Ninth Circuit Upholds Its Previous Declaration That Cops Stealing Your Stuff Doesn't Violate The Constitution

from the and-cops-are-still-not-on-notice-they-can't-just-steal-stuff dept

Earlier this spring, the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court basically said it's okay for cops to steal property from citizens. This isn't because stealing is okay. It isn't. It's illegal. It's that stealing someone's possessions after they've been seized with a warrant doesn't violate the Constitution.

In this case, officers, who were engaged in an illegal gambling investigation, raided a couple's home, walking away with far more property than they officially said they did:

Following the search, the City Officers gave Appellants an inventory sheet stating that they seized approximately $50,000 from the properties. Appellants allege, however, that the officers actually seized $151,380 in cash and another $125,000 in rare coins. Appellants claim that the City Officers stole the difference between the amount listed on the inventory sheet and the amount that was actually seized from the properties.

Despite it being apparently obvious that being illegally stripped of personal possessions would interfere with a person's direct interest in the property they no longer have, the court extended qualified immunity to the officers. It reasoned that theft, while illegal, isn't unconstitutional, even when it's the government stealing from citizens.

The panel determined that at the time of the incident, there was no clearly established law holding that officers violate the Fourth or Fourteenth Amendment when they steal property that is seized pursuant to a warrant.

The Ninth Circuit then withdrew this opinion, suggesting it may have had second thoughts about allowing officers to engage in theft so long as they have a warrant. It needn't have bothered. The superseding opinion [PDF] changes nothing. It points out that only one other circuit has reached the conclusion that theft by law enforcement officers violates the Constitution, but that opinion was unpublished, which means it simply doesn't count.

Since there's no precedent out there in the federal court system, the Ninth isn't going to go out of its way to create some.

We have never addressed whether the theft of property covered by the terms of a search warrant, and seized pursuant to that warrant, violates the Fourth Amendment. The only circuit that has addressed that question—the Fourth Circuit—concluded in an unpublished decision that it does. See Mom’s Inc. v. Willman, 109 F. App’x 629, 636–37 (4th Cir. 2004).

Not addressing it now means having to write ridiculous paragraphs like this in order to prevent officers from being sued for stealing stuff during searches.

We recognize that the allegation of any theft by police officers—most certainly the theft of over $225,000—is deeply disturbing. Whether that conduct violates the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures, however, would not “be ‘clear to a reasonable officer.’”

I'm pretty sure the officers knew it was wrong to steal. It's a thing pretty much everyone knows. That they wouldn't have been "on notice" that it violated the Constitution seems almost beside the point. But since the officers raised a qualified immunity defense, we're left with this absurd outcome.

Appellants have failed to show that it was clearly established that the City Officers’ alleged conduct violated the Fourth Amendment. Accordingly, we hold that the City Officers are protected by qualified immunity against Appellants’ Fourth Amendment claim.

The court recognizes what it's doing. But it claims to be bound by [checks notes] lack of precedent, which makes this footnote's recognition of the obvious especially meaningless.

Importantly, we observe that the technical legal question of whether the theft of property covered by the terms of a search warrant, and seized pursuant to that warrant, violates the Fourth Amendment is a different question from whether theft is morally wrong. We recognize that theft is morally wrong, and acknowledge that virtually every human society teaches that theft generally is morally wrong. That principle does not, however, answer the legal question presented in this case.

Unfortunately, this closing statement is still true.

Not all conduct that is improper or morally wrong, however, violates the Constitution.

But when the conduct involves government employees illegally depriving people of their belongings, it would seem to violate the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. The search may be protected by a valid warrant, but making off with property that isn't targeted (or even present on the inventory sheet) sure sounds like an unreasonable seizure.

Filed Under: 4th amendment, 9th circuit, asset forfeiture, civil asset forfeiture, police, qualified immunity


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    non-legalist, 16 Sep 2019 @ 10:56am

    Minion supports common law!

    I'm pretty sure the officers knew it was wrong to steal. It's a thing pretty much everyone knows.

