Monetary compensation awarded to the plaintiff in a successful civil lawsuit.
A court order to bring injurious or offensive action to a halt.
42 U.S.C. Section 1983
The federal statute the provides a remedy in federal court for the deprivation of any rights secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States
Color of Law
The condition that exists when an individual acts in an official government capacity and with the appearance of legal power. Police officers, mayors, and a number of other government officials perform their duties under this.
Constitutional Rights Violation
Conduct that violates a specific constitutional provision.
The state of deserving blame or being morally or legally responsible. Plaintiffs generally must prove that the defendant officer intended for the violation to occur.
Theory of Liability
Reasons offered as to why a particular person or other entity should be held answerable under law for some action.
Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents
The 1971 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that held that federal law enforcement officers can be sued for Fourth Amendment violations. The decision has since been expanded to include liability for violations of constitutional rights embodied in other relevant amendments.
Protection from lawsuits enjoyed by federal officials when acting in their official capacities.
A liability defense based on the 11th Amendment that shields states and state officials who are acting in their official capacities from being side in federal court.
A liability defense that shields a police officer who has acted in an objectively reasonable fashion as long as he or she did not violate clearly established rights that a reasonable person would have known. It is an outgrowth of various U.S. Supreme Court decisions.
A Standard, used to determine whether qualified immunity applies, that looks at how a reasonable person would have acted under given set of circumstances.
State Tort Liability
An important avenue of redress for plaintiffs whose minor injuries, allegedly resulting from negligent acts or misconduct by the police are not serious enough to make Section 1983 litigation a viable option
An action that is highly likely to cause injury or damage.
A liability claim that must demonstrate that a legal duty existed between the officer and the plaintiff, that a breach of that duty occurred, that a proximate causation between the officers actions and the alleged harm resulted and that actual damage or injury occurred.
A doctrine stating that police protection is owed to the general public, not to individuals. Police officers have used this as a liability defense.
A liability defense that holds that if an officer can show that the plaintiff or someone else was also negligent in an event, the officer should not be held liable. This can arise not only from the actions of a criminal suspect, but also from the actions of 3rd parties.
A partial defense against state tort liability that examines who is to blame and assigns liability accordingly.
Assumption of Risk
A defense against state tort liability that provides that if a plaintiff voluntarily engaged in dangerous activity that led to his or her injury, then the police officer should not be held liable.
A defense against state tort liability that is used for cases in which police officers were required to make split-second decisions.
One of the stronger models of citizen oversight of a police agency in which a group of citizens investigates complaints against the police, adjudicates the complaints, and recommends punishment.
A model of civilian oversight of a police agency in which civilians receive and investigate complaints, but the next steps are taken by the police department.
A model of civilian oversight of a police agency that is similar to an ombudsman approach in which complaints are received by the police department and the process, from beginning to end, is monitored by civilians.
A document filed by someone who believes that he or she has been wronged by one or more police officers in a department.
Certification for having met all applicable requirements put in place by an accrediting body.
A rule mandating that evidence obtained in violation of the U.S. Constitution cannot be admitted in a criminal trial. It is an important mechanism for ensuring the accountability of police officials.
Fruit of the Poisonous Tree Doctrine
An expansion of the scope of the exclusionary rule that requires the exclusion of any secondary evidence that derives from evidence originally obtained in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
18 U.S.C.A. Section 242
The most common federal statute used to hold police officers criminally liable.
A legal defense that shields a police officer from criminal liability in situations in which he or she is legally performing an assigned or implied public duty and engages in a necessary and reasonable action, that for ordinary citizens, would be considered a crime.
An investigative agency within a police department that is tasked with investigating allegations of misconduct or criminality by members of the department.
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