The Fourth Amendment Essay

1. THE FOURTH AMENDMENT SHOULD CONTROL MALICIOUS PROSECUTION CLAIMS INVOLVING PRETRAIL DETENTIONS WITHOUT PROBABLE CAUSE Years ago this Court instructed that the Fourth Amendment should be used to analyze allegedly unconstitutional “detention[s] of suspects pending trial. ” Gerstein v. Pugh, 420 U. S. 103, 125 n. 27 (1975). Since then this Court has reaffirmed that the “detention of criminal suspects” is “governed by the provisions of the Fourth Amendment. ” Albright v. Oliver, 510 U. S. 266, 274 (1994) (plurality opinion) (“The Framers considered the matter of pretrial deprivations of liberty and drafted the Fourth Amendment to address it. ). In Albright, the Fourth Amendment was declared the proper vehicle for analyzing a malicious prosecution claim. In that case, the plaintiff Albright was arrested pursuant to a warrant on suspicion of selling a substance that looked like an illegal drug. Albright posted bond and was released on the condition that he not leave the state without permission. The trial court eventually dismissed the charges against him “on the ground that the charge did not state an offense under Illinois law. ” Albright, 510 U. S. at 268-69 (plurality opinion). Albright sued the arresting officer and others under Section 1983.

Because he was never incarcerated, “Albright may have feared that courts would narrowly define the Fourth Amendment’s key term ‘seizure’ so as to deny full scope to his claim. ” Albright, 510 U. S. at 277 (Ginsburg, J. , concurring). This concern led to Albright ignoring the potential Fourth Amendment claim. Albright instead alleged that the police violated his substantive due process rights by initiating a criminal prosecution against him without probable cause to believe he had committed any crime. Id. at 268-69 (plurality opinion). In a split decision, the Court agreed with the defendants. The Court held that Albright could ot bring his claim under substantive due process. Albright, 510 U. S. at 271 (plurality opinion); Id. at 281, 283 (Kennedy, J. , concurring in the judgment); Id. at 286 (Souter, J. , concurring in the judgment).

Although Albright had not argued a Fourth Amendment violation, seven Justices (five of whom agreed with the judgment) concluded that the Fourth Amendment provided a proper basis for analyzing malicious prosecution claims involving “pretrial deprivations of liberty. ” Id. at 274 (plurality opinion); see also Id. at 290 (Souter, J. , concurring in the judgment); Id. at 307 (Stevens, J. , joined by Blackmun, J. dissenting). Because Albright was “seized” when he surrendered to the arrest warrant and the Fourth Amendment regulates “restraint[s] on liberty following an arrest,” the plurality explained, “it [was] the Fourth Amendment … under which petitioner Albright’s claim must be judged. ” Id. at 271. II. THE FOURTH AMENDMENT PROHIBITS PRETRAIL DETENTION WITHOUT PROBABLE CAUSE To justify any “extended” detention related to potential or actual criminal charges, the Fourth Amendment requires law enforcement to demonstrate to a judicial officer that probable cause exists to believe the suspect committed a crime.

Gerstein, 420 U. S. at 114. This demonstration may occur before or after arrest. Id. Law enforcement officers violate the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable seizures when their actions cause an individual to be detained without probable cause. Law enforcement officers can satisfy the Fourth Amendment’s probable cause requirement for extended pretrial detention in one of two ways. The first option for officers is to secure an arrest warrant before arresting a suspect.

In this scenario, “[i]t is the magistrate’s responsibility to determine whether the officer’s allegations establish probable cause and, if so, to issue a warrant comporting in form with the requirements of the Fourth Amendment. ” United States v. Leon, 468 U. S. 897, 921 (1984). The second option occurs when law enforcement officers need to arrest an individual without first seeking a 2 OF 8 warrant. In this situation, “a policeman’s on-the-scene assessment of probable cause provides legal justification for arresting a person suspected of crime. Gerstein, 420 U. S. at 113-14. If the detention is to continue longer than forty-eight hours, the Fourth Amendment requires law enforcement to secure a “judicial determination” of probable cause. Id. at 125 (post-arrest determinations of probable cause must occur “promptly after arrest”). Regardless of whether demonstrating probable cause to a judicial officer occurs before or after arrest the demonstration constitutes legal process. Id. (legal process commences when suspect “is bound over by a magistrate”) A.

THE FOURTH AMENDMENT IS VIOLATED WHEN AN INDIVIDUAL SUFFERS A PRETRAIL DETENTION WITHOUT PROBABLE CAUSE AND THE LEGAL PROCESS OCCURS BEFORE THE ARREST When legal process occurs before an arrest, police officers violate the Fourth Amendment if they cause someone to suffer pretrial detention without probable cause. For example, this Court has held that when a police officer obtains a warrant based on “a false statement, [made] knowingly and intentionally, or with reckless disregard for the truth,” the execution of the warrant violates the Fourth Amendment. Franks v. Delaware, 438 U. S. 154, 155-56 (1978).