    You just stated, whether know / admit or not, the essence of common law.

    Remember The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    Of course astro-turfing "Gary" will soon be in saying how he hates Common Law...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Sep 2019 @ 10:57am

      The Golden Rule is not a legal principle.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Selwyn Froggit, 16 Sep 2019 @ 11:10am

        Re: The Golden Rule is basis of all law.

        The Golden Rule is not a legal principle.

        Sheesh!

        So, again, you admit are a Royalist and serf to authoritarians, and now are against The Golden Rule!?

        Sheesh.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          AnonyCog, 16 Sep 2019 @ 11:33am

          Re: Re: The Golden Rule is basis of all law.

          Stephen is correct, as you can still commit crimes while serving a warrant. This is a violation through theft by deception or fraud against the government and the people of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Therefore, the unpublished ruling that the public has no access to is not a precedent nor is it applicable to the decision of outright theft. If receipts showing that the individuals claim possession of these items for insurance purposes, the government is duty bound to investigate and hold those liable for the theft. Dirty police also make the whole bushel rotten.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 19 Sep 2019 @ 3:13am

            Re: Re: Re: The Golden Rule is basis of all law.

            Knowing that a certain act is morally wrong has never stopped any criminal from proceeding with crime. That's why they're criminals; they know it's wrong and do it anyway. Police, whose job it is to enforce the law, know more than the rest of us what's right or wrong (you'd think!), but that doesn't seem to stop them killing, raping, and robbing at will when they're so inclined.

            The only good LEO is one who does the job properly, professionally, and within the confines of the law.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2019 @ 4:09pm

          Re: Re: The Golden Rule is basis of all law. He who has the gold

          If you believed in the Golden Ruke. You would have left when you promised too.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Gary (profile), 16 Sep 2019 @ 5:04pm

            Re: Re: Re: The Golden Rule is basis of all law. He who has the

            You would have left when you promised too.

            Yeah that post was a sterling example of how Blue Ball feels about honesty. But that is why he changes his name five times a day so no one will know he broke his word.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        btr1701 (profile), 16 Sep 2019 @ 3:37pm

        Re:

        The way the article is written makes it sound like the plaintiff/victims are just shot out of luck, but the victims of the theft can still press felony criminal charges against the cops for violation of the penal code prohibiting grand larceny and sue them civilly under state law.

        Just because something is not unconstitutional doesn't mean it's not illegal.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2019 @ 3:56pm

          Re: Re:

          The couple have just had the civil case tossed on the grounds of qualified immunity, and I doubt they can get the state to press criminal charges.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 16 Sep 2019 @ 5:42pm

            Re: Re: Re:

            Nonsense, DA's love filing legal action against cops, to the point that you practically have to physically hold them back to keep them from doing so on a regular basis. /s

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            btr1701 (profile), 16 Sep 2019 @ 10:01pm

            Re: Re: Re:

            They had the federal civil case for violation of the Constitution tossed. They can still sue under state law. There's no qualified immunity for police violation of the grand larceny statute in my state.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 16 Sep 2019 @ 10:21pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              So, question: Do you know offhand if they could they bring a suit like that themselves, or would they need to ask someone like the DA to bring it, given who was being sued and what the charges were?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2019 @ 4:29am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "They can still sue under state law. There's no qualified immunity for police violation of the grand larceny statute in my state."

              They could. And after you spend more on lawyer bills and court costs than the good officers walked away with, you might even win.

              Pot odds are you end up in a place where getting the bad cops steal everything you legally own because warrant - or civil forfeiture - is the less expensive option, and where even when you win the case nothing will happen to the thief with a badge.

              Hence why it's bloody important to get leverage on the federal level for shit like this.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2019 @ 4:00pm

          Re: Re:Copsuckers gonna suck

          Finally came up for some air did ya?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2019 @ 4:35pm

          Re: Re:

          Hopefully they do because this kind of behavior should not be tolerated, qualified immunity should never be a defense against blatantly illegal behavior.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Bruce C., 16 Sep 2019 @ 7:31pm

          Re: Re:

          Wouldn't there also be a civil claim for conversion, with a correspondingly lower burden of proof?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Gary (profile), 16 Sep 2019 @ 11:00am

      Re: Troll supports common law!

