Baltimore SWAT

Discussion in 'Off-topic' started by Malum Prohibitum, Aug 13, 2006.

  1. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    63,081
    255
    83
    Family of slain Dundalk woman sues Baltimore County police

    Luke Broadwater, The Examiner

    Aug 10, 2006


    BALTIMORE - The police never knocked on her door.


    They threw a flash-bang grenade and used a battering ram instead.

    Then they shot the startled 44-year-old Dundalk mother to death in her bedroom without reason.

    That’s the argument laid out in a federal wrongful death lawsuit filed Wednesday by family members of Cheryl Noel, 44, whom police shot and killed during a Jan. 19, 2005 SWAT team raid of her residence.

    The 11-page lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages for the family in connection with the loss of Noel’s life and the “companionship†and “care†she provided to her husband, mother and two sons.

    “This was a tragedy that should never have happened,†said Terrell Roberts III, an attorney for the Noel family.

    Roberts claims in a suit filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore that five police officers and Baltimore County violated Noel’s constitutional rights by killing her.

    Officer Carlos Artson “made an unreasonable seizure of the person of Cheryl Lynn Noel by shooting and killing her, violating her rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution ...†the suit states.

    At 4:30 a.m. on Jan. 21, 2005, Noel and her husband, Charles, were asleep in the master bedroom of their row house when the heavily-armed Baltimore County SWAT team stormed through her home. According to the suit, officers had found “trace amounts of drugs†in trash cans outside of the home.

    Cheryl Noel feared criminal intruders had broken into her home and grabbed a lawfully registered gun and held it pointed at the floor, the suit states.

    Artson kicked in her bedroom door with his boot and, without identifying himself or telling Noel to drop her weapon, shot her three times, including once after she already had slumped to the floor, according to the suit.

    “The use of a SWAT team to execute a routine drug warrant was excessive and overkill,†Roberts said. “The woman never knew the police had entered her home. She was doing everything that could be expected of a law-abiding citizen to protect her own life. She was shot and killed without any warning that the police were present or to drop her gun.â€

    Roberts said his clients “vigorously dispute†arguments that Noel was pointing her gun at the police officer when the officer shot her.

    “Clearly, a third shot was wholly unnecessary and grossly excessive,†he said.

    Baltimore County Police spokesman William Toohey said police did nothing wrong and the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s backs the officers.

    “The State’s Attorney’s Office ruled that the shooting was justified,†he said.

    lbroadwater@baltimoreexaminer.com

    Examiner
     
  2. jrm

    jrm Sledgehammer

    3,458
    1
    36
    "The State's Attorney ruled that the shooting was justified."

    By the time the officers were in the lady's bedroom, and she had armed herself, it's possible an officer concluded he had to shoot her or she would should him. But, the officer never should have been there in the first place.

    The times when it is appropriate to serve and execute a search warrant on a residence at 4:30 a.m. are few and far between. The fact that they use flash-bang grenades and a battering ram indicate that they expected people to be inside. Storming into an occupied residence in the middle of the night is dangerous and extremely likely to include some violent confrontation (the storming already is violent). It should be confined to those rare times when it is the only way to extract a person that is desperately wanted or when there is very good reason to believe that evidence will be destroyed before morning.

    Back to the shooting -- it's possible that the officers in her bedroom were in a shoot or be shot situation, but the officers created that situation be kicking down her bedroom door in the middle of the night.

    How many people on this site would be killed or killers if the police kicked in their bedroom doors unanounced in the middle of the night?
     

  3. Gunstar1

    Gunstar1 Administrator

    8,460
    5
    38
    :left: Me, though seeing as they usually wear body armor, I think it much more likely that I would be the one dead. The LEO would just have a couple of sore places in the morning.
     
  4. jrm

    jrm Sledgehammer

    3,458
    1
    36
    Exactly. All the more reason to knock on the door (or go mid-day when no or fewer people are even at home.
     
  5. viper32cm

    viper32cm New Member

    760
    0
    0
    I can just hear all the libs in my law school class chiming in together, "But that (government abusing power and invading people's freedoms) can't happen here"

    Well it just did.
     
  6. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

    24,122
    71
    48
    No Knock Warrants

    The Gourt of Appeals of Georgia recently decided a case, reported in the Fulton County Daily Report within the last few days, that made it abundantly clear that magistrates should not authorize a "no knock" clause on a search warrant just on the general assertion from officers that since this is a drug case, and drug cases often involve guns, and guns put officers' lives at risk, a no-knock entry must be done for "officer safety" in this and every other drug case.

    Our Courts have held that no-knock raids are to be reserved for cases involving big-dollar drug distribution rings where guns are more likely to be found than "simple possession of drugs" cases, and no-knocks are also allowed for cases where the cops have case-specific information about the place to be searched or the suspects who may be there that make it extra-likely that the bad guys would try to violently resist (or destroy the evidence, etc.).


    ..
     
  7. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    63,081
    255
    83
    In my criminal law school class, the teacher yelled at me on the first day. I calmly refuted her.

    She later sent an email to everybody in the stating that I was correct, but setting forth how "limited" the rule was.

    :D
     
  8. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    63,081
    255
    83
  9. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    63,081
    255
    83
    If a Second Amendment case does make it that far, Kennedy may be the "one vote" deciding what it means.
     
