Tuesday, November 14, 2006

One for the good guys

You know that feeling you get when the good guy in a movie puts the final beatdown on the bad guy that has plagued him for the entire movie? Well that's the feeling I get when I read this.

Long story short -- Cops break down the door for no reason, handcuff the owner, then leave a couple hours later with an, "oops my bad." Owner sues. Jury awards over $100,000 from the bank accounts of the three cops. Sweet!

The best part about this (and the reason its newsworthy) is that this isn't usually the case. Usually the law says the same thing as the cops: "we made a booboo. sorry." Well this pretty much blows because if average joe breaks in you can sue his pants off. But if it's cops taking the law into their own hand, usually there no recourse in the courts. So the 4th amendment is generally protected by the exclusionary rule, i.e. you search something illegally you can use the fruits of the search at trial.

Well readers you tell me, if you're a police officer contemplating violating someone's constitutional rights, what's the greater motivation to not break the law: the thought that the fruits of the search will be excluded if the perpetrator has a lawyer good enough to make the argument, OR the thought that it might cost you $50,000? Tough call huh?

So if you're ever in Tacoma, don't fuck around with Alan Morris, Gary Stril, or David Alred.

Thanks to Volokh.