In a recent decision, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes the state of Michigan, determined that a police officer violated an individual’s constitutional rights when he engaged in a low-speed chase.
Your constitutional rights protect you if you are under investigation for or been charged with a Michigan crime. If police officers violate your rights, the charges may be reduced or dismissed. An experienced Michigan criminal defense lawyer can advise you concerning your rights.
In Walker v. Davis, a Kentucky man – Thomas Germany – was killed while riding a motorcycle across an empty field in the middle of the night. The incident occurred after a police officer clocked Germany riding his motorcycle at 70 mph in a 55 mph zone. The officer tried to the pull Germany over, but he refused to stop. Another officer heard about the attempt on the radio and tried to intercept Germany on his cruiser. When he failed, the second officer engaged in a slow speed pursuit, following Germany across a muddy field. The officer then intentionally ran into the motorcycle, knocking Germany off the cycle and crushing him with his police cruiser.
The appeals court determined that the police officers action’s clearly violated Germany’s constitutional rights stating, “It has been settled law for a generation that, under the Fourth Amendment ‘[w]here a suspect poses no immediate threat to the officer and no threat to others, the harm resulting from failing to apprehend him does not justify the use of deadly force to do so.” Here, Germany was not a threat to anyone – he was riding his motorcycle in the middle of the night across an open field. As the result, the court determined it was a violation of Germany’s 4th amendment rights to use deadly force.
In addition to the Fourth Amendment which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures – and may be used to challenge evidence in such cases as Michigan drunk driving and Michigan drug offenses – several other constitutional provisions protect all criminal defendants. Some of these constitutional rights include the fundamental right to counsel – in fact the right to have a criminal defense attorney of your choosing is embedded in the constitution as a way to guarantee your right to a fair trial. Other constitutional rights include the right to due process, the right to a jury trial and the privilege against self-incrimination. These rights are critical in each and every criminal case – from routine traffic stops to trials for homicide, murder and other violent crimes.
Because individual constitutional rights are so important, the courts take violations very seriously. In fact, many times where an individual’s constitutional rights have been violated, a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney will be able to get charges reduced or even dismissed.
If you have been charged with a crime or are under investigation it is critical to speak to a seasoned Michigan criminal defense law firm who can ensure your rights are protected and work to provide you the best results in your case.
For more information or to speak to an aggressive Michigan criminal defense lawyer, contact Grabel & Associates today for a free consultation.