      You just stated, whether know / admit or not, the essence of common law.

      What "Common Low" are you trying to describe? Please cite.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_law

      The body of law derived from judicial decisions of courts is what us speakers of English here int he States use as the actual definition.

      If you want to assign your own imaginary made up terms, you need to define them first.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        N. Chahed., 16 Sep 2019 @ 11:05am

        Re: Re: Troll supports common law!

        You should note that, if as "Gary" and Masnick hold, "common law" is the summed result of court decisions, then clearly We The People do not want it to be defined by courts.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Gary (profile), 16 Sep 2019 @ 11:09am

          Re: Re: Re: Troll supports common law!

          Gary" and Masnick hold, "common law" is the summed result of court decisions

          What the actual fuck are you trying to say?

          Common law is clearly defined. I neither hate it not love it. Not am I trying to make up some gibberish and hold other people to it.

          Cabbage Law, on the other hand, is part of the nonsensical rantings of Blue Balls. Law that is too important to write down because everyone should know it?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2019 @ 11:14am

          Re: Re: Re: Troll supports common law!

          We The People ... blah blah blah...

          Speak for yourself. You don't speak for everyone else despite your delusions of grandeur.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Sep 2019 @ 11:41am

          We The People do not want it to be defined by courts

          When you say “We the People”, are you referring to individuals or citizens? 🙃

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Selwyn Froggit, 16 Sep 2019 @ 11:08am

        Re: Re: Troll supports common law!

        Common law in English / American tradtion goes back hundreds of years. If you don't know that, you're pretty ignorant.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Gary (profile), 16 Sep 2019 @ 11:10am

          Re: Re: Re: Troll supports common law!

          So you can't actually cite?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2019 @ 11:11am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Troll supports common law!

            Common law is so broadly cited, doesn't need sourced. JUST LOOK, FOR IT FOOL.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Homer, 16 Sep 2019 @ 11:13am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Troll supports common law!

            Common law is so broadly cited, in MOST court cases, doesn't need sourced. JUST LOOK FOR IT -- other than on Wikipedia.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Gary (profile), 16 Sep 2019 @ 11:17am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Troll supports common law!

              So, you can't even do a simple citation - but expect us to take your word for it?

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_law

              In other words - You are making it all up. That's called "Headcannon" if you were writing Fanfic.

              The Golden Rule is a good idea - not a law. Or cite otherwise.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                identicon
                Homer, 16 Sep 2019 @ 11:18am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Troll supports common law!

                So, you can't even do a simple citation - but expect us to take your word for it?

                You don't have to take anyone's word for it, or need a citation. Go ask anyone on the street if this is right.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Gary (profile), 16 Sep 2019 @ 11:44am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Troll supports common law!

                  You don't have to take anyone's word for it, or need a citation. Go ask anyone on the street if this is right.

                  I just asked you. You responded with nonsense, proving my point.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2019 @ 1:25pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Troll supports common law!

                  Ok, I asked around. I got responses that did not indicate a consensus. I guess it's not that "common" after all... Now what?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2019 @ 4:06pm

                  Re: liar supports what he imagines common Law to be

                  “You don't have to take anyone's word for it, or need a citation. Go ask anyone on the street if this is right.”

                  Wow bro. The best you have is the Family Feud standard? That’s about four steps below cabbage law.

                  Just admit you’re wrong. The truth will set you free.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Matthew Cline (profile), 16 Sep 2019 @ 11:27am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Troll supports common law!

              JUST LOOK FOR IT -- other than on Wikipedia.

              Pretty much everyone but SovCits are going to agree with wikipedia on what common law is. So are we to look to SovCits to for info on the subject?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Gary (profile), 16 Sep 2019 @ 12:40pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Troll supports common law!

                I'm just trying to figure out if there is one SodCit here, or like five?

                I mean, if they actually had a definition they'd be shouting it out. It's like they just want to stomp around getting angry that we are "against them" when they can't even state their position?

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Sep 2019 @ 12:51pm

                  I'm just trying to figure out if there is one SodCit here, or like five?

                  Two at a minimum — the individual we call Blue Balls, and the citizen/settler/“legal corporation” whom he represents, which (according to SovCits) are two entirely different people.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Matthew Cline (profile), 16 Sep 2019 @ 1:25pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Troll supports common law!

                  I mean, if they actually had a definition they'd be shouting it out.

                  The thing is, most SovCits do have a concrete definition of common law, so I don't think John Smith/out_of_the_blue/whoever is a SovCit. The commenter in question seems to view common law as some sort of common sense type thing which people learn of via cultural osmosis.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Sep 2019 @ 4:37am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Troll supports common law!

                    "The commenter in question seems to view common law as some sort of common sense type thing which people learn of via cultural osmosis."

                    Or, given Out_of_the_blue/Jhon Smith/Baghdad Bobs prior modus operandi, more likely it's the new one-word schtick he uses to club every dissenting argument with without giving a toss what the word actually means.

                    "Common law" is defined by "precedent", which means all it takes is for one judge to dissent over a prior opinion and that particular aspect of common law is overturned.

                    It's somehow typical that Baghdad Bob/OOTB's weapon of choice is the one type of "law" which can actually be overturned by a single judge.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2019 @ 4:03pm

              Re: Wikipedia supports common law citations !

              Just look for it; as long as you don’t do it in place that has actual citations.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2019 @ 11:16am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Troll supports common law!

            So you can't actually cite?

            Of course not. All he knows is what the voices in his head tell him.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2019 @ 11:18am

          Re: Re: Re: Troll supports common law!

          So does the definition that it is decisions handed down by the courts.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 16 Sep 2019 @ 10:56am

    I agree that plain theft is not a Fourth Amendment violation

    Because there is absolutely no way that an officer, reasonable or not, can assume that his behavior is backed by the law. And the officers not entering the stolen amount into the records should automatically not make their conduct covered by qualified immunity because they chose not to conduct that action under governmental oversight.

    This is straightforward deliberate criminal behavior and should have the respective consequences regard litigation and the employment of the officers in a position requiring more rather than less respect of the law than in a civil job.

    That the government chooses to condone the crimes of their officers rather than terminate and prosecute them, that can be considered a Fourth Amendment violation and a violation of the constitution.

    The officers' conduct, in contrast, is "just" a crime.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2019 @ 10:58am

    While qualified immunity has its uses, such as covering an overstepping of bounds like collecting and cataloguing belonging that might be useful as evidence, but were not covered by a warrant. How did it get extended to covering blatant illegal actions like theft. It can be assumed that the intent was theft because they did not record what the seized, making it inadmissible as evidence, due to a broken chain of custody.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2019 @ 11:04am

      Re:

      How did it get extended to covering blatant illegal actions like theft.

      The judge and the cops are part of the same system.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Homer, 16 Sep 2019 @ 11:17am

        Re: Re: How did it get extended to covering blatant illegal acti

        ALL LAWYERS are in the same medieval crime syndicate. They delight in legalisms that destroy society, so they can control it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2019 @ 4:04pm

          Re: Re: Re: How did it get extended to past your bedtime?

          Shhhh little boy. The adults are having a conversation.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2019 @ 5:54pm

          Re: Re: Re: How did it get extended to covering blatant illegal

          ALL LAWYERS are in the same medieval crime syndicate

          Like the ones enforcing copyright? Those lawyers?

          How's that Paul Hansmeier fund coming along, bro?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2019 @ 11:19am

        Re: Re:

        The judge and the cops are part of the same system.

        That's how families work.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Sep 2019 @ 4:41am

        Re: Re:

        "The judge and the cops are part of the same system."

        Not necessarily. However, it's pretty much given that the state attorneys and judges who aren't blindly on the side of law enforcement stand a very slim chance of getting elected.

