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Articles Posted in Civil Rights

The Fourth Amendment is one of the most important constitutional rights we have. The Fourth Amendment was added to the constitution out of the Founder’s frustration with so called “general searches” in colonial times. The authorities were allowed to search for anything at any time and the colonists were very frustrated. In the modern time, the Fourth Amendment has been nearly swallowed whole by the endless amount of exceptions. Yet another Fourth Amendment case in pending before the United States Supreme Court in the case of Knights v. United States.

What is at issue in the Knights case?  

The Supreme Court has previously held that if a person is seized under the Fourth Amendment if in view of all the circumstances surrounding that incident, a reasonable person would have believed he was not free to leave. What constitutes a restraint on liberty prompting a person to conclude that he is not free to leave will vary, not only with the particular police conduct at issue but also with the setting in which the conduct occurs.

Circuit Split Arises Over Transgender Prisoner Rights

It is well known that the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution prevents cruel and unusual punishment.  However, what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment is a decision that is left to the court’s’ discretion.  There is a deep divide as to whether core issues such as the death penalty meets the standard of cruel and unusual punishment.  If there is a disagreement over these central issues, the hot button issues will inevitably have a profound disagreement.  Currently, there is a circuit split amount the federal courts of appeals as to whether denying a transgender prison sex reassignment surgery constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

The Eighth Amendment has been interpreted in a variety of situations, including the medical needs of prisoners.  In Estelle v. Gamble, the United States Supreme Court held that a prisoner’s Eighth Amendment medical rights are violated if there is deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners constitutes the usury and wanton infliction of pain.  It has been argued that denying transgender people their healthcare surrounding their gender dysphoria meets this standard.

Police Brutality Lawsuit Filed Over Arrest Forceful Arrest by Buffalo Police 

Just one day into the new year, a young man in Buffalo suffered horrible injuries at the hands of a local police officer.  Tyshawn Vance, a 21-year-old, filed a lawsuit Monday in the state Supreme Court. He alleges that officers beat him so severely that he suffered permanent injuries such as vision loss. Allegedly, officers threw him to the ground and beat him during a traffic stop. The police officers allege that Vance was pulled over for speeding and having a license plate light out, hardly the infraction that would welcome violence. A video of the offense shows Vance’s eye swollen and blood smeared on the asphalt, U.S. News reports.

The police allege that Vance had a pistol and drugs, according to an article from a Buffalo local news station

Civil Rights Violation Case Examined by Massachusetts District Court

Americans value their privacy, and the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution guarantees Americans that they have a reasonable expectation of privacy when it comes to their property and homes.  But what happens when this right is violated?  In Johnson v. City of Worcester, Carl Johnson had his privacy violated and sued the police officers responsible.

What happened in Johnson?

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