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Supreme Court Ruling: Police Have No Duty to Protect the General Public

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 DarkKnightNomeD    2,079

This is just a reminder.

Police Have No Duty to Protect the General Public

Justices Rule Police Do Not Have a Constitutional Duty to Protect Someone



WASHINGTON, June 27 - The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the police did not have a constitutional duty to protect a person from harm, even a woman who had obtained a court-issued protective order against a violent husband making an arrest mandatory for a violation.

The decision, with an opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia and dissents from Justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, overturned a ruling by a federal appeals court in Colorado. The appeals court had permitted a lawsuit to proceed against a Colorado town, Castle Rock, for the failure of the police to respond to a woman's pleas for help after her estranged husband violated a protective order by kidnapping their three young daughters, whom he eventually killed.

For hours on the night of June 22, 1999, Jessica Gonzales tried to get the Castle Rock police to find and arrest her estranged husband, Simon Gonzales, who was under a court order to stay 100 yards away from the house. He had taken the children, ages 7, 9 and 10, as they played outside, and he later called his wife to tell her that he had the girls at an amusement park in Denver.

Ms. Gonzales conveyed the information to the police, but they failed to act before Mr. Gonzales arrived at the police station hours later, firing a gun, with the bodies of the girls in the back of his truck. The police killed him at the scene.

The theory of the lawsuit Ms. Gonzales filed in federal district court in Denver was that Colorado law had given her an enforceable right to protection by instructing the police, on the court order, that "you shall arrest" or issue a warrant for the arrest of a violator. She argued that the order gave her a "property interest" within the meaning of the 14th Amendment's due process guarantee, which prohibits the deprivation of property without due process.

The district court and a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit dismissed the suit, but the full appeals court reinstated it and the town appealed. The Supreme Court's precedents made the appellate ruling a challenging one for Ms. Gonzales and her lawyers to sustain.

A 1989 decision, DeShaney v. Winnebago County, held that the failure by county social service workers to protect a young boy from a beating by his father did not breach any substantive constitutional duty. By framing her case as one of process rather than substance, Ms. Gonzales and her lawyers hoped to find a way around that precedent.

Read the rest of the story in the link provided at the top.

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 posty    26

I think that any woman who has been "protected" by a restraining order will not be surprised to read this. 

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 garlic    2,639

Fine...I don't need the police to protect me. I only need them to come and collect the body after I protect myself.

Now if they rule that the firemen can't protect us..well, I better get a bigger hose.


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 Groove    2,081

So does this mean I can take the law into my own hands? I mean if you call and they don't come, what is one to do. I say I'm not backing down if no back up is coming. Especially court ordered. Their basicly saying that protective order was worthless and a waste of time. 

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