CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Secret Police (Settlements in Brutality Cases)

In Secret Police and the Mysterious Case of the Missing Tort Cases, Marc Miller of Emory and Ron Wright of Wake Forest "consider the mysteriously conflicting evidence on whether civil suits against the police can have a meaningful effect on police misconduct. . . . Legal and practical barriers to successful tort claims, joined with the near absence of successful plaintiff verdicts affirmed on appeal in reported judicial decisions, suggest that tort suits have no regular effect on police behavior. Lawyers also talk and act as if successful tort suits against the police are rare events. On the other hand, numerous news accounts describe recoveries by plaintiffs against police departments, although the stories normally do not describe the particular police misconduct at issue or the terms of any settlements. Government litigation statistics also point to a healthy number of successful tort claims against the police." The article is available here:

Jack Chin

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