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Scott v. Harris

Docket No.: 05-1631
Certiorari Granted: Oct 27 2006
Argued: February 26, 2007
Decided: April 30, 2007

Topics:

Fourth Amendment, immunity from suit, probable cause, qualified immunity, stare decisis

PartyNames: Timothy Scott v. Victor Harris
Petitioner: Timothy Scott
Respondent: Victor Harris

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

Timothy Scott
v.
Victor Harris
550 U.S. 372 (2007)
Question Presented:

1. Whether a law enforcement officer's conduct is "objectively reasonable" under the Fourth Amendment when the officer makes a split-second decision to terminate a high-speed pursuit by bumping the fleeing suspect's vehicle with his push bumper, because the suspect had demonstrated that he would continue to drive in a reckless and dangerous manner that put the lives of innocent persons at serious risk of death.2. Whether, at the time of the incident, the law was "clearly established" when neither this Court nor any circuit court, including the Eleventh Circuit, had ruled the Fourth Amendment is violated when a law enforcement officer uses deadly force to protect the lives of innocent persons from the risk of dangerous and reckless vehicular flight.

Question:

1) Does a police officer who stops a high-speed chase by ramming a fleeing suspect's car violate the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable seizure? 2) Was it "clearly established" in federal law that an officer violates the Fourth Amendment by using deadly force during a high-speed chase?

Holding: judgment reversed
Vote: 8-1
Opinion By:
Read SCOTT V. HARRIS opinion (PDF)

Read opinion
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