CrimProf Blog

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

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Hamilton on Excessive Lethal Force

Hamilton melissaMelissa Hamilton (University of Houston Law Center ) has posted Excessive Lethal Force (Northwestern University Law Review, Vol. 111, 2017) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This Essay considers the use by Dallas police officers of a robot armed with plastic explosives to kill a suspected gunman on a shooting rampage in 2016. In the wake of Dallas, many legal experts in the news maintained that the police action was constitutional. The commentators' consensus was that as long as the police had the right to use lethal force, then the means of that force is irrelevant. This Essay argues the contrary. Under the current state of the constitutional law on the police use of force on a suspected felon, excessive lethal force is a valid consideration. The type and magnitude of lethal force may, under certain circumstances, be unconstitutional despite the suspect posing a high degree of risk to others.

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