Chavez v. Martinez
December 4, 2002 (01-1444)
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Case Summary
A prior suspect brought a 1983 suit against the city claiming that the police sergeant violated his constitutional rights by stopping him without probable cause, using excessive force, and subjecting him to a coercive interrogation while he was receiving medical care. While emergency room personnel were attempting to treat the suspect, the sergeant began taping an interview even though hospital personnel repeatedly removed him from the room. The suspect's answers were generally non-responsive and he drifted in and out of consciousness. He continually complained of pain, that he was choking, that he could not move his legs, and that he was dying. At the 1983 trial, the sergeant-defendant invoked the qualified immunity defense whereby he argued that only conduct that an official could not reasonably have believed was legal under settled law results in personal liability. The district court found in favor of the suspect and denied the sergeant's qualified immunity claim. The U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed and held that in light of the extreme circumstances of the case, a reasonable police officer in the sergeant's position could not have believed that the interrogation of the suspect comported with the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. The opinion of the Ninth Circuit is found at 270 F.3d 852.

To see the opinion of the lower court, click here.


PREDICTED OUTCOME ACTUAL
OUTCOME
Forecasting
Model
Expert
One
Expert
Two
Expert
Three
6-3 to Reverse 6-3 to Reverse 5-4 to Reverse 9-0 to Reverse 6-3 to Reverse
VOTING TO REVERSE
Rehnquist
O'Connor
Scalia
Kennedy
Thomas
Breyer
Rehnquist
O'Connor
Scalia
Kennedy
Thomas
Breyer
Rehnquist
O'Connor
Scalia
Kennedy
Thomas
Rehnquist
Stevens
O'Connor
Scalia
Kennedy
Souter
Thomas
Ginsburg
Breyer
Rehnquist
O'Connor
Scalia
Souter
Thomas
Breyer
VOTING TO AFFIRM
Stevens
Souter
Ginsburg
Stevens
Souter
Ginsburg
Stevens
Souter
Ginsburg
Breyer
Stevens
Kennedy
Ginsburg

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