Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A few 10th Circuit cases:

Henry v. Story, 2011 WL 4537796 (10/13/11) (N.M.) (Published) - In a civil rights case, an Albuquerque police officer did not use excessive force when he pointed his firearm at the plaintiff, whom the officer saw driving a car with a license plate that returned an NCIC "hit." [The "hit" turned out to be incorrect.]. By virtue of that "hit," the officer had probable cause to believe the plaintiff had stolen a vehicle, which is a felony, and he could reasonably believe the plaintiff posed an immediate threat to the public given the plaintiff's strong incentive to evade arrest by driving away. It doesn't matter that the officer didn't know whether or not the car had been stolen by force. The jury instructions did not incorrectly indicate the officers' adherence to standard operating procedures rendered their actions reasonable.

U.S. v. Lopez-Estrada, 2011 WL 4640859 (10/7/11) (Kan.) (unpub'd) - The officer had reasonable suspicion to believe the defendant's license plate violated a statute that requires the secure fastening of a plate to prevent swinging, even though the officer did not see the plate swinging while the defendant was driving. The officer could reasonably believe a jury-rigged job of affixing a plate might leave it poorly fastened and cause it to swing. [There's a picture of the securely-fastened license plate in the opinion].

Blazier v. Larson, 2011 WL 4552525 (10/4/11) (Utah) (unpub'd) - The prosecutor had absolute immunity from being sued for his threats to the plaintiff that if he kept publicly criticizing people who were allegedly the victims of the plaintiff's assault, the prosecutor would renew the assault charges he had dismissed. It was within the prosecutor's authority to make a threat to bring charges for conduct the officer believed to be felonious.

U.S. v. Wilson, 2011 WL 4552520 (10/4/11) (Utah) (unpub'd) - A 21-month guideline sentence was not substantively unreasonable for escape where the d. ct. noted the defendant walked out one month before his sentence ended and showed a confronting officer the peace sign. The facts indicated the defendant still had not learned his lesson.