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Civil Rights Suit For Arrest For Filming an Officer During Traffic Stop, Plus a Criminal Matter

By FindLaw Staff on October 04, 2010 6:23 PM

Renchenski v. Piazza, 07-3530, involved an inmate's 42 U.S.C. section 1983 suit alleging that his forced participation in sex offender treatment therapy violates several constitutional rights.  In reversing the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants on the inmate's procedural due process claim, the court remanded the matter as, because the inmate was never charged with nor convicted of a sex offense, the procedure he was afforded during his trial and conviction for the 1982 murder cannot serve as the sufficient procedural safeguard for Fourteenth Amendment purposes.

 

Kelly v. Carlisle, 09-2644, concerned a challenge to the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of a police officer and the Borough of Carlisle, in plaintiff's civil rights suit claiming that his First and Fourth Amendment rights were violated when he was arrested for filming a police officer during a traffic stop.

The court vacated and remanded the district court's grant of summary judgment in granting qualified immunity to the officer on plaintiff's Fourth Amendment claims, because the district court did not consider the facts in the light most favorable to plaintiff, did not evaluate the objective reasonableness of the officer's decision to rely on the prosecutor's advice in light of those facts, and did not evaluate sufficiently the state of Pennsylvania law at the relevant time.  In affirming in part, the court held that the right to videotape police officers during traffic stops was not clearly established and as such, the officer was entitled to qualified immunity on plaintiff's First Amendment claim.  Lastly, the court affirmed the district court's summary judgment in favor of the Borough of Carlisle. 

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