7th Circuit declines to overturn ruling on excessive force

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A man who entered a conditional plea on drug charges couldn’t convince the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday that it should overturn a ruling that the use of excessive force during an arrest is not a basis for suppressing evidence.

In United States of America v. Johnnie C. Collins, 12-3317, Johnnie Collins appealed the denial of his motion to suppress evidence found after he fled from police in his car and on foot. While he was running from the officers, Collins threw a bag to the ground. He would not cooperate with officers, so they had to kick and douse him with pepper spray. It wasn’t until officers used a Taser twice on Collins that they were able to place him in handcuffs.

The bag Collins threw away had crack and powder cocaine in it. Officers also found a wad of cash in his pocket. He was charged with possession of crack and powder cocaine with intent to distribute, and he later entered a conditional plea on the charges. In denying his motion to suppress, the District Court noted that the use of excessive force in making an arrest can’t be remedied by suppression of evidence, and even if that was an available remedy, Collins wouldn’t be entitled to relief because he threw the drugs away before any force was applied.

Collins argued that the 7th Circuit should overturn United States v. Watson, 558 F.3d 702, 705 (7th Cir. 2009), arguing the District Court’s reasoning was flawed with regard to when the excessive force began. He claimed it started when police started chasing him on foot.

“Collins had not yet been seized at the point when he abandoned his drugs by tossing the bag into the bushes. No seizure occurs until force is applied or the suspect submits to the officer, and the moment of seizure does not relate back to an initial show of authority that was ignored,” the judges wrote in the per curiam decision.

“Moreover, no opinion cited by Collins holds that the use of excessive force in conducting search or seizure requires suppression of the evidence seized,” the opinion states. “Collins has nothing new to say on the subject; he simply disagrees with how the case was decided, but that is not a sound reason for overturning the decision.”



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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.