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Thursday, June 17, 2004

Oops! Two parole officers attempting to pick up an absconded parolee instead picked up a lawsuit. But the doctrine of qualified immunity saved them from liability. The parole officers had been provided erroneous information as to the whereabouts of the parolee. As a result, they came into the residence of a person who was not the parolee and searched the premises. Once they found out that the information was erroneous, they left. A lawsuit ensued. The District Court declined to grant summary judgment on the plaintiff's Fourth Amendment claim, holding that there were triable issues of fact relating to the legality of the warrantless search. In a decision issued on June 10, 2004, the Second Circuit reversed, holding that the parole officers' actions were reasonably related to their duty to supervise the parolee, the search complied with the rules and regulations of the State Division of Parole, and the officers reasonably believed that they were entering the residence of the absconded parolee. Under these circumstances, the parole officers were entitled to qualified immunity. The decision in Moore v. Vega can be found here.

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