10 Mar 2020
Professor Ryan Sullivan’s article, Revitalizing Fourth Amendment Protections: A True Totality of the Circumstances Test in § 1983 Probable Cause Determinations, has been published in the Iowa Law Review.
The article analyzes claims of police misconduct and false arrest, specifically addressing the issue of whether a police officer may ignore evidence of an affirmative defense, such as self-defense, when determining probable cause for an arrest. The inquiry most often arises in § 1983 civil claims for false arrest where the officer was aware of some evidence a crime had been committed, but was also aware of facts indicating the suspect had an affirmative defense to the crime observed. In extreme cases, the affirmative defense at issue is actually self-defense in response to the officer’s own unlawful conduct. As police brutality and false arrest claims rise, so too will the prevalence of this issue.
As the Director of the Civil Clinic, Sullivan supervises student attorneys providing legal services to veterans and underserved populations in the areas of tenant rights, debt collection defense, criminal record rehabilitation, estate planning, family law, and other civil matters.