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Vol. 39 No. 4 July / August 2010
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Highlights of This Issue

Special Bulletin

  • Liability for Terminating Law Enforcement Employee for Running for Office: Qualified Immunity

United States Supreme Court

  • Supreme Court Further Narrows Miranda Rule
  • Police Departments May Monitor Pagers for Personal Use
  • State and Local Gun Control Laws Must Conform to the Second Amendment, But Court Fails to Give Any Guidance

Federal and State Decisions

  • Arrest, Search and Seizure Issues: warrantless arrest; curtilage of home; exigent circumstances; time to get a warrant; probation searches; reasonable suspicion; motel room; stop and frisk; officer’s instinct; officer safety; wallet; traffic stops; probable cause; suspended license; co-owners; consent; voluntariness; actual authority; minor; apparent authority; non-resident
  • Interrogation Issues: Miranda; custody; failure to tell defendant he was not under arrest; two-step interrogation technique; Missouri v. Seibert; advisement of warnings; need to repeat warnings; waiver; effectiveness; alcohol; foreign language defendant; voluntariness; police misrepresentation of facts and law
  • Crimes; Evidence; Trial Procedure: police defendant; bribery; sentence; evidence; admissibility of 911 caller’s statements; probable cause for DUI; exclusion of PBT and HGN results; admissibility of Breathalyzer test results; police opinion evidence; accuracy of Alco-Sensor machine
  • Civil Liability/Personnel Law: inadequate search warrant; qualified immunity; deadly force; high school standoff; excessive force; taser use on traffic violator; inadequate accident investigation; failure to call ambulance at accident scene; police accident in responding to 911 calls; whistleblower’s suicide; racial profiling allegations; jail suicides; Americans With Disabilities Act; reverse discrimination suits; judicial supervision of police department employment practices


    Special Bulletin
    United States Supreme Court
    Arrest, Search and Seizure
    Crimes; Evidence
    Civil Liability / Personnel Law
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Special Bulletin

Liability for Terminating Law Enforcement Employee for Running for Office
Randall v. Scott No. 09-12862 (11th Cir. 2010).

It was a violation of the First Amendment for a prosecutor to fire a law enforcement officer as her chief of staff when he declared himself to be a candidate for chairmanship of a county board of commissioners. She fired him because her husband was interested in running for the same office, the two candidates would split the vote against the incumbent and plaintiff refused to withdraw from the race. Plaintiff’s candidacy posed no conflict of interest or breach of loyalty with his duties as the prosecutor’s chief of staff. However, since the plaintiff’s right to run for office in a situation where there was no conflict of interest with the prosecutor was not “clearly established” at the time of the violation (2007), defendant was entitled to qualified immunity in the plaintiff’s § 1983 action.

“Since Scott’s [D.A.] interest in firing Randall was, as alleged in the complaint, for purely personal reasons, the state has no interest in preventing Randall from running for office. . . .”

“. . . We conclude [however] that Scott’s alleged unconstitutional act of working to prevent Randall from running for office was not ‘obviously’ clear.

“It appears to us that any such right to run for office was not heretofore clearly established. Scott therefore enjoys individual qualified immunity protection for her alleged violation of Randall's First Amendment rights. Accordingly we affirm the district court's judgment on the qualified immunity issue regarding Randall's individual capacity claim against Scott.”


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