SCOTUS Refuses To Hear Controversial Taser Cases

I'm pleased that SCOTUS refused to hear this case, since it would have been a terrible thing for them to rubberstamp police who use excessive force via Tasers. (You'll remember we wrote about one of those cases here.) The Seattle case was unusual because the police officers involved in the Brooks case actually won their previous case -- but insisted the ruling would prevent them from doing their jobs:

WASHINGTON, May 29 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday let stand a ruling that police used excessive force when they shot a Taser stun gun on a seven-month pregnant woman and on a wife involved in a domestic dispute.

The justices declined to review a ruling by a U.S. appeals court in California that found the constitutional rights of the women to be violated because they did not pose a threat to the safety of the officers.

The appeals court ruling was mixed, as it also held that the officers had immunity because the law on the use of stun guns was not clearly established at the time of the 2004 and 2006 incidents.

The Supreme Court cases had drawn attention because more police officers nationwide now use stun guns and there have been a growing number of lawsuits seeking damages over use of the devices that incapacitate people through a jolt of electricity.

Taser International Inc has a monopoly on the stun-gun market and has been the target of several high-profile lawsuits. But the company was not involved in the Supreme Court cases.

In a 2004 incident in Seattle, Malaika Brooks, who was seven months pregnant and driving her 11-year-old son to school, was stopped by the police for driving 32 miles per hour in a school zone where the speed limit was 20 miles per hour.


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