Supreme Court Cases: 1996-1997 Term

By Bulzomi, Michael J.; Dunn, Robert M. | The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, November 1997 | Go to article overview

Supreme Court Cases: 1996-1997 Term


Bulzomi, Michael J., Dunn, Robert M., The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin


It often is said that the future is determined by the past. During its 1996-1997 term, the United States Supreme Court determined the future for law enforcement, to some extent, in eight of its decisions. The cases involved the issues of 1) due process rights of officers who are immediately suspended without pay after being arrested; 2) extended incarceration for violent sexual offenders; 3) government liability for unconstitutional actions of employees; 4) blanket exceptions for the newly-recognized constitutionally based knock and announce rule; 5) overtime wage benefits for police supervisors; 6) ordering passengers out of vehicles during traffic stops; 7) floating buffer zones when restricting abortion protests; and 8) obtaining a valid consent to search. This article summarizes these cases.

Gilbert v. Homar, 117 S.Ct. 1807 (1997)

When a police officer at a Pennsylvania state institution was arrested and charged with a drug felony, officials of the state institution immediately suspended the officer without pay. The officer subsequently filed suit against his employer claiming that the failure to provide him with notice and an opportunity to be heard before suspending him without pay violated his 14th Amendment due process rights. The United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania entered judgment for the employer but the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed the judgment and held that, based on the due process clause, a state employee is entitled to a pre-suspension hearing before being suspended without pay. The Supreme Court unanimously reversed the latter judgment.

The court noted that due process is flexible and calls for such procedural protections as the particular situation demands. In that regard, the state has a significant interest in immediately suspending employees who occupy positions of great public trust and high public visibility, such as police officers, when felony charges are filed against them. The court said the government does not have to give an employee charged with a felony a paid leave at the taxpayer's expense.

The purpose of a presuspension hearing is to determine whether there are reasonable grounds to believe the charges against the employee are true and support the proposed action. The arrest and formal charges imposed upon an officer demonstrate that the suspension is not arbitrary; the arrest itself assures that the decision to suspend an officer is not baseless or unwarranted.

Kansas v. Hendricks, 117 S.Ct. 2072 (1997)

In 1994, after serving 10 years for taking "indecent liberties" with two 13-year-old boys, the defendant walked out of prison only to be committed almost immediately to a Kansas correctional mental health facility. Under a 1994 state law called the Sexually Violent Predator Act, a judge ordered the defendant confined indefinitely after ruling that his "mental abnormality" made him likely to attack again. The defendant had told authorities that only death could stop him from molesting children. Despite this declaration and the fact that he had been previously convicted five times for the same type of offense, he challenged the constitutionality of the act.

The Supreme Court upheld the Kansas act to the extent it allows for the involuntary commitment of people who have been convicted of a sexually violent crime and have already served their sentence but, because of a mental abnormality or personality disorder, are likely to continue that same violent conduct. The Court concluded that the Kansas act did not violate the double jeopardy, ex post facto, or the due process clauses of the Constitution.

The Court decided that double jeopardy, which prohibits the imposition of more than one punishment for a single crime, does not come into play because, in this instance, the offender is not being punished twice for the same crime. The Kansas act is neither retribution for the crime the offender was convicted of, nor a basis for general deterrence, which are the primary objectives of criminal punishment.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Supreme Court Cases: 1996-1997 Term
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.