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. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.