        Hence why the one shot at getting bad cops to not steal from suspects relies on bringing the issue to the federal level.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2019 @ 11:01am

    Warrant? What warrant?

    I would argue that only the property listed on the inventory sheet was covered by the warrant. The other property was taken without a warrant and simply stolen. Period.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      urza9814, 16 Sep 2019 @ 11:55am

      Re: Warrant? What warrant?

      It was not seized by the government because it was not recorded in the evidence inventory, therefore it was plain theft by a citizen which isn't a 4th amendment violation.

      The fact that the government will then refuse to prosecute that citizen because he also happens to be a cop is also not a violation, it's merely prosecutorial discretion.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        David, 16 Sep 2019 @ 12:20pm

        Re: Re: Warrant? What warrant?

        Since when are plain citizens covered by qualified immunity? Because that's what the court declared to apply here.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2019 @ 11:10am

    Cops are scum and judges suck.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2019 @ 11:12am

    The cops seizure was completely reasonable

    Obviously the 9th circuit viewed the seizure as fully reasonable. Quite an endorsement of the officers actions and they are clearly being unfairly attacked.

    The 4th amendment is pretty clear that it would have to be reasonable not to be in violation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Comboman, 16 Sep 2019 @ 11:12am

    Decision is correct

    When officers steal during a legally executed warrant, they are stealing from the government (who should have taken possession of the seized property), not from the criminals. Therefore no forth amendment violation has occurred. They are still guilty of stealing the seized property, but that is a separate issue. If the criminals were smart, they would have threatened the dirty cops with exposing them in exchange for a portion of the seized funds.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      urza9814, 16 Sep 2019 @ 12:02pm

      Re: Decision is correct

      "If the criminals were smart, they would have threatened the dirty cops with exposing them in exchange for a portion of the seized funds."

      Why? It DID get exposed. So exactly what were the consequences for the cops that they needed to be so afraid of? What were these consequences which were so severe that it would have been worth giving up thousands of dollars to avoid it?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AnonyCog, 16 Sep 2019 @ 11:28am

    So when can this group of judged be removed for mental defect? They sound schizophrenic in their reasoning. They also should be investigated for disbarment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2019 @ 11:52am

    I wonder what lovely valuables the judges have?

    get a judge that hates them to grant a search warrant and RIP ASS through the original judges personal possessions. Steal their wife's underwear, family photos, furniture, paintings, everything that can be sold on.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JdL (profile), 16 Sep 2019 @ 12:21pm

    Remind me again

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 16 Sep 2019 @ 12:50pm

    Rule of Man? Or Rule of Law?

    The search may be protected by a valid warrant, but making off with property that isn't targeted (or even present on the inventory sheet) sure sounds like an unreasonable seizure.

    The judicial doctrines of qualified/absolute immunity are the bastard children of a justice system (and apathetic electorate) that allows judges to empower themselves beyond the Constitution in twisting and contorting the law for expediency.

    It is just so much more convenient in allowing the thieving officers to hide behind the law than it would be for the judges to wade into a law enforcement created sea of shit and hash things out in search of justice.

    The Bill of Rights and US Constitution were not authored eleven score and twelve years ago so judges could hide the crimes of government agents behind the defective judicial doctrine of qualified/absolute immunity.

    That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness._

    http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Gary (profile), 16 Sep 2019 @ 3:43pm

      Re: Rule of Man? Or Rule of Law?

      The judicial doctrines of qualified/absolute immunity are the bastard children of a justice system (and apathetic electorate) that allows judges to empower themselves beyond the Constitution in twisting and contorting the law for expediency.

      Would you be speaking.... Common Law by any chance?

      Letting Judges and Juries decide court cases has it's flaws, but overall it works better than the alternatives.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 16 Sep 2019 @ 1:01pm

    There's gutless and then there's downright corrupt...

    ... Seriously, what the hell is in the water/air in that circuit that the judges there seems to keep issuing insane(ly corrupt) rulings like this?

