Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Sialoi v. City of San Diego (9th Cir. - May 24, 2016)

I'm not sure why the City of San Diego filed an appeal in this one.

Here's how the Ninth Circuit describes the case:  "In October of 2010, officers with the San Diego Police Department responded to a report that two armed black males had been seen in the parking lot of an apartment complex. When they arrived, the officers, armed with assault rifles and eventually numbering over twenty, encountered not two armed black males but a large Samoan family celebrating the birthday of a seven-year-old girl. The officers detained the members of the family (handcuffing the vast majority of them, including numerous adolescents) and then searched each of them for weapons. Finding nothing incriminating, the officers then searched the family’s apartment without a warrant or consent. Again finding nothing incriminating, the officers left without removing a single family member from the scene or filing any charges."

Needless to say, a Section 1983 lawsuit follows.

San Diego moves for qualified immunity on behalf of the defendant officers.  The district court denies the motion.  On every single point.  The City appeals.  The Ninth Circuit rejects the appeal.  On every single point.  Without a single vote to the contrary.  (And it's a mix of judicial philosophies:  the panel consists of Judges Reinhardt, Paez, and Milan Smith.)

All that the appeal seems to accomplish is to delay the lawsuit and run up legal fees.  The City's as well as the plaintiffs'.  The latter of which the City will pay as well if the plaintiff prevails.

My tax dollars hard at work.