a warrant and shot an innocent person who was holding a BB gun.

  22. Normal people are liable for the forseeable consequences of their illegal actions. Police, with their training, qualified immunity, and overwhelming superiority in force, can’t possibly be expected to adhere to that standard.

    Normal people can’t use ignorance of the law as an excuse. Police, with their training, qualified immunity, and overwhelming superiority in force, can’t possibly be expected to adhere to that standard.

    Normal people can’t declare the video to be wrong and themselves to be right instead. Police, with their training, qualified immunity, and overwhelming superiority in force, can’t possibly be expected to adhere to that standard.

    Normal people can’t get away with anything due to an entirely reasonable misjudgment. Police, with their training, qualified immunity, and overwhelming superiority in force, can’t possibly be expected to adhere to that standard.

    The way the courts go out of their way to empower law enforcement to shit all over every single constitutional right we have is fucking disgusting. It does nothing but get worse.

    1. Seems perfectly reasonable to me, as LEOs are our betters and above the same scrutiny as us plebs.

  23. Why be a cop if you don’t get to bust down doors and shoot some Mexicans?

    1. Or dopers and niggers.

  24. People really need to read the actual decision from the Court. This article does not provide a complete picture of the ruling. The court is basically saying that the provocation rule is vague, and unnecessary. Basically no need to say the officers used excessive force, because they violated search and seizure. The search and seizure violation on its own merit is enough to warrant recovery of damages. In fact the court specifically says that damages from the use of force can be recovered under the violation of the search and seizure violation, because that led to the use of force. However it does not mean reasonable use of force suddenly becomes unreasonable use of force just because of another violation.

    While the article does not specifically say this, it allows people to conclude that Police can lawfully provoke someone to cause them to use force. That is an incorrect conclusion, the court is saying the act of provoking someone is itself unconstitutional and that legal actions after that do not suddenly become illegal. However the initial provoking action, is enough to warrant damages for any subsequent actions, even if those actions on their own are legal.

    1. I did not read the decision (and I’m not going to), but this is certainly more believable and makes more sense, especially given the 8-0 vote. If it was what many posters and the author imply, I’d expect a few dissents.

    2. The problem is that the bad cops are never held to any standard unless the incident becomes a media event.

      You cay that the search and seizure violation is enough to recover the damages. That doesn’t do beans to make the cops be more careful next time.

      So you sue the police department and who pays? The taxpayers. The cops who raided the wrong house and shot an innocent person might get a note in their file, but they probably weren’t going to get a promotion anyway.

      Support the cops when they’re in the right. You can maybe give them the benefit of the doubt when they are in a sudden situation. But there’s no excuse for ever busting down the wrong door and they should be responsible for the consequences.

    3. VERY WELL STATED!! I tried to explain below, but you did a much better job!

  25. This isn’t justice.

    1. Justice doesn’t exist in the USSA.

  26. Sounds logical to me. SCrOTUS said, there was no reason to extend “provocation” because there was already a clear constitutional violation with the illegal search.
    If we keep appending “exceptions” and such to the constitution it will muddy it such that it can’t be litigated.
    Keep in mind, the Bill of rights are not rights the government bestows upon us – it’s rights they cant infringe upon.
    We can’t start carving out exception, conditions and limitations on it.
    This is why many of the founding fathers were against the Bill of Rights. We already had every right, since you couldn’t possibly enumerate all of our rights, enumerating any of them would infer a limit on rights and open it to interpretation.
    I think SCrOTUS got this one right for a change.

    1. The SC(rotum)s can tea-bag me. NTTAWWT.

    2. I think the BOR has been shown to be a good idea. Without it, our fearless leaders today would act as if those rights did not exist or were strictly bestowed by the government (who would then have the right to take them away again). This would include the courts.

      1. I don’t disagree with that at all.
        You do have recognize that because we have that “enumeration” we try to fit all our rights within the 4 corners of the BOR’s.
        Perhaps the better adoption should have been a stronger affirmation that the people have ALL rights that do not infringe on another’s.

