With all of the news stories that have been covered on the news regarding police misconduct, some people might be wondering exactly what constitutes actual police misconduct. It might surprise some people to learn that police officers have considerable leeway when trying to decide how to react to situations.
One of the laws that people use to demonstrate police misconduct is the Fourth Amendment. This amendment gives certain protections regarding seizures and searches. A recent case regarding a man facing federal drug trafficking charges shows how unreasonable search and seizure can affect a criminal case.
In that case, the man was stopped by police officers who said he was jaywalking. After making contact with the man, they searched him. Officers found a considerable amount of marijuana and a gun. He was arrested on federal drug trafficking and felon in possession of a gun charges. All of the criminal charges were dropped because the reason police stopped him wasn't lawful.
The man wasn't acting in a manner that met the requirements for jaywalking. That meant the search was illegal and the seizure of the drugs and gun was illegal. The charges against him were dropped.
It is interesting to note that police officers have immunity from civil lawsuits unless civil rights were violated. When a person's civil rights were violated, civil lawsuits might be possible. More importantly, the person's criminal case might be affected in a manner that is considered positive for the defendant.
Anyone who has had contact with law enforcement and faces criminal charges should determine if the officers involved in the case acted in a legal manner. Violations by the officers of the laws of this country might mean a defendant can have a case dismissed.
Source: FindLaw, "Police Misconduct and Civil Rights," accessed Aug. 10, 2015