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Supreme Court hears Fourth Amendment case

| Oct 23, 2020 | Criminal Defense |

Maryland police need to be careful when they are apprehending and chasing suspects. Here, the Fourth Amendment prohibition against illegal searches and seizures comes into play. A current Supreme Court case is about to shed more light on what may be considered an illegal seizure.

Police shot a fleeing suspect

In the case, a New Mexico women was fleeing when police opened fire on her. She was hit twice but kept on going. She traveled as much as 75 miles and went to the hospital to treat her wounds. The police arrested her the next day. The woman filed a civil rights lawsuit against the police, claiming that they violated her constitutional rights with an illegal seizure. Her case is based on the fact that shooting her would be considered an illegal and unreasonable seizure.

Shooting a suspect may not be a seizure

Normally, shooting a suspect would be considered a seizure. However, there is an exception for a suspect who is in the process of fleeing. The police argue that the woman traveled 75 more miles after the shooting, so she was definitely fleeing. She claims that she was still considered seized because parts of her body were paralyzed after the shooting. The issue to be decided is whether a seizure requires the actual stopping of a suspect. The woman claims that her shooting was a restraint on her liberty and would be considered an unreasonable seizure.

There are a number of ways that police could violate your civil and constitutional rights during the criminal justice process. However, you may not know enough on your own to bring it to the attention of the courts. A criminal defense attorney may review the facts of your case to see if you have any grounds to either contest the charges or file a lawsuit against the police. The attorney might also help guide you through the process and assist you in obtaining the most favorable outcome possible.