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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. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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