2018 U.S. Supreme Court Updates
The Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training provides the following case summaries for informational purposes only. As always, please consult your agency’s legal counsel for the applicability of these cases to specific situations.
A full text of these summaries may be found on the department’s legal website.
The full text of the actual decisions will be found on the U.S. Supreme Court website.
FEDERAL COURT PROCEDURE
Artis v. District of Columbia --- U.S. --- (2018)
Decided Jan. 22, 2018
ISSUE: If a federal claim is dismissed and the case is remanded to state court, does the federal law apply the “stop-the-clock” or “grace period” method of calculating time to refile in state court (Unless a federal statute says otherwise)?
HOLDING: In this case (an employment-discrimination case), the Court agreed that filing in one venue may be necessary, even if the case is being litigated in another venue. In such cases, agencies should remain aware of possible litigation brought in state and federal court, and the need to defend in both simultaneously. Agencies also should be aware of litigation resolved in one venue then sequentially filed in another.
42 U.S.C. §1983 – FOURTH AMENDMENT
District of Columbia v. Wesby --- U.S. --- (2018)
Decided Jan. 22, 2018
ISSUE: If an arrest is determined after-the-fact to be incorrect, can officers be held liable for making an arrest upon reasonable facts that a crime was being committed at the time?
HOLDING: The Court agreed that a mistaken arrest is not necessarily actionable. Such cases will be considered on a case-by-case basis for reasonableness.
42 U.S.C. §1983 – FORCE
Kisela v. Hughes --- U.S. --- (2018)
Decided April 2, 2018
ISSUE: Is an officer entitled to qualified immunity if the law is not clearly established?
HOLDING: The Court agreed that an officer is entitled to qualified immunity if the law in a specific situation is not yet clearly established. In this case, it was reasonable for an officer to believe that the subject presented a deadly threat, even though others in the situation did not believe there was any risk.
SEARCH & SEIZURE – VEHICLE SEARCH
Byrd v. U.S. --- U.S. --- (2018)
Decided May 14, 2018
ISSUE: Does an unauthorized driver in a rental vehicle still have an expectation of privacy in that vehicle?
HOLDING: The Court agreed that even if a rental-vehicle driver is not listed on the rental documents as an authorized driver, he or she may still have an expectation of privacy in that vehicle. The issue of an unauthorized driver in a rental vehicle is a matter for the rental company, not law enforcement, to determine.
Collins v. Virginia --- U.S. --- (2018)
Decided May 29, 2018
ISSUE: Does the “automobile exception” justify an entry into the curtilage to obtain evidence?
HOLDING: The Court agreed that if a vehicle is located in the curtilage of a residence, that the automobile exception (also known as a Carroll search) is not applicable. In such cases, a search warrant should be obtained if the vehicle is located on private property.
Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, Fla., --- U.S. --- (2018)
Decided June 18, 2018
ISSUE: May a case be pursued for a retaliatory arrest under the First Amendment, even if probable cause for the arrest exists?
HOLDING: The Court agreed that even if there is probable cause, if the arrest is pursued for purposes that indicate retaliation for the exercise of the First Amendment, it still is possibly actionable. In this case, however, the lawsuit was against city officials, who bore an alleged-retaliatory intent. The officer who made the arrest was unaware of the retaliatory motivations.
Carpenter v. U.S. --- U.S. --- (2018)
Decided June 22, 2018
ISSUE: Is a search warrant required for access to cell-site location information for historical data?
HOLDING: The Court ruled that a search warrant is required to access historical cell-site data. However, that evidence may still be obtained, depending upon the facts, in an exigent circumstance. This ruling does not apply to “tower dumps,” or real-time access to a moving device in a specific situation.
Sexton (Warden) v. Beaudreaux --- U.S. --- (2018)
Decided June 28, 2018
ISSUE: Is the reliability of a suspect’s identification a case-by-case evaluation?
HOLDING: The Court agreed that suspect identification claims must be evaluated on a case-by-case, totality-of-circumstances, basis. In this case, the Court agreed that although the witness could not make a definitive identification from a photo array (although he did identify the same subject in both, he indicated he could not be sure) his identification from the subject’s gait was valid.