Johnson v. Thibodaux City
Opinion Date: April 17, 2018
Judge: Jerry E. Smith
Areas of Law: Civil Rights, Constitutional Law
Johnson, Every, Green, and Robinson were riding in a truck. Thibodaux Officer Amador recognized Robertson and knew she had an outstanding warrant. He stopped the truck, asked Robertson to exit, and handcuffed her. Every opened her door. Amador told her to get back in; she complied. More officers arrived and asked the passengers for identification. Green said she did not have any, but provided her name. She was not arrested. Johnson and Every refused to identify themselves. The officers arrested them for resisting an officer by refusing to identify themselves during a supposedly lawful detention (Louisiana Revised Statute 14:108) and pulled the women from the truck. Every ran; an officer used his Taser. The officers took the women to jail. They brought 42 U.S.C. 1983 claims. The court generally denied motions in limine seeking to exclude the testimony of the city’s experts on orthopedic surgery and on arrest techniques, police procedures, police training, and use of force, but prohibited testimony as to plaintiffs’ drug use, prior incidents with doctors or law enforcement, or the facts. A jury returned a verdict for the officers. The Fifth Circuit reversed as to Johnson’s unlawful arrest claims against four officers but otherwise affirmed. Under the Fourth Amendment, officers may not require identification absent an otherwise lawful detention based on reasonable suspicion or probable cause. Johnson’s detention lasted longer than necessary to effect the purpose of the stop, without any evidence that would support a finding of reasonable suspicion.
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