TCAA/TML Legal Defense Program: Amicus Briefs and Comments Filed

TCAA, in conjunction with the Texas Municipal League, files amicus briefs and comments in support of cities on many issues. To keep up to date on the status of these issues, go to http://www.tml.org/DocumentCenter/View/1107/AmicusBriefUpdate_032719.

Excessive Force: Windzer v. Hinds, No. 15-11482, in the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.  TML joined TCAA, the Texas Municipal League Intergovernmental Risk Pool, the Texas Association of Counties, the Mississippi Municipal Services Company, and the National Association of Police Organizations to file a brief requesting an en banc review of a panel decision.  In this case, a splintered panel found a Fourth Amendment violation regarding a law enforcement officer’s use of force in a very dangerous situation. Over a dissent, two members of the court held that a police officer violated the Fourth Amendment when, after being shot at, he responded with fire at an individual with a toy gun who proceeded towards him while disobeying law enforcement commands. The panel majority is wrong about Fourth Amendment law and has created a precedent that will negatively impact other police officers and governmental entities moving forward. The en banc Court should intervene because “reasonableness,” contrary to the Panel Majority’s implication, does not mean perfection. Although this case involves an extremely unfortunate situation, it has long been settled that the Fourth Amendment is not a rule of strict liability. For 70 years, the Supreme Court has interpreted the Constitution as affording “leeway” to officers in conducting their official duties. The brief in support of en banc review was filed on March 25, 2019.

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