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Title: Right to Life: Interest-Convergence Policing
Authors: Crusto, Mitchell F.
Keywords: Lethal Force Police Danziger New Orleans LMIA
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Rutgers University Law Review
Citation: Mitchell F. Crