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Case Brief

by: Zach Bertram

Case Brief CJ 275

Zach Bertram

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About this Document

Tennessee v. Garner
Criminal Procedure
m. fischer
Class Notes
25 ?




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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Zach Bertram on Thursday August 18, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CJ 275 at Michigan State University taught by m. fischer in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 6 views. For similar materials see Criminal Procedure in Criminal Justice at Michigan State University.

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Date Created: 08/18/16
Zach Bertram 10/17/15 CJ 275 CASE BRIEF Tennessee v Garner Case Citation:  471 U.S. 1 (1985) FACTS: Police responded to a “prowler inside call.”  Next door neighbor told police that she heard glass breaking and that “someone” was breaking in next door.  Police officer heard the door slam, and someone running across the back yard, the person  was Edward Garner.  Garner then stopped at a 6­foot­high chain link fence, the  police officer shined his flashlight on Garner, and saw no sign of a weapon.  The  officer assumed Garner was unarmed, although, the officer wasn’t certain.  The  officer then yelled out “police, halt” and took a few steps toward Garner, Garner  then tried to climb the fence to get away.  The police officer then shot at Garner,  bullet hit Garner in the back of the head.  Garner died on the operating table, ten  dollars and a purse was found on Garner’s body.  The incident was reviewed by the  Memphis Police Firearm’s Review Board and presented to a grand jury, neither  took action.  Judge found officer’s actions constitutional.  Appellate Court reversed  the decision, the State then appealed. ISSUE (in the form of an answerable Yes/No question): Can police officers use  deadly force to prevent the escape of an unarmed suspected felon under the Fourth  Amendment of the United States Constitution? HOLDING (Yes/No): Yes REASONING/ANALYSIS:  The use of deadly force to prevent the escape of all  felony suspects, whatever the circumstances, is constitutionally unreasonable.  The  Court simply states in this decision that deadly force could only be used to stop the  threat of serious physical harm to the police or public.  No threat was seen by the  officer but the officer shot Garner anyways.  Tennessee statute that permits using  deadly force to prevent escape is unconstitutional. CONCURRING:  Justices White, Brennan, Marshall, Blackmun, Powell, and  Stevens.  Court of Appeals is affirmed.  If an officer has probable cause to believe  that the suspect poses serious threat of serious bodily harm, to either a fellow officer or others, it is not constitutionally unreasonable to prevent escape by using deadly  force. CJ 275 Criminal Procedure 2015 Zach Bertram 10/17/15 CJ 275 DISSENTING: Justices Rehnquist, O’Connor, and the Chief Justice Berger argued  that a deadly seizure analysis should conduct a careful balance between public  interest and nature of the intrusion.  Burglary is a serious felony and that force used could be justified. CJ 275 Criminal Procedure 2015


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