MACP partners with Kandler Reed Khoury & Muchmore
On behalf of my business partners Bill Kandler, Ron Khoury and Deb Muchmore, I want to thank you for placing your trust in our firm. We at Kandler Reed Khoury & Muchmore (KRKM) are proud to have the privilege to represent the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police in Lansing.
Our goal is to provide high-quality government relations consulting for the MACP and our goal is to develop a long-term relationship, a partnership really, with your organization. Our firm possesses an intense knowledge of Michigan government and comes from nearly 150 years of combined front-line experience in the Legislature, the Governor’s Office, and both major political parties.
At KRKM, we employ a team approach to consulting and direct lobbying. All four principals of our firm will learn, grasp and work on your issues. In the field, we will present your positions clearly & passionately, and will be always mindful that our professional conduct will create and maintain a positive perception of the MACP.
We are as proud of our winning record as we are of the clients we are privileged to serve – and view the MACP as another one of our "Blue Chip” clients! Again thank you and we look forward to working with you.
Gary Reed, Partner
Kandler Reed Khoury & Muchmore
Subject: Supreme Court decision in Mullenix v Luna SCOTIS
In this 42 USC 1983 action, officers began to chase the plaintiff when he was contacted in his car concerning an arrest warrant. The plaintiff commenced a high-speed chase that continued for approximately 18 minutes at speeds between 85 and 110 miles per hour. Twice during the chase the plaintiff call police dispatch to say he had a gun and threatening to shoot police if they did not stop their pursuit. Tire spikes were set beneath an overpass. Officer Mullenix decided to shoot at the car to disable it. Mullenix communicated his plan - one officer responded 10-4, a supervisor indicated stand-by and "see if the spikes work" which may or may not have been heard by Mullenix. Mullenix fired several shots at the vehicle. The car hit the spikes and flipped. It was determined that plaintiff died from the shots, not the accident.
In court, Mullenix moved for summary judgment on the ground of qualified immunity - the motion was denied by the trial court and affirmed by the Court of Appeals.
The Supreme Court reversed. In this per curium opinion, the Court held that the appropriate question was whether clearly established law concerning an officer's conduct where the person is avoiding capture through vehicular flight when persons in the area are at risk from the flight. The opinion asks whether it was reasonable to kill the suspect. Qualified immunity shields officials from civil liability as long as the official's conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known. To determine the issue, the Court looked to whether the act was unreasonable in circumstances beyond debate. The Court held that in this situation the officer was not plainly incompetent nor did he knowingly violate the law. Therefore, the officer should be granted qualified immunity.
Justice Scalia in a concurrence, stated that the proper question was not whether it was reasonable to kill, but rather whether it was reasonable to shoot at the engine of the car even though the result was different.
Justice Sotomayor dissented.
Subject: U.S. Supreme Court win in Pennsylvania case
In September the Michigan Attorney General filed an amicus brief, drafted by Kate Dalzell, on behalf of Michigan and 20 other states. The brief urged the Supreme Court to take a Pennsylvania case, Carroll v. Carmen, and to reverse the Third Circuit. The two issues were (1) whether the Fourth Amendment requires a police officer to go to the front door of a house to talk to the occupants even if it appears some other entrance is customarily used by visitors and (2) if the Fourth Amendment does impose this “front door only” rule, whether that rule was clearly established at the time the police officers in this case went to a different door. This second question was important because if the officers violated clearly established law by using the wrong entrance, they would not be entitled to qualified immunity and therefore could be personally liable.
Today the Supreme Court unanimously granted the petition and summarily reversed the Third Circuit, concluding that the officers were entitled qualified immunity because there is no clearly established rule that officers must approach the front door only. The Court did not reach the first question.
This is good news, as it means that police officers in Michigan and across the country do not need to fear being sued if they approach a door that appears to be a customary entrance. The deputy AG we’ve been working with in Pennsylvania said in an e-mail this morning that our amicus brief “was essential to that positive outcome.” So, I wanted to pass on news of this win.