In the case Malley v. Briggs, 475 U. S. 335 (1986), a police officer submitted affidavits and a judge issued arrest warrants for the plaintiffs on drug charges. Id. at 338. Police arrested the plaintiffs, but the charges were later dismissed as unfounded. Id. The plaintiffs filed a Section 1983 suit claiming that their post-arrest pretrial detention in the absence of probable cause violated the Fourth Amendment. Id. The arresting officer responded that the detention was per se reasonable because “he [wa]s entitled to rely on the judgment of a judicial officer in finding that probable cause exist[ed]. Id. at 345. This Court disagreed, and held that an officer may be found liable under Section 1983 when it is “obvious that no reasonably competent officer would have concluded that a warrant should issue. ” Id. at 341, 345. This Court in Malley Amendment. B. THE FOURTH AMENDMENT IS VIOLATED WHEN AN INDIVIDUAL SUFFERS A PRETRAIL DETENTION WITHOUT PROBABLE CAUSE AND THE LEGAL PROCESS OCCURS AFTER THE ARREST In Manuel, legal process occurs after the arrest. In these situations, the Fourth Amendment is also violated if officers cause someone to suffer pretrial detention without probable cause.

In Gerstein, this Court explained that the procedures required for a post-arrest demonstration of probable cause are “the same” as those required for the issuance of an arrest warrant. Gerstein, 420 U. S. at 120; see also Id. at 120 n. 21 (“the standards are identical”). Similar to warrant application proceedings, so-called Gerstein hearings do not need to provide significant procedural or “adversary safeguards” to the accused. Id. at 120. For example, the present case comes from Will County, Illinois, where a magistrate judge at a Gerstein hearing determines probable cause “based upon the synopsis of the police report. Office of Will County Public Defender, The Court Process, http://bit. ly/1U7TFjq (last visited June 19, 2016). Thus, the arresting officer’s statement that Manuel possessed a controlled substance and the field test confirmed is all that was needed to satisfy probable cause. Just as when law enforcement officers apply for an arrest warrant, the defendant has no opportunity to rebut police officers’ allegations in support of probable cause. Id. Judicial officers at Gerstein hearings are similarly dependent on, and detainees are equally at the mercy of, law enforcement officers as in the pre-arrest setting.

The Fourth Amendment is violated when, as in the present case, officers mislead magistrates to sustain detentions without probable cause. Similarly, the Fourth Amendment is violated when police officer misrepresentations cause detentions under an unfounded arrest warrant. Ignoring this analysis, the Seventh Circuit has suggested that “once detention by reason of arrest turns into detention by reason of” a Gerstein hearing, the Fourth Amendment “falls out of the picture. ” Llovet v. City of Chicago, 761 F. d 759, 763 (7th Cir. 2014). According to the Seventh Circuit, continuing to detain someone in jail following a judicial determination of probable cause is not a “seizure. ” Id. The Seventh Circuit maintains that once some period of time elapses, pretrial incarceration following an arrest ceases to be a “seizure. ”

This holding cannot be correct. It has been well-established that a person is considered seized whenever “his freedom of movement is restrained” such that he feels “not free to leave. ” United States v. Mendenhall, 446 U. S. 544, 553-54 (1980). Therefore, anyone who is arrested and put in jail is seized from arrest until release. The Seventh Circuit is just wrong to claim there is a difference in this context “between seizing a person and not letting him go,” Llovet, 761 F. 3d at 764. If detention in county jail at some point ceased to be a “seizure,” the unintended result would be that the Fourth Amendment would eventually cease to govern the detention whenever the state held a suspect in custody for long enough.

Gerstein and McLaughlin hold the opposite: the longer the state detains someone without a hearing, the more likely the Fourth Amendment is violated. McLaughlin, 500 U. S. at 57. While slightly different, the Seventh Circuit maintains instead that a detention ceases to be a seizure once a magistrate condones it. Llovet, 761 F. 3d at 763. This cannot be right either. A postarrest demonstration of probable cause enables the continuation of the seizure, not its termination.

That is, a probable cause finding does not change the fact that a suspect’s freedom of movement remains restrained and he is still “not free to leave,” Mendenhall, 446 U. S. at 554. When an officer’s role in “effectuating and maintaining a seizure” at the probable cause hearing causes a person’s continued detention, the officer may be found liable under the Fourth Amendment. Albright, 510 U. S. at 279 & n. 5 (Ginsburg, J. , concurring). Because the officers in the present case provided “misleading” representations to support Manuel’s detention that causation standard is easily met.