Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Nevada Highway Patrol did a felony hot stop on senior citizens that OWNED the car... just more untrained cops that have their heads up their ass but got away with it


So, this happened in Feb 2014...  Robin and Beverly Bruins, their lawyer is Paola Armeni and the summary of the case is http://www.leagle.com/decision/In%20FDCO%2020160222A06/BRUINS%20v.%20OSBORN

The Bruins brought this lawsuit against Herrera, Slattery, Poehl, Arias, and Estes based on their participation in the incident. The Bruins also sued defendant Dennis Osborn, Chief of NHP, for allegedly implementing policies that led to the incident. The Bruins assert against defendants Osborn, Arias, Herrera, Poehl, and Slattery claims for unreasonable seizure under the Fourth Amendment (counts one and two), false imprisonment under state law (counts seven and eight), unreasonable search and seizure regarding the car (count three), and (2) a due process violation for depriving them of their car without notice and an opportunity to be heard (count four). The Bruins assert against Herrera, Slattery, Poehl, Arias, Osborn, and Estes claims for negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress (counts nine, ten, and eleven).

The Bruins assert that Herrera based probable cause on a search of a license plate number he knew would not return a match because he did not include the + symbol. The Bruins also argue Herrera erroneously relied on an unreliable warble tone from dispatch without confirming the stolen vehicle report. Additionally, the Bruins contend that possession of a stolen vehicle requires that the person know or have reason to believe the car is stolen. They contend the officers lacked probable cause on the knowledge element because: (1) the officers on the scene expressed their belief that the Bruins did not know the car was stolen, (2) the Bruins denied they knew it was stolen and provided paperwork showing they owned it, and (3) following Robin's arrest, the fax to Clark County Detention Center stated there was "[n]o probable cause to arrest." They also contend that the defendants removed them from the car at gunpoint, handcuffed them, and detained Beverly in handcuffs for 30 minutes even though she was cooperative, so the manner in which they were detained was unreasonable. Finally, the Bruins argue the defendants are not entitled to qualified immunity for these same reasons.

The suspicious circumstances surrounding the license plate which produced no records, the registration which returned to a different vehicle, and a VIN number reported stolen, combined with Robin's statements, objectively support probable cause, including the knowledge element. Robin's statements about how he purchased the car from Craigslist from someone who claimed it was purchased from a friend in Arizona is consistent with the car being stolen. Robin also stated that he purchased the plates from a private individual rather than obtaining the plates from the DMV. The circumstances of how Robin purchased the car, separately purchased the plates, registered it without inspection, and told the Washington DMV he paid less for the car than he claims he did support a fair probability that Robin knew or should have known the car was stolen.

For these same reasons, even if probable cause was lacking, the officers made a reasonable mistake in believing that probable cause existed. They therefore are entitled to qualified immunity. In sum, I grant the defendants' motion for summary judgment on counts one, two, and three to the extent those claims are based on a lack of probable cause.

However, the defendants have not met their initial burden under Rule 56 of showing they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the reasonableness of the manner in which the Bruins were detained. The fact that the officers received a report that the car was stolen does not necessarily justify removing the Bruins from the car at gunpoint and detaining Beverly in handcuffs for 30 minutes. See, e.g., Green, 751 F.3d at 1049-51. The defendants make no argument and cite no law for the proposition that the existence of probable cause establishes that the manner in which the officers detained the Bruins was reasonable or that the defendants are entitled to qualified immunity in connection with the manner of detention. I therefore deny summary judgment on counts one and two to the extent they are based on the reasonableness of the manner by which the Bruins were detained.

Finally, I deny the motion on the remaining portions of the Bruins' § 1983 claims as to defendants Osborn and Arias. The complaint alleges that these two defendants are liable based on creating or perpetuating policies that led to the violations.

However, as with the § 1983 claims, the defendants have not met their initial burden of showing they are entitled to summary judgment on the false imprisonment and negligence claims based on the manner in which Herrera, Slattery, and Poehl detained the Bruins.7 The defendants state in conclusory fashion that the 30-minute detention of Beverly was reasonable. But they do not analyze the means by which they removed the Bruins from the Impala or the fact that Beverly was held in handcuffs during that time. As for discretionary immunity, acts taken in violation of the Constitution cannot be considered discretionary. Mirmehdi v. United States, 689 F.3d 975, 984 (9th Cir. 2011); Nurse v. United States, 226 F.3d 996, 1002 (9th Cir. 2000). Because the defendants have not shown that the nature and amount of force used was reasonable under the Constitution as a matter of law, they have not shown they are entitled to discretionary immunity. Moreover, "[d]ecisions regarding the amount of force to use are not the kind of policy decisions the discretionary-function exception was designed to shield." Vasquez-Brenes v. Las Vegas Metro. Police Dep't, 51 F.Supp.3d 999, 1013 (D. Nev. 2014). Thus, the defendants have not shown that they are entitled to discretionary immunity.

iT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the defendants' motion for summary judgment (Dkt. #22) is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.
The defendants are granted summary judgment on:
 • counts one and two to the extent those claims are based on a lack of probable cause;
• count three;
• count four; and
 • counts seven through eleven to the extent those claims are based on (a) the decision to detain and arrest and (b) the decision of what information to convey from dispatch. The motion is denied in all other respects.

 Thus, the claims remaining for trial are:
 • counts one and two and seven through eleven against defendants Herrera, Slattery, Poehl, Arias, and Osborn to the extent those claims are based on the manner of the Bruins' detention.

basically, the cops were supported by the judge, and though incredible, the completely legal driver and his wife were screwed by the judge who favors the cops. They can still take the cops to court for some claims, but seriously, it looks like they are going to lose, and the cops, though seriously inept, are going to walk away from this without a hit. SNAFU and FUBAR plus BOHECA for citizens


  1. Hard to read and harder to watch.

  2. I was misuderstood. Many years ago I was 'detained' as a suspect. This brought back unpleasant memories. Thus, ' hard to read, harder to watch'. Believe me, the last thing on my mind is doing something illegal, unkind, or wrong. (except for speeding, of course.[joke]). I feel bad for the folks in the Impala. There is a good chance this has completely ruined any car fun or cruise or vacation for them for a long time. It ain't right, and I bet a sincere apology would fix ninety percent of it.

    1. oh... gotcha. Damn. I feel for them too, just out driving to some distant event, though I don't know what happens in february in Nevada, to get them to drive their cool car from Washington state.... and cops wreck their day, week, and month. And they did NOTHING wrong to be treated like car thiefs

  3. They still had action as to manner of detention which was something. Anyone know how this concluded since it was last year?

    1. nope, I rarely have the time to post, and never have the time to google the following year, or years, to see the eventual outcome - results of legal cases and lawsuits. If you take the time, as I can't, and find out something, pop back and drop a comment or note about what you find out.