Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Civil Rights Plaintiff Loses on Religious Freedom Argument

Sause v. Bauer, 859 F.3d 1270 (6/20/17) (Kan.) (Published) - The ยง 1983 civil rights plaintiff only raised the religious freedom argument. Judge Tymkovich opines that, if the plaintiff had raised a 4th Amendment argument, he would have found a constitutional violation. He finds the allegations, if true, that officers prolonged the encounter beyond the time needed to complete the officers' objective and their actions were not reasonably related to a legitimate objective. The officers went to Ms. Sause's home due to a noise complaint; at first Ms. Sause denied entry; later she let the officers in; the officers asked angrily why she hadn't let them in at first; she responded by showing them a copy of the constitution she had on display by her front door; "the Bill of rights are just a piece of paper, that doesn't work here," an officer responded; the officers threatened that their encounter would be on COPS; they told her to get ready because she was going to jail and her bond would be $2,000; she started praying; they demanded that she stop and then said: "you need to move back to where you came from"; an officer flipped through a booklet searching for a violation to charge Ms. Sause with, suggesting the officers weren't proceeding under the noise ordinance; they issued tickets for interference with law enforcement and disorderly conduct for not answering the door at first; and 3 or 4 times they asked her to show them any tattoos or scars she had, including scars on her chest from a double mastectomy. If true, the judge summed up, the officers "acted with extraordinary contempt of a law abiding citizen."