Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

To Protect and Serve...But Don't Hold Us To That

My blog post on April 29, 2005, provided some information about the case Castle Rock, CO v. Gonzales, Jessica, et al, pending before the US Supreme Court. The decision before the court was whether the Castle Rock Police Department could be held liable for failing to enforce Jessica Gonzales' restraining order filed against her husband.

On Monday, June 27, 2005, the US Supreme Court ruling in this case held that

  • Gonzales did not, for Fourteenth Amendment Due Process purposes, have a property interest in police enforcement of the restraining order against her husband
  • A benefit (police enforcement of the restraining order) is not a protected entitlement if officials (the police) have discretion to grant or deny the benefit
  • Colorado law has not created a personal entitlement to enforcement of restraining orders
  • Even if Colorado's statute had made enforcement mandatory, it would not necessarily mean that Gonzales had an entitlement to enforcement
  • Even if the US Supreme Court were to think otherwise about Colorado's creation of an entitlement, the Court is not convinced that an individual entitlement to enforcement of a restraining order could constitute a "property interest" for due process purposes.

Thus, the Court held in Gonzales that the police were not liable when they failed to enforce the restraining order filed by Gonzales against her husband. The police had no culpability for the deaths of Gonzales three children taken by her husband in violation of the court order.


Blogger obidavekenobi said...

The Supreme Court said she could not sue for loss of property rights without due process of law based on the 14th. The Supreme Court added (alomst encouraged) her to sue on the state level and to encourage legislation that would/could/should hold the police departments liable for negilgent conduct.

I'm all for Law Enforcement liability in cases of negligence, truly. If the police screw up, they screw up, and need to get spanked accordingly. Ms. Gonzales still has recourse, just not under the 14th in Federal Court.

What happened to those children is an absolute tragedy, no doubt about it.

3:48 AM, July 01, 2005  

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