    3. Exactly. I know most here think this was a travesty, but nowhere in the opinion did SCOTUS say the plaintiffs weren’t due fair restitution for their injuries. It is just that it should be based on the warrantless entry (or possibly the knock and enter claim, this part I am a little confused on), rather than an ADDITIONAL vague unreasonable use of force claim.

  27. The court fails to realize that the more they push unfair protections such as qualified immunity the further they pull back the Vail and reveal the “just us” system for what it is. As people wake up they will realize that things like qualified immunity can’t prevent justice from occuring they just prevent the corrupt government system from providing it. People will naturally start ignoring the system and taking matters in their own hands. that is not something I want to live through. The corruption of the system is already so bad it has led me to a point where any jury I am on will not be convicting a defendent for any crime of any sort against a government agent. If the system won’t protect us against the acts of government agents it sure as hell won’t protect them while I have any power over it.

  28. RE: Supreme Court Rules 8-0 for Police in Major Fourth Amendment Case

    Fuck it!
    Let’s just let the cops do anything they want, not that they’re not doing that anyway.
    Besides, every police state worth its gulags always let the police do anything with impunity.
    Just look at Hitler’s Germany or Stalin’s Soviet Union.
    There were fine examples of law and order.

  29. I freely admit that I am not a lawyer. But, I don’t think this ruling means what you think it means (apologies to the Spaniard).

    I think what SCOTUS is saying is that the provocation rule is too subjective, and doesn’t follow logically. The ruling specifically refers to a proximate cause being legitimate. So, based purely on the warrantless search claim, the cops should be responsible for injuries that result. Not that there is an EXTRA claim for unreasonable use of force that is loosely tied to the original constitutional violation.

    Basically, SCOTUS is saying that if the police conduct an unlawful, warrantless search (or for that matter, the knock and enter claim), and as a result they hurt someone, that should be the basis of the lawsuit. I believe that is why the case was remanded back to the Ninth District court.

    I really do think people need to read these opinions more closely rather than just the headline or what one writer thinks.

  30. I beg all of you, read this opinion, in its entirety for yourself.

    As a matter of fact, they criticized the fact that the 9th Circuit Court gave the officers qualified immunity for the knock and announce entry, and then used that as a basis for the unreasonable use of force. The provocation rule is not a good thing. It confuses the constitutional issues. SCOTUS is very clear that the plantiffs should be able to get restitution based on the warrantless entry claim, because the proximate cause of the injuries caused by the deputies was the unconstitutional warrantless entry. By inventing an additional doctrine of the provocation rule, it actually allowed the deputies to get qualified immunity for the knock and announce claim (which the District Court did NOT grant). While the tortuous path the District Court and the Appellate court followed gave the plaintiffs a reward, it can actually set a bad precedent. Whereas, all the District Court had to say was the cops knowingly committed a warrantless entry, which is clearly a constitutional violation which existed at the time of event therefore qualified immunity doesn’t apply. In addition, the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries was the warrantless entry, therefore the cops are liable for damages.

    It really should be that simple.

  31. Just wait until after Congress passes “Back The Blue Act of 2017” and God-Emperor Cheeto signs it.

    It only gets worse from here.

  32. So…If I drive the getaway car in a robbery where one of my compatriots murders someone, I can be charged with murder as well, but if a cop breaks the law and comes into my home without a warrant and ends up shooting me, the fact that he shot me under those very same circumstances he created means nothing.
    Yeah, that sounds about right nowadays.

  33. Woe to those who enact evil statutes
    And to those who constantly record unjust decisions,
    So as to deprive the needy of justice
    And rob the poor of My people of their rights…
    Isaiah 10: 1, 2

    Woe to SCOTUS.

  34. Unfuckingreal. I fear for my children, two of which are grown. So now, with the blessings of the SC, cops can walk in your house and shoot your ass if they want to.

  35. the court has already indicated its rejection of the provocation doctrine. king v kentucky. this was no surprise.

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