Police Chief May Be Personally Liable for Arresting a Subordinate Officer in Retaliation for His Politics

By Erica Shelley Nelson and Brennen Johnson

schemingIn Williams v. City of Alexander, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit affirmed a decision to deny qualified immunity to an Arkansas Police Chief who allegedly had a subordinate officer arrested in retaliation for supporting the City’s mayor. Although qualified immunity usually protects public officials from personal liability for actions carried out in their official roles, the Court determined that the Chief could not assert qualified immunity for withholding exculpatory information in an arrest warrant of an officer as a means of retaliating against the officer’s political alignment.

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Random Drug Testing Procedures Did Not Violate New York Correctional Officer’s Privacy Rights

By Erica Shelley Nelson and Brennen Johnson

urine sampleIn Allen v. Schiff, a U.S. Court of Appeals determined that a random drug testing procedure did not violate a New York correctional officer’s Fourth Amendment rights. The former correctional officer sued Sullivan County, New York, claiming that the County violated her privacy rights when it required her to perform a random, intrusive urine test for drugs. The Court found that the random testing did not violate the officer’s Constitutional rights because the corrections officer had a substantially diminished expectation of privacy, the drug test “was intrusive but not inappropriately so,” and the County had a compelling interest in effecting the test.

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Washington Appeals Court Holds That Some Private Cellular Phone Call Logs And Text Messages Of A Government Official May Qualify As “Public Records” Under The Public Records Act

By Erica Shelley Nelson and Jordan L. Jones

Cell phone privacyIn Nissen v. Pierce County, the Court of Appeals of Washington, Division Two held that “because some of the private cellular phone call logs and text messages . . . [of a prosecutor that were requested by the Plaintiff] may qualify as . . . [‘public records’ under the state’s Public Records Act] the superior court erred in granting the County’s . . . motion to dismiss.” The Court stated that “call logs for a government official’s private cellular phone constitute ‘public records’ only with regard to the calls that relate to government business and only if these call logs are used or retained by the government agency.” The Court also stated “text messages sent or received by a government official constitute ‘public records’ only if the text messages relate to government business.”

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Remove that Tattoo or Find Another Job! Third Circuit Reject’s Applicant’s Objections to State Police Pre-Hire Tattoo Review Policy

By Kate Acheson

The Federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals has found a Pennsylvania State Police pre-hire tattoo policy, was properly applied without violating an applicant’s Constitutional rights in Scavone v. Pennsylvania State Police.  Although officially unpublished and not precedent setting, the case deals with an issue of emerging importance.

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NY District Court Refuses to Flush Excessive Urine Test Complaint

By Kate Acheson

After being subjected to repeated urine-sample drug tests, a New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“MTA”) Officer, Ada Perez, filed complaint.  The MTA moved to dismiss.  In Perez v. Metro. Transp. Auth., the District Court for the Southern District of New York refused to dismiss Officer Perez’s complaint, reasoning that sufficient information existed for a jury to find in Officer Perez’s favor on her unreasonable search and seizure claim.

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