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Conviction of a Former Army Member, Plus Excessive Force Suit

By FindLaw Staff on June 29, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

US v. Springer, No. 08-6381, concerned a challenge to a conviction of a former Army member for possessing an unregisterd firearm in violation of 26 U.S.C. sections 5861(d) and 5871, for taking a live rocket home from an Army base and keeping it in his garage.  In affirming the conviction, the court held that section 5861(d) does not prohibit possession of an unregistered firearm that is in the possession or under the control of the U.S.  However, the court held that the evidence was sufficient to support the conclusion that defendant did not qualify for the exception to section 5861(d) as a reasonable juror could easily have found that defendant's possession of the rocket was unauthorized.

Aldini v. Johnson, No. 09-3183, concerned a plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. section 1983 excessive force suit against four corrections officers, claiming that he was beaten and repeatedly tased while being held in the booking room pending a completion of the booking process.  First, the court held that the district court erred in applying the Fourteenth Amendment standard to an arrestee detained following a warantless arrest prior to a probable cause hearing.  However, the court affirmed in part, as the district court's conclusion that the actions of the one officer violated the Fourteenth Amendment, rather than applying the Fourth Amendment,  was harmless because actions that violate the Fourteenth Amendment necessarily violate the Fourth Amendment.  However, the district court's grant of qualified immunity to the remaining officers is vacated as a review of the record leads the court to believe that a different result could be possible under the Fourth Amendment for the remaining officers.

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