Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Rachel Harmon (University of Virginia School of Law) has posted Law and Orders (Law and Orders, 123 Colum. L. Rev. 1 (2023)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Coercive policing is conducted mostly by means of commands, and officers usually cannot use force unless they have ﬁrst issued an order. Yet, despite widespread concern about force and coercion in policing, commands are both underregulated and misunderstood. Officers have no clear legal authority to give many common commands, almost no departmental guidance about how or when to issue them, and almost no legal scrutiny for many commands they give. Scholars rarely study commands, and when they do, they get them wrong. As a result of vague law and inadequate analysis, basic questions about police commands—what role they play, where officers get authority to issue them, and how law regulates them—remain unanswered. Instead, officers interact with the public in a legal gray zone, a recipe for illegitimacy and conﬂict. This Article offers initial answers to these questions.