Tennessee v. Garner 471 U.S. 1 (1985)

Author:Leonard W. Levy
Pages:2665-2666
 
FREE EXCERPT

Page 2665

At the time of this case a majority of police departments in the nation prohibited the use of deadly force against nonviolent suspects, and the Supreme Court sought by its decision to stimulate a uniformity of that practice. Justice BYRON R. WHITE for a 6?3 majority held unconstitutional

Page 2666

on FOURTH AMENDMENT grounds a state act authorizing an officer to shoot to kill in order to prevent an escape after he gave notice of an intent to arrest. The DOCTRINE of the case is that to kill a fleeing, unarmed felon as a last resort in order to prevent his getaway constitutes an unreasonable seizure unless the officer believes that failure to use deadly force will result in serious harm to himself or others. Justice SANDRA DAY O'CONNOR, for the dissenters, would have permitted deadly force at least against residential burglars who resist arrest by attempting to flee the scene of the crime.

LEONARD W...

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