discussion 3579

The Fourth Amendment of the United States protects U.S. citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures from government entities.

Please cite a case on one of the following areas: use of force, evidence collection, arresting power, or probable cause. Provide a brief synopsis of the case. Do you agree with the disposition of the case? Why or why not?

What constitutes unreasonable searches and seizures? Do police have the power to arrest unlawful behavior without probable cause?

Please include the name of the person or question to which you are replying in the subject line. For example, “Tom’s response to Susan’s comment.”

Classmate 1 Yolanda Beck

Use of Force

The petitioner Graham who was a diabetic asked his friend Berry to drive him to the store to get orange juice to counteract an onset of insulin reaction. After entering the store, he decided the wait was too long, turned around and left abruptly, he then asked Berry to take him to a friend’s house instead. The respondent Connor, a police officer decided to follow the two because he was suspicious of them. Connor made an investigative stop and ordered the two men to wait while he investigates what happened in the store. Graham’s attempt to explain the situation was ignored, due to Grahams behavior, he was put in handcuffs and sustained multiple injuries. He was released after they discovered he had done nothing wrong in the store. Graham later filed a suit in the District Court under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against Connor, alleging that police officers had used excessive force causing bodily injuries, he argued they were in violation of his rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. At first the lower courts found that officers did not use excessive force on Graham based on the “substantive due process” standard. Later the Supreme Court reversed this decision and held that excessive force claims during an investigatory stop or arrest should be examined under the Fourth Amendment (Justia, 2019).

In this case, I think the ruling was fair. Citizens should not be subjected to excessive use of force on an officer’s hunch. The officer should have given him the benefit of the doubt and listened to him and his friend, at the point of pulling them over he didn’t have any proof they had done anything wrong, they were treated like criminals. The court ruled that under the same scenario and circumstances a reasonable officer would not have used the same excessive force. The Fourth Amendment guarantees a free citizen the right to be secure in their person and free from unreasonable seizures.


Justia. (2019, March 2019). Graham v, Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (19821). Retrieved from Justia: https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/490/38…

Classmate 2 Grant Fraker

As a law enforcement officer, one of the first cases that comes to mind when someone asks about use of force case law is Tennessee v Garner 471 U.S. 1 (1985). In Garner two Memphis, TN police officers were dispatched to a prowler call. As they arrived on the scene they saw Edward Garner fleeing the scene and gave a short foot chase. During the chase, Garner jumped a 6-foot fence at which point in time Officer Hymon gave commands for Garner to stop and upon his refusal to stop fired at Garner striking him in the back of the head and killing him. A search of Garner at the hospital turned up a purse and $10 that were taken from the initial crime scene. The issue at hand before the Supreme Court was the use of deadly force to stop a fleeing felon. At that time in Tennessee it was legal under state law for law enforcement to use deadly force in such a manner. Writing for the majority Justice White said “This case requires us to determine the constitutionality of the use of deadly force to prevent the escape of an apparently unarmed suspected felon. We conclude that such force may not be used unless it is necessary to prevent the escape and the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others” (Tennessee v Garner, 1985). I agree with the court ruling in this case that it is unreasonable for law enforcement to use deadly force to stop a suspected felon simply because he is a suspected felon without any of the aforementioned factors (poses a significant threat of death or serious injury to the officer or others).

Unreasonable searches and seizures can be constituted as a search or seizure absent probable cause, consent, a search warrant, or the suspected contraband being in plain view. When asked if police have the power to arrest unlawful behavior without probable cause the short answer is “No.” And that is clearly laid out in the 4th Amendment “No warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” After an arrest, even when the officer witnessed the offense, an officer is required to obtain an arrest warrant for the individual, which must be supported by probable cause and sworn to under oath. However, a law enforcement officer does have the ability to detain a person based off of Articulable Reasonable Suspicion to further his/her investigation. For reference articulable reasonable suspicion is defined as a set of facts and/or circumstances that would lead a reasonable officer to believe that a crime has been, is being, or will be committed.


Tennessee v Garner 471 U.S. 1 (1985)


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discussion 3579 was first posted on June 26, 2020 at 7:36 pm.
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