  10. jrm

    jrm Sledgehammer

    3,458
    1
    36
    "The criminal goes free because the constable has blundered." = "The person who was innocent until proven guilty could not be proven guilty because the governement was unable to produce sufficient evidence obtained through lawful means to convict."

    Scalia's observation that the exclusionary rule no longer is needed because of the advances in professionalism of police forces = the exclusionary rule should not have to be invoked very much any more because of the the advances in professionalism of police forces. But, we'll keep the rule around for those exceedingly rare cases when we have to dust it off.

    If the exclusionary rule is eliminated, where will be draw the line? Will coerced or torture-induced confessions become admissible as evidence?
     
  11. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    63,081
    255
    83
    Tortured confessions are notoriously unreliable, jrm. If I bust in your door, however, and find the "trophies" from your sick, demented little serial killer pervert rapist kiddie porn collection, complete with DNA evidence linking you to 3,548 crimes, that should be admissible at your trial regardless of whether I did it properly. Let the civil and criminal law sort out whether I should be charged with burglary, criminal trespass, or the like, or pay to fix your door.

    8)
     
  12. jrm

    jrm Sledgehammer

    3,458
    1
    36
    Civil remedies
    Yeah, while you scream "immunity" and cry about what a chilling effect it would have on well-meaning police officers if they were subjected to a civil suit every time they conduct a search? :roll:

    And, what exactly are my damages if you come in all nice like, don't break anything, read all my files, conclude that I'm a nice guy, and leave?

    Criminal remedies
    Ever tried, as a non-LEO, to get a LEO charged with a crime? I have. It's not easy. I couldn't get a case even initiated against an officer who admitted to all the elements of the crime in his own report. And, GA law makes it even harder (LEOs are entitled to hearings before warrants are issued against them, as opposed to we peons, who can be picked up on warrants issued without hearings based on whatever the affiant chose to write).

    Come back and talk to me after any immunity for even negligent (not just reckless or wilful) police misconduct is abrogated in all state and federal courts, and when there is a criminal justice system that treats LEO defendants no differently from non-LEO defendants.
     
  13. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    63,081
    255
    83

    Depends on how sick juries get of hearing about this happening.

    You would be entitled to nominal damages in any event.
     
  14. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    63,081
    255
    83
    OK, I will!

    Actually, though, I do not believe in twisting the Constitution just because you are not happy with some other aspect of the law.

    The exclusionary rule was not intended by the authors, ratifiers, or the general public at the time the Fourth Amendment was adopted. Nor is the exclusionary rule present in the text (in which case we would not need to look at the intent of those who wrote it).

    Let's not just make things up and pretend they are in the Constitution because it helps us out on something else in the law with which we are unhappy.

    Principles are something you have to stick with even when it does not get you the result you like.

    The exclusionary rule is about as valid a constitutional doctrine as "reasonable gun regulation" (which allows the antis to claim to be for the Second Amendment during election cycles).
     
  15. jrm

    jrm Sledgehammer

    3,458
    1
    36
    Nor I, either.

    I'll take your word for that, but do you know what was intended as the remedy for 4th Am. violations? Because, as I've discussed above, we don't have another one.

    ok

    Virtually no provisions in the constitution that guarantee rights are accompanied by a remedy. A right without a remedy for a violation is no right at all. Courts must therefore fashion remedies (in the absence of legislatively-created remedies). They have settled on the exclusionary rule.

    The rule has its drawbacks. Most notably, it leaves the innocent without a remedy (if you don't find the "trophies" from my sick, demented little serial killer pervert rapist kiddie porn collection, complete with DNA evidence linking me to 3,548 crimes, then all I can do is say, "Gee, you're kind of a naughty cop for bashing in my door and ransacking my house for no good reason. There ought to be a law against that...."

    Again, I'm fine with courts fashioning a different rule, but they'll have to get rid of some other rules (like replace "the king can do no wrong" with "we don't have a king, we don't care what England does with its king, but if our governement tramples on us, it has to pay.")
     
  16. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    63,081
    255
    83
    If a theological doctrine or constitutional doctrine was "discovered" only in the 1960s (Mapp v. Ohio), then you can bet you have a false religion or a false constitution, as the case may be.

    Besides, the exclusionary rule gives no redress for violation of your Fourth Amendment right (as you say, what if they discover only that you are a nice guy?).
     
  17. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    63,081
    255
    83

    Well, overlooked by most people when Scalia wrote the opinion that came within one vote (Kennedy's) of doing away with the exclusionary rule is that he is urging that there should be some recourse. He wrote in the opinion:

    "Failure to teach and enforce constitutional requirements exposes municipalities to financial liability."

    Kennedy, Kennedy. Sort of scares me that any holding from the Supreme Court on the Second Amendment is really going to be his decision.
     
  18. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    63,081
    255
    83
    Here is an interesting article written by a guy who asserts that the Fourth Amendment has been watered down as a result of the exclusionary rule.

    http://emoglen.law.columbia.edu/CPC/discuss/231.html

    The thesis is basically that any judge will be hesistant to apply the rule and let off some scumbag, so the courts create numerous exceptions to the application of the rule, which become exceptions to the Fourth Amendment itself.

    Interesting point of view.