Michigan Court of Appeals Issues Definitive Ruling on State Excessive Force Claims in Favor of Police Officers in the Wake of Odom v. Wayne County

In the wake of the Michigan Supreme Court’s pinnacle decision in Odom v. Wayne County, 482 Mich 459 (2008), which I briefed and argued, the Michigan Court of Appeals had yet to address the difficult case involving serious consequences of police activity.  In Gentry v. Deputy Daniel Carmona and Wayne County, another case I briefed and argued, the Court of Appeals finally had to address the question of state immunity in a police shooting case.  The deputy sheriff claimed he acted in good faith in shooting the suspect / arrestee in the back, because the deputy’s partner hollered that he thought the plaintiff was going for his weapon during a violent altercation which was initiated by the plaintiff.  Not surprisingly, the trial court focused on the conduct of the officer and not the propriety of his discretionary decision to employ potentially deadly force under the “good faith / bad faith” analysis clarified in Odom.  The Court of Appeals reversed.  As I had urged during oral argument, it does not matter whether or not the suspect actually went for the deputy’s weapon; all that matters is that the deputy that made the decision to draw his weapon and employ deadly force heard his partner yell that he thought the plaintiff was trying to disarm him.  The deputy then had to make a split-second, life or death decision to employ that force he deemed necessary to avert greater harm.  Thankfully, the Court of Appeals got the Odom standard right and applied it to this case.  This is a very significant decision for law enforcement officers and provides further guidance and clarification on the perimeters of acceptable conduct in use-of-force settings.

I’ve attached the opinion here:  Gentry COA Opinion

About cjtucker06

Owner of law firm since July 2014; Handles all types of appellate matters and assists other lawyers with complex litigation and insurance coverage issues; Admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the State Bar of Michigan; Expertise in prosecuting and defending appeals with several significant successes in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Michigan Supreme Court and the Michigan Court of Appeals; Author of briefs amicus curiae in the Michigan Supreme Court for the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel and the Insurance Institute of Michigan; Represents Insurance Companies, Major International Business, Governmental Entities, Law Enforcement Officers and County Sheriffs. Board of Directors, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel Amicus Committee Co-Chair, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel Military - Retired Major in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps of the United States Army, Brigade Judge Advocate and Staff JAG officer for the Maneuver Training Center, Camp Grayling, Michigan; Recipient of the Army's Meritorious Service Medal (the highest medal of honor available to Soldiers serving in non-combat roles); 2012 Graduate of the Judge Advocate Officer Advanced Course, at The Judge Advocate Legal Center and School, Charlottesville, Virginia. United States Navy Reserves, Combat Warfare Qualification, January 1989 to July 2003 Former law clerk to Justice Stephen J. Markman, Michigan Supreme Court, Research Attorney, Michigan Court of Appeals. Insurance Coverage Associate Plunkett Cooney; Environmental Law Attorney at Squire Sanders, now Squire Patton Boggs; Master's Degree in Environmental Law; Environmental Law Scholar, ALI/ABA Washington, D.C., Juris Doctorate, Vermont Law School, Environmental Editor, Vermont Law Review; Treasurer and Finalist, Moot Court Advisory Board.
Gallery | This entry was posted in County Sheriffs, May It Please the Court, Michigan Court of Appeals Unpublished Opinions, Recent Judicial Dispositions. Bookmark the permalink.

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