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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011

    SCotUS Reviews ADA & LE Arrests & Force w Mentally Ill Ppl, Armed & Violent

    Americans w Disability Act, ADA, requires public officials to make "reasonable accommodations" to avoid discriminating against people with disabilities.
    Does it apply to LEOs Arresting Mentally Ill Ppl? If so, What 'Accommodations' Must LEOs Make for Them? What if Arrestee is Armed & Violent?

    My recap of case follows, w a few quotes and bbm. 3 page case summary at link below.

    Case Facts

    In 2008 in San Francisco, Theresa Sheehan, a group home resident w schizophrenia threatened to kill her social worker.
    Soc worker phoned LE to restrain her so she could be taken to a hospital for treatment.
    LEOs entered her room with a key, but she threatened them with knife, so they closed door, called for backup.
    LEOs said they weren't sure whether Sheehan had a way to escape, and thought she might have other weapons inside.
    Police ultimately forced their way into her room, and after she came at them with a knife, they shot her.
    Sheehan survived, later sued the city & LE.
    IIRC, Fed Ct Dist Judge dismissed case; when city/LE appealed, 9th U.S. Circuit Ct of Appeals ruled ruled dist ct should try case, plaintiff Sheehan appealed. Then to SCotUS.

    Parties' positions & arguments at SCotUS hearing:
    Plaintiff Sheehan claims w ADA, LE has duty to consider mental illness, to make accommodations, by taking more steps to avoid a violent confrontation.
    Sheehan's lawyer, Leonard Feldman, argued SCotUS should dismiss, remand to trial ct, to allow a jury to decide whether LE should have used alternatives,
    w less use of force, such as waiting for backup or talking to her in a nonthreatening way.

    Def. San Fran Deputy City Attorney Van Aken argued ADA"doesn't apply 'if the individual presents a significant threat...'. and
    that no accommodation is necessary "where there are exigent circumstances."

    Obama administration argued for middle ground - that "when a mentally ill person is armed and violent"
    ADA requires LE to change tactics only "if the person is 'contained and visible.'"
    Justice Kennedy reacted: "I think the standard you've just proposed gives no guidance at all to an officer faced with a violent person."

    "The Supreme Court ...seemed skeptical that the nation's disabilities law requires police to take special precautions
    when arresting armed and violent suspects who are mentally ill.
    Most justices expressed doubts about second-guessing police who are trying to protect public safety."

    http://centurylink.net/news/read/art...ity_law_o-ap-2 Mar 23

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________
    Article gave no indication as to when SCotUS may issue opn & ruling.

    Not yet searched for docs & briefs that parties filed. If anyone has link to those to more extensive summary, pls post. Thx in adv.
    Also if my ^ recap contains errors, pls correct and/or PM me.
    Last edited by al66pine; 03-24-2015 at 02:24 AM.

  2. #2
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    shadowraiths is offline LISK Liaison, Verified Forensic Psychology Specialist, infoSec Architect
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

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    I tend to disappear from Websleuths from time to time.
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