    We recognize that theft is morally wrong, and acknowledge that virtually every human society teaches that theft generally is morally wrong.

    Unless you're a cop or a gutless/corrupt judge that is, in which case theft is perfectly okay because everyone knows putting on a uniform and badge instantly puts you in single digit IQ territory.

    That principle does not, however, answer the legal question presented in this case.

    The truly warped bit is, that very line undercuts their own argument elsewhere. If it's accepted that 'virtually every human society' considers theft a bad thing then the idea that a cop would have no idea that robbing someone is bad and against the law, and thereby not get qualified immunity for doing so, is utterly nonsensical. Their own argument shoots itself in the foot, but they are so pathetically desperate to cover for the police that they are willing to engage in contortions in order to give them a pass.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Tin-Foil-Hat, 16 Sep 2019 @ 3:53pm

      Re: There's gutless and then there's downright corrupt...

      Why not both?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Sep 2019 @ 4:45am

      Re: There's gutless and then there's downright corrupt...

      "... Seriously, what the hell is in the water/air in that circuit that the judges there seems to keep issuing insane(ly corrupt) rulings like this?"

      In a US state a judge is elected, and often the same applies to district attorneys. Turning a blind eye to the alleged malfeasance of police officers is far less damning than being perceived as being "soft on crime" because said judge or DA has turned their guns on the law enforcers. It's that simple.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2019 @ 1:17pm

    ..And yet despite the judges' supposed distaste and hand-wringing over how awful (but not illegal) this was, I don't see anybody in government stepping up to do something about it. I'm shocked. Shocked, I tell you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2019 @ 2:46pm

    Is the victim still responsible for any debt they may have incurred as a result of their purchasing the items subsequently stolen by law enforcement? Oh, hey - are they covered under their homeowners insurance?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tom (profile), 16 Sep 2019 @ 3:35pm

    Since the victims in this case now have a court ruling that a theft did happen, the names of the Officers committing said theft, and a list of the items stolen, the victims should file a theft complaint against the officers with the state's version of the FBI.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2019 @ 4:51pm

    Where the fuck do these 'judges' come from? Theft is theft, doesn't matter who committed it or against who! There is no excuse when it's an ordinary person and much less when it's a member of those meant to be upholding the law! I guess kickbacks are more important than the law, even to those who supposedly separate right from wrong to keep us safe!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 16 Sep 2019 @ 5:32pm

      Re:

      The sad thing is the judges in question are almost certainly not getting kickbacks from stuff like this, they simply can not or will not acknowledge that a cop could do anything wrong, and/or are unwilling to hold a cop accountable for their actions.

      As messed up as it is if they were being bribed that would actually make more sense.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 17 Sep 2019 @ 4:41am

    Just because they are old does not mean they are wise.
    Perhaps it is time to go back to the good old days of putting them on ice floes and letting them fend for themselves rather than bring ruin to the community because those whippersnappers need to understand until a court tells them, in a published opinion, that stealing is a crime.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 17 Sep 2019 @ 9:07am

      Re:

      Conversely, just because someone is young doesn't mean they're smart.

      The problem is less the age of the judges and more their priorities, in this case 'protect the police above all else'

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ed (profile), 17 Sep 2019 @ 7:48am

    Again...

    Never, ever trust a LEO.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2019 @ 11:33am

    A very stupid ruling. All it does is legitimize theft by the police which in turn will lead to more people fearing them. From that point the logical conclusion is that more cops will end up shot because they are seen as dangerous state sponsored criminals by the peoole they were supposed to serve.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Doktor Thomas, 22 Sep 2019 @ 4:48pm

    the 9th Circuit

    The judiciary in this country is at an all-time low.
    The 9th Circuit has been delusional for a decade.
    The DOJ needs to remedy its aberrant performances.

    This underlines the serious problems with all the governments in the USA.
    Not one deserves the support of The People.

    The time for change is here. When the new republics are established,
    lawyers and politicians should be barred from public service of any kind. ©2019

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.