Tuska Sylvan Law 203
Professor Nilsa Santiago
Title of the case: Scott v. Harris
Legal Citation: _____U.S. ______ (2007)
Procedural History: The United States Supreme court granted a Writ of Certiorari. Harris claims that Scott violated his fourth amendment rights.
Questions: (1) Do the facts show that the police officer violated a constitutional right?
Facts: In March 2001, a Georgia county deputy saw Harris speeding seventy three miles per hour on a fifty five mile per hour speed limit. The deputy put on his blue flashing lights to signal Harris to pull over. Instead of stopping Harris sped away. This then escalated to a chase down between the deputy Scott and Harris. During the chase Harris stopped into a shopping center parking lot. He was then in a pool of police cars surrounding him as he exited the parking lot colliding with Scott’s car. Because of the crash Harris became quadriplegic.
Decision: (1) Yes, the facts indeed do show that the police officer Scott violated Harris’s fourth amendment rights because chasing him down because of the speed limit and bumping into other vehicles is dangerous and while speeding down the road, a person or other people driving vehicles can get hurt in the process, if Harris didn’t become quadriplegic, someone else could have as a result of Officer Scott reckless chase down.
Judgement: The court action is that this case is reversed by the Eleventh Circuit court of Appeals.
Concurring Opinion: The videotape shows a different story. When we see the respondent racing so shockingly fast you see other vehicles that are complying with the speeding limit. We see the car swerve towards a dozen other vehicles. We see the car run multiple red lights and travel for a period of time in occasional center left turns only lane, chased by numerous police cars forced to engage in some hazardous maneuvers just to keep up.
Dissenting Opinion: The videotape and the facts do not correlate. Based of the facts it easy to establish that the police was wrong for chasing Harris down the street while other cars are in motion.
Principle of law: The Supreme Court decided that officer Scott’s chase after Harris was reasonable in order to prevent other vehicles and other persons from death.