The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, a federal appeallate court that covers several southern states:
made a decision in 1998 ruling in favor of a woman mauled by a police dog.
In its decision
the 4th Circuit has found that:
1) the Fourth Amendment governs cases of police dogs mauling civilians;
2) the police officer and other defendants are not entitled to the so-called "qualified immunity" for their actions because 4th Amendment rights of the victim in that case were clearly established.
The 4th Circuit has ruled that it was clearly established back in 1995 that a police officer releasing a dog upon a civilian must give the civilian a verbal warning indicating that the dog is being released, apparently giving the civilian an opportunity to surrender without such release of a dog.
The 4th Circuit ruled that a summary judgment could not be given to the police officer on the 4th Amendment claim regarding mauling of the victim by the police dog, and the case was reversed and remanded for trial.
So, in the 4th Circuit claims of victims mauled by police dogs under the 4th Amendment were clearly established and police officers were not entitled to qualified immunity since 1995.
Yet, 22 years after that precedent, the same 4th Circuit has ruled in an "unpublished" plurality opinion (where one judge out of three wrote the "majority" opinion, the other wrote a "concurring" opinion and the third wrote a dissenting opinion) in a diametrically opposite way, now giving a police officer who did not recall a dog from mauling an innocent homeless man and let him maul him some more, a qualified immunity, claiming that 4th Amendment rights of the victim were not "clearly established law" in the 4th Circuit.
The homeless victim of mauling by a police dog, where the officer intentionally delayed to recall the dog, allowing the dog to maul the victim some more, the court addressed its prior decision of 1998 - and refused to follow it:
The court reviewed its own refusal in 2010 to apply the 1995 and 1998 precedent on the subject when the 4th Circucit granted qualified immunity to a police officer after a police dog mauled a child:
The 4th Circuit recognized that that distinction was not good - giving the child victim in the 2010 case will now be able to vacate that decision:
Yet, after recognizing that its refusal in 2010 to follow its own 1995 and 1998 precedent as to police dogs mauling people was wrong, the court now refused to comply with that same 1995 and 1998 precedent on other grounds.
The court first described how the qualified immunity was denied - in a case dealing with suspects of an armed robbery:
The court then proceeded comparing the case where the same court gave suspects of an armed robbery their right to a remedy under the 4th Amendment against the police officer for mauling by the dog:
as a justification of not giving the same remedy to an innocent man mauled by a police dog:
Of course, the 4th Circuit engaged in what is called "intellectual dishonesty" in claiming that "there is no indication that Appellee gratuitously prolonged the biting after determining that Appellant was unarmed and surrendering" - because the victim was specifically asserting that in the lawsuit.
Moreover, in the very first paragraph of his "majority" opinion, judge Thacker did confirm that the police officer ordered the victim, who was protecting himself from being mauled to death with his hands, to show his hands as a condition to call the mauling off - even after the officer realized that the man before him did not match the description of the suspect he was seeking.
The dissent, in fact, pointed out that the mauling by the dog was a deliberate decision of the police officer - the mauling was meant as a tool to rule out that the victim did not pose a threat:
Judge Harris pointed out that the police officer had no basis even for a brief investigative stop under the circumstances of the case, and seizure of the victim, much less a seizure by a mauling dog, was not justified, and that it was the police officer who was supposed to give the "clearly established law"-warning of the dog attack, which he admittedly failed to do:
Judge Harris then points out the obvious:
Judge Harris pointed out that, since Terry in itself is a questionable application of the 4th Amendment, an EXCEPTION from the 4th Amendment requiring only "reasonable suspicion", instead of a "reasonable cause" for the stop, the stop should be minimally intrusive - being mauled by a dog so that the victim suffered serious injuries, was delivered to a hospital in critical condition and required large grafts of skins to be replaced on his skull - does not qualify as a "minimally intrusive investigative stop":
This case shocks with both the heartlessness of the court to the homeless victim of a crime committed against him by a government official and as to how shadowy our rights supposedly guaranteed to us by the U.S. Constitution really are.
We have the 4th Amendment, it prohibits unreasonable seizure by the government.
But, the U.S. Supreme Court and federal courts changed that, changed the text of the 4th Amendment - changed the U.S. Constitution without authority to do so - and now claim that there may be "qualified immunity" to violate the U.S. Constitution with impunity under certain circumstances.
Then, when those same circumstances, and those same rules set by the courts are satisfied, they refuse to apply them, and carve out new rules that deny the victim a remedy anyway - as it was done in the 2010 precedent cited by the court in the 2017 precedent.
Let's look at the timeline of these police dog-mauling cases in the same court, the 4th Circuit.
In 1995 - the law was "clearly established" that mauling by a police dog is a 4th Amendment violation, a seizure, and the police officer after that will not be entitled to qualified immunity if that happens.
In 1998, the same court adhered to its 1995 precedent, granting a remedy to a woman victim of police dog mauling.
In 2010, the same court refuses to follow its own 1995 and 1998 precedents and denied a remedy to a child victim of police dog mauling.
In 2017, the same court said that its refusal to apply its 1995 and 1998 precedent in 2010 was wrong, but refused to apply these same 1995 and 1998 precedents anyway, on new (and contrived) grounds.
The result is the same - an innocent victim of police misconduct, mauled nearly to death by a vicious animal, was denied a remedy.
That denial of remedy is aggravated by the fact that the man is homeless and his health was his only protection from the elements. Now he was stripped of his only treasure, his own health, by the government, without any compensation, for no fault of his.
In addition to being a heartless decision, it is a clearly unlawful decision.
The 4th Amendment was clearly violated.
A remedy is clearly allowed for the victim under the circumstances, by the 4th Amendment and by the Civil Rights Act enforcing it.
Courts have no right to amend either the U.S. Constitution or the Civil Rights Act in order to take away the right to a remedy from those they do not like.
What a disgusting case!
Here is the initial report in the North Carolina press about the incident - the police department (1) denied that the officer did anything wrong (of course, who would acknowledge that he would let the dog maul an innocent homeless man some more before officer would call him off); and (2) even offered the victim to pay his medical bill - not that it would have restored his health that they robbed him of.
Then, lawyers stepped in, went all the way to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals and had the court deny the homeless man any remedy whatsoever. No more compassion, I guess.
And here are the "heroes".
The author of the majority opinion, the heartless bitch Judge Stephanie Dawn Thacker, a recent Obama nominee, who twisted facts and law in order to deny the remedy to a homeless person nearly mauled to death by an intentional order of a police officer:
The "concurring opinion" judge William Byrd Traxler, Jr, a Bill Clinton nominee.
And this is the only voice of reason in this whole mess, Judge Pamela Harris:
With her knowledge of the law, clear reasoning, courage and honesty, Pamela Harris would be a good nominee to SCOTUS instead of fishing-with-Scalia tail-wagging "originalist" Neil Gorsuch.
But I know, I know. Who would nominate an honest person to SCOTUS. Even the supposedly bold President Donald Trump wouldn't dare.