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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.

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
viper32cm said:
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.
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
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
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)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
jrm said:
Civil remedies

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

You would be entitled to nominal damages in any event.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
jrm said:
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.
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).
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
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?).
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
jrm said:
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.
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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
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.
 
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