Appelate Court Says Officers Can Be Held Liable In L.A. Raid
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Federal, state and local law enforcement officers can be held liable for raiding a parolee's home while he was in jail, an appeals court ruled.
The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2 to 1 Tuesday to reinstate a civil rights lawsuit brought by Darla Motley, whose boyfriend police allege is a member of the Four Trey Crips gang. Motley has said her constitutional rights were violated and that her 5-week-old son was terrorized during the March 1999 raid.
The court majority ruled that Motley was entitled to a jury trial on her claim that the law enforcement team also violated her constitutional rights by threatening to arrest her and place her baby in foster care unless she let them in.
Motley alleged that after they entered the home, one officer pushed her against a wall, and another entered the baby's room and pointed his gun at the child while others rifled through her belongings.
Chief Deputy City Attorney Terree A. Bowers said the defendants had not decided whether to appeal. They could seek an appeal before a larger 9th Circuit Court panel.
Motley's attorney Stephen Yagman applauded the decision.
``The court struck a hard blow for liberty by holding liable these out-of-control, tyrannical feds, state, and LAPD cops,'' he said in a statement.
A U.S. District judge had earlier thrown out Motley's lawsuit, asserting that the officers from the Los Angeles Police Department, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the state parole authority had qualified immunity.
The appeals court found that the officers had no right to conduct the search because parolee Janae Jamerson was in jail at the time. The court found that authorities relied on stale information during a March 1999 sweep targeting parolees and should have known he was in jail or checked after Motley told them he did not live in the apartment.
The majority opinion was by judges Betty B. Fletcher and Harry Pregerson. Judge Melvin Brunetti dissented, arguing that the officers had a reasonable basis for believing that Jamerson was living at the house because they were given his name and address by their superiors.
BTW a person can be on Parole, and in jail at the same time. Either becuase the county jail failed to notify the CDC of the parolees arrest on a new charge, or becuase the new charge is so petty that CDC did not revoke the parole staus.
other Parolee story