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William Bratton is taking over the helm of the NYPD, what should be his top priority?





Also by Devallis Rutledge

Displaying 81  -  100  of  137

Unmixing Mixed-Up Concepts

January 1, 2008

How many times have you heard the expression "PC for the stop"? How about the application of Miranda once the suspect is "not free to leave?" These are common examples of improper mixing that can undercut the case against a guilty perpetrator.

Full Disclosure

December 1, 2007

Two of the basic questions you have when you write an investigative report are "What to put in?" and "What to leave out?" Although these are legitimate questions-because you normally couldn't possibly write down everything you know about a case-it's important to understand that certain things you might consider leaving out should actually be included.

Setting Up Talks

November 1, 2007

One of the most troublesome legal issues in law enforcement is the question of when an officer may resume discussions with a suspect after some kind of Miranda "history" has occurred. The answer is, "It all depends."

How to Justify Officer Safety Searches

October 1, 2007

On average, 60,000 officers are assaulted on the job every year. That's an average of 164 per day. The risk level you face on the job makes it important not only to resist complacency and to follow prudent tactics, but also to understand how to ensure that your interactions with suspects are constitutionally justifiable, so that you are never forced to choose between being safe and being sued.

Reflex Fire

October 1, 2007

It's not uncommon to hear or read about officer-involved shootings where multiple officers emptied their loads into the suspect and anything within 10 feet of him. Asked about why they opened fire, bystander officers may reply, "When another officer started shooting, I just reflexively started shooting, too."

Seizing and Searching Passengers

September 1, 2007

In the 2007 decision in Brendlin v. California, the U.S. Supreme Court added yet another to a series of Fourth Amendment opinions on the subject of vehicle searches and seizures involving passengers, rather than drivers.

Reasonable Execution of Search Warrants

August 1, 2007

A search conducted under a valid search warrant can still violate the Fourth Amendment if it is conducted in an unreasonable manner. "It is incumbent upon the officer executing a search warrant to ensure the search is lawfully authorized and lawfully conducted." (Groh v. Ramirez)

Federal Liability for Vehicle Pursuits

July 1, 2007

Any officer who's been involved in a vehicle pursuit that resulted in property damage, bodily injury, or death should be concerned with at least three levels of liability. Departmental discipline may be imposed if the pursuit violates agency policy. Tort liability may be imposed through a lawsuit filed in state court. And plaintiffs may file a federal civil rights lawsuit seeking damages.

The "Good Faith" Doctrine

June 1, 2007

The U.S. Supreme Court has said that "Because many situations which confront officers in the course of executing their duties are more or less ambiguous, room must be allowed for some mistakes on their part. But the mistakes must be those of reasonable men, acting on facts leading sensibly to their conclusions of probability." (Brinegar v. U.S.)

Vehicle Impounding

May 1, 2007

If the court finds that the Constitution was violated by a vehicle impound, the existence of an authorizing statute or policy may not be enough to save you and your agency from civil liability and suppression of resulting evidence.

Plain Sense Seizures

April 1, 2007

If a criminal exposes evidence in ways that can be detected by use of the personal senses, there is no Fourth Amendment “search” involved in discovering the presence of such items. Assuming no previous unlawful search, the seizure of the items is presumptively reasonable if there is probable cause to associate them with criminal activity.

Cold Case Interrogations

March 1, 2007

In many instances, the suspect in a cold case turns out to be someone who is serving time for another crime. What are the considerations for conducting custodial interrogation of such a prisoner, insofar as Miranda and the Sixth Amendment right to counsel are concerned?

Search Warrant Exceptions

February 1, 2007

The requirement of the Fourth Amendment is that all searches be "reasonable." The Supreme Court has ruled that warrantless searches are presumed to be unreasonable, "subject only to a few specifically established and well-delineated exceptions."

The Lawful Use of Deception

January 1, 2007

It might be nice if law enforcement officers never had to lie to a criminal suspect in order to solve a crime. In fact, some police advisors do suggest to officers that they should never mislead a suspect. Unfortunately, the reality is otherwise.

Preserving and Disclosing Evidence

December 1, 2006

Most law enforcement officers are familiar with the term “Brady error.” But what exactly does the Brady rule cover, and what obligation does it impose on police? Under the Brady line of cases, when must officers preserve evidence, and what must be revealed to the prosecutor? These questions have been answered in a series of opinions from the U.S. Supreme Court.

ID Procedures and the Right to Counsel

November 1, 2006

There are several ways a crime victim or other eyewitness might have an opportunity to identify a stranger-perpetrator of a crime before being called as a witness in court. (If the perpetrator is an acquaintance, the ID will not generally be an issue.)

Miranda Wording

October 1, 2006

When custodial interrogation is imminent and it's time to give the suspect a Miranda warning, what exactly do you have to say? The answer is, nothing exactly. The U.S. Supreme Court, which created the necessity of a warning of rights and a waiver as prerequisites to the prosecutorial use of a statement obtained through custodial interrogation, has never held that any precise wording is required.

30th Anniversary: High-Impact Decisions

October 1, 2006

Every U.S. Supreme Court decision on the criminal justice provisions of the Constitution (especially the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments) is important to law enforcement, but some have a more significant day-to-day impact on police work than others.

Parole and Probation Searches

September 1, 2006

After pussyfooting around the issue for years, the U.S. Supreme Court has finally come to a decision on what justifies a probation or parole search.

Knock Notice After Hudson

August 1, 2006

Never mind the headlines and the editorials proclaiming that the Supreme Court did away with the knock-and-announce requirement for execution of search warrants in the recent case of Hudson v. Michigan. The court did no such thing.

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