Volume 40 Number 1

Cops on Trial: Did Fourth Amendment Case Law Help George Zimmerman’s Claim of Self-Defense?

When police kill unarmed civilians, prosecutors and grand juries often decline to bring criminal charges. Even when police officers are indicted, they are seldom convicted at trial. There are many reasons why police are rarely convicted for violent acts. Commentators have criticized the inherent conflict of interest for prosecutors who decide whether to bring charges and the fact that police are investigating their own. However, this article considers another way that police may be treated differently than other people suspected of committing violent crimes. The Fourth Amendment, designed to protect civilians from overzealous officers, now helps insulate police suspected of committing violent crimes.

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