Federal court holds Bosh decision applies beyond jails

Supreme Court Expected To Rule On Obama's Health Care Act TomorrowIn a recent decision from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, the court held that the Oklahoma state constitutional right recognized in Bosh v. Cherokee County Governmental Building Authority, 335 P.3d 904 (Okla. 2013) applies beyond the four walls of a county jail.  In other words, Oklahoma’s state constitutional right against unreasonable searched and seizures applies to both incarcerated and non-incarcerated persons.

In King v. Glanz, the Court conducted an analysis of the Bosh opinion, and the rationale used by the Oklahoma Supreme Court.  In doing so, the court concluded that Bosh applies beyond the context of a jail for several reasons:

(1) the Bosh opinion expressly extends to “pre-incarcerated detainees and arrestees,” and persons who are “pre-incarcerated,” by definition, are not incarcerated;

(2) the textual source of the state constitutional right– Art. 2 Sec. 30– makes no distinction based upon incarceration;

(3) the reasoning that underpins recognition of the right is derived from Fourth Amendment cases, which apply to police-citizen encounters well before the point of incarceration; and

(4) the Oklahoma constitution itself forbids granting special preferences or rights to one class of citizens (incarcerated persons) while denying that same right to similarly situated individuals (non-incarcerated persons).

The Court grounded the opinion upon its own analysis, while also relying on the rationale of four other federal cases that preceded it from both the Northern and Eastern Districts of Oklahoma. See White v. City of Tulsa, 979 F.Supp. 2d 1246 (N.D. Okla. 2013); Leonard v. City of Tulsa, 2013 WL 3216078 (N.D. Okla. June 24, 2013); Ibarra v. City of Tahlequah, 2013 WL 1991546 (E.D. Okla. May 13, 2013); and Cook v. Peters, No. 13-CV-107-GKF-FHM (Apr. 23, 2014 Minute Order, Doc. 134).

The decision in King means that every active and senior judge in the Northern District of Oklahoma has now addressed the Bosh decision, and each judge has concluded the decision is not limited solely to conduct that occurs within a jail facility.

If you have questions regarding the Bosh decision, police misconduct, excessive force or police-citizen encounters, contact the attorneys at Bryan & Terrill, 918-935-2777.