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<p>Photo: Mark W. Clark</p>

The 5 Biggest Search-and-Seizure Myths  

November 11, 2014

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court made the Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule binding on the states in the 1961 decision in Mapp v. Ohio, thousands of published decisions from state and federal courts have applied the exclusionary rule to thousands of searches and seizures. It's no wonder the 50-year tidal wave of exclusionary decisions has left confusion and misunderstanding in its wake. Here are five areas of the law that seem to suffer the most in translation.

Self-Defense Homicide: Whose Truth are We Seeking?  

November 7, 2014

Most lawyers hate surprises. Experienced trial attorneys are like producers of multi-act plays. We script out lines of inquiry, carefully order the exhibits we will use, and prepare for every foreseeable contingency. Yet far too often, those of us who represent or work with law enforcement are surprised by a critical piece of evidence that was not carefully assessed or a witness who was recently discovered that we did not plan for and had not interviewed or deposed.

"Drones" Grounded Until Further Notice  

November 7, 2014

What's keeping law enforcement's unmanned aircraft on the ground is a combination of convoluted regulations and the public's belief that allowing officers to use these little aircraft will violate their civil rights and invade their privacy.

<p>Photo: Ron Martinelli</p>

Investigating Self-Defense Homicides  

November 7, 2014

Contemporary laws pertaining to self-defense such as "Stand Your Ground" and the "Castle Doctrine" represent significant changes to the civil rights of Americans when it comes to defending themselves and others with deadly force. As a result, we have seen extraordinary changes in our criminal justice system. However, such laws are not without their controversy.

It's Not About the Dogs  

November 6, 2014

The point here is that when a police officer shoots and kills a dog, the reaction of the community is not really about the dog. It's about the owner's emotional loss.

<p>Just because a dog looks like a pit bull does not mean it is &quot;vicious&quot; or even &quot;aggressive. You can only judge the animal as a threat by its actions. (Photo: National Canine Research Council)</p>

The Plight of the "Pit Bull"  

November 4, 2014

“My heart goes out to these dogs,” says trainer Brian Kilcommons, who is often called to assess the aggressiveness and socialization of pits. “These dogs are so maligned. They are tortured. They are fought. I cannot tell you how many of these dogs I have trained that make phenomenal pets.”

<p>This dog is behind a fence, which is good. Now to keep it safe, the owner should call it into the house until the officer has left. (Photo: National Canine Research Council)</p>

Dog Owners Can Prevent Violent Encounters Between Police and Their Pets  

November 4, 2014

While the mainstream media and many angry dog owners believe the sole responsibility for these tragedies should fall on the officer who pulled the trigger. Often times, the pet owners made mistakes or were even irresponsible in controlling and training their animals.

<p>Chicago officer demonstrate how to use a TASER on a dog. Note the cant of the device, so that the prongs spread horizontally on the animal&#39;s body. (Photo: National Canine Research Council)</p>

A Use-of-Force Continuum for Dealing with Dogs  

November 4, 2014

If the owner or another person known to the dog is not available, you may be able to gain the dog’s acceptance by softening your approach. Dog experts recommend you stop moving toward the dog, assume a bladed stance sideways to the dog, and avoid eye contact, while talking to him in a strong, reassuring tone. This may have a calming effect that will allow you to safely conduct your business and leave.

<p>Planned law enforcement operation that involve locations guarded by dogs must include non-lethal means for neutralizing the dogs such as fire extinguishers and catch poles. Here, a Chicago animal control officer demonstrates use of a catch pole on a friendly animal.(Photo: National Canine Research Council)</p>

Planned Operations and Dogs  

November 4, 2014

Some SWAT teams have become very adept at using non-lethal tools to neutralize the threat presented by dogs. Retired Cleveland SWAT entry team leader Robert O'Brien says that long before the Hells Angels case and its nearly $2 million in settlements his SWAT team always considered the presence of dogs in its planning. O'Brien's tool of choice for getting the dogs out of the way was the fire extinguisher.

Sued for Shooting a Dog  

November 4, 2014

Your biggest fear in a dog shooting lawsuit is punitive damages. While compensatory damages are likely to be covered by your employer, punitive damages are probably coming out of your pocket.

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