Posted in Negligence on May 9, 2013
Who is responsible for ensuring that an arrestee receives a probable cause hearing before a judge within 48 hours of his or her arrest? In Wilson v. Ortiz, the Tenth Circuit concluded that it depends upon state law, but liability may rest with the arresting officer.
In Wilson, the Tenth Circuit analyzed the failure to provide Michael Wilson with a probable cause hearing within 48 hours. In response to Wilson’s civil rights lawsuit, the various defendants all disavowed responsibility for providing Wilson with a hearing, and further argued that even if they did bear some responsibility, the law was not clearly established at the time of Wilson’ arrest, and therefore they should be dismissed from the case altogether under the doctrine of qualified immunity.
The Tenth Circuit rejected these contentions and looked to the law of the particular state to determine who was responsible for ensuring that an arrestee receive a probable cause hearing within 48 hours. Under the law of New Mexico, the Tenth Circuit concluded that the arresting officer is responsible, and that his responsibility was clearly established at the time of Wilson’s arrest.
Under Oklahoma law, the same obligation would likely apply to any arresting officer. In other words, when a police officer in Oklahoma arrests a person, he or she has a corresponding duty to ensure that person receives a probable cause hearing within 48 hours.
If you have questions about the validity of arrests or probable cause determinations, contact the Tulsa injury attorneys at Bryan & Terrill, 918-935-2777.
More here: Wilson v. Ortiz