By: Daily Record Staff//August 7, 2013
By: Daily Record Staff//August 7, 2013//
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Jury Instructions — Imminent Threat of Death or Serious Physical Injury
Rasanen v. Brown
Judges Calabresi, Pooler and Raggi
Background: In an underlying action, the plaintiff alleged that a New York State Police trooper used excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment when the plaintiff was shot at close range. At the end of a jury trial, the jury found for the defendant. The plaintiff appealed from the denial of his motion for a new trial, alleging flaws in the jury instructions.
Ruling: The Second Circuit vacated and remanded. The court held that, given the close-range shooting of a suspect by a law enforcement officer, the district court was required to instruct the jury that it must find that the use of force was excessive, unless the jury found that the officer had probable cause to believe that the suspect posed a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.
Harry H. Kutner Jr. for the plaintiff-appellant; Won S. Shin of the New York State Office of the Attorney General for the defendant-appellee