We are going to try to do podcasts throughout the year to see if they help officers better understand the law.
We are going to try to hold these podcasts to just 2-3 minutes.
We would love some feed-back on these to see if they are making sense at briefings -- and what officers are saying about these scenarios.
Almost everybody remembers from the Fenton case that the Illinois Court of Appeals placed extremely high requirements on officers who encounter a domestic (most officers would say highly unfair requirements) -- basically requiring seizures when the situation possibly does not seem to require it.
Hawkins is kind of the other side of the tightrope -- dealing with going too far on a domestic -- searching and seizing without a theory.
Here is the audio I'd like you to listen to:
So for the first podcast, we are going to give some suggestions about where we think the discussion should go or conclude:
1. The officers were perfectly justified in believing this 911 call was an emergency.
2. As soon as the officers reasonably believed that the "emergency" (constitutionally) was over, they should have lowered their aggressiveness and intrusiveness.
3. In this case the officers should probably have helped the female to find a friend's place to stay that night -- if that is ok within departmental policies.
4. Extra Credit -- An A+ comment would be that although the IDVA apparently provides for a good faith defense, Section 1983 (generally) does not or permit officers to proffer a state statute as a defense in federal case (if the plaintiff's attorney knows what he is doing). In other words, there really is no "good faith" defense under Section 1983. The only threshold question in a Section 1983 case is -- did you violate the plaintiff / citizens rights? If the answer is yes, the follow-up question is -- was there case law that put you on notice of this? In this case there is a lot of case law that did.