Supreme Court Lays Down New Rule for Police Chases that Result in Car Accidents

The US Supreme Court in the case of Scott v. Harris today articulated what is arguably a new rule when it comes to police officers chasing criminals.  In that case, Victor Harris was fleeing from the police.  Police Officer Scott, in an effort to stop Harris’ vehicle. rammed it from the rear with his police cruiser.  This resulted in Harris’ vehicle careening off a highway and down an embankment.  Harris was rendered a paraplegic from the accident.

Harris’ lawyers argued to the Court that under the 4th Amendment, the actions of Officer Scott in ramming Harris’ vehicle was reasonable and not a violation of Harris’ constitutional rights.  This case arguably creates a "per se" rule when it comes to high-speed car chases, and allows the police to use nearly any means necessary to stop a suspected criminal during a vehicle chase.

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