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Brosseau v. Haugen

In this case, the court of appeals held that Rochelle Brosseau acted not acted reasonably in using deadly force when she shot respondent Kenneth Haugen in the back as he started his jeep to flee the scene when, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to him, Haugen was not suspected of committing a violent crime, did not act in an aggressive manner toward Brosseau or anyone else, did not wield a weapon, had only just started his jeep’s engine at the moment he was shot, and had a clear path of escape with no officers in his way. The court also ruled that Haugen’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from the unreasonable exercise of deadly force under these circumstances was clearly established at the time of the shooting, under the standards governing the use of force announced in Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985), and Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989), and other case law establishing that a law enforcement officer is not entitled to shoot a suspect merely because he is seeking to evade arrest by fleeing in a vehicle, unless the officer has a reasonable, objective basis for believing that the suspect poses a threat of death or serious physical harm to the officer or others. Brosseau petitioned the Supreme Court for review of both holdings.

Public Citizen represented respondent Haugen in opposing the petition for certiorari. The Supreme Court, however, summarily reversed.