Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Graham v. Connor case brief

Graham v. Connor case brief summary
490 U.S. 386 (1989)

Petitioner diabetic appealed from a judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirming a directed verdict for respondent law enforcement officers, in a 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983 suit to recover damages for injuries he sustained during an investigatory stop.

Diabetic filed a 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983 action against respondent law enforcement officers to recover damages for injuries he sustained when physical force was used against him during an investigatory stop, while he was on his way to obtain orange juice to counteract the onset of an insulin reaction. The appellate court endorsed the four-factor test applied by the trial court. The diabetic argued that it was error to require him to prove that the excessive force used against him was applied maliciously and sadistically to cause harm.

  • The Court vacated the judgment, holding that the diabetic's claims should have been analyzed under the Fourth Amendment's objective reasonableness standard, rather than under a substantive due process standard. 
  • The proper Fourth Amendment inquiry was one of objective reasonableness under the circumstances, and subjective concepts like malice and sadism had no proper place in that inquiry.

The court vacated and remanded the judgment of the appellate court.

Recommended Supplements for Criminal Procedure Criminal Procedure: Examples & Explanations, Sixth Edition
Emanuel Law Outline: Criminal Procedure

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