The Washington Post article The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by the widow of a man who was fatally stabbed by a man in Washington, D.C. The court also rejected an appeal from a woman who sued the city for failing to adequately protect her right to privacy against intrusions by a suspect.
The justices’ decision on Thursday came a day after a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit declined to reconsider a ruling by a lower court that said the city must notify police when they’re about to be confronted with a suspect and must keep those encounters private.
A spokesman for the city said it has no comment at this time.
The decision means that the D.V.C.’s public defender’s office will not have to file any new criminal cases against people arrested after a confrontation with a police officer.
In his dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the D., D.O.J., and the police department must cooperate with the appeals court’s ruling and protect their constitutional rights.
She said that if they don’t, they’re likely to be sued by the family of the man killed in the attack.
She added that police officers are subject to the same rules of conduct as everyone else, including being armed, wearing body cameras, being on call 24 hours a day and obeying court orders.
Sotomayour also said the appeals decision is wrong because it says a person who “engages in criminal activity or otherwise violates the law can be arrested and prosecuted as an individual and not as a member of the police force.”
The court rejected the claim by the woman that the police violated her rights in the shooting.
“The district court’s conclusion that the defendant did not meet the constitutional threshold of ‘aggravated’ because he was not present when the victim was killed is contrary to the history and practice of our nation’s police departments,” she wrote.
Bridges, the lawyer for the woman, had argued that the city violated the Fourth Amendment when it did not properly notify him when he was about to confront the suspect.
He said in a statement that the court’s decision “should not be taken lightly.”
“This is a case where we are left to speculate about how and why the D.’s police department did not notify the woman in the days leading up to her husband’s death.
And we are forced to wonder whether her right against unreasonable searches was violated when she was denied a lawful search of her vehicle,” Bridges said.
“It is clear that we will not know for sure until we have all the facts.
But, we are confident that the Court of Special Appeals will not overturn the District’s decision.”
Barry Durden, a former federal prosecutor, said that the ruling is “one of the most significant criminal cases of the last two years in this country.”
“We were talking about a couple of cases where the police were trying to kill someone and they didn’t have any way of telling who the person was, and the guy who was shot died,” Durden said.
He said the decision will affect cases where police have not disclosed their name or the reason for their arrest.