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7th Circuit: Deputy was within rights to restrain feuding neighbor from evidence

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When Tippecanoe Deputy Sheriff Jonathan Lendermon got between some long-feuding neighbors in 2009, one of them, Jason Findlay, suggested that he might have trespassed. It became clear to Lendermon the acknowledgement might have been recorded on video surveillance.

Lendermon attempted to obtain a memory card from the camera, but Findlay pulled it away and the memory card fell to the floor. Findlay claims that as he reached for the card, Lendermon tackled him, but Lendermon says he just grabbed Findlay’s arm to prevent him from picking it up. Findlay sued claiming excessive force, and District Judge Theresa Springmann of the Northern District of Indiana denied Lendermon’s motion to dismiss.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed on Friday. “Because Findlay has not carried his burden of showing the violation of a clearly established right, Lendermon is entitled to qualified immunity,” Judge Joel Flaum wrote for the court in Jason Findlay v. Jonathan Lendermon, 12-3881.

Lendermon arrested Findlay for obstruction of justice, but the charges were dropped. But Lendermon was within his rights under qualified immunity, the court ruled.

“Because Findlay has not identified any sufficiently analogous case clearly establishing the constitutional right he accuses Lendermon of violating, and because Findlay offers no adequate explanation for how Lendermon used force ‘so plainly excessive’,” Flaum wrote, “… we reverse the district court’s denial of Lendermon’s motion for summary judgment.”

 
 


 

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  • Above the law!
    Qualified immunity, means that if you wear a badge, you are exempt from law and free to do anything you please! The courts will back badge toting individuals, because they think they are above the law as well. They think, they have judicial immunity, they do not.

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  1. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  2. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  3. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  4. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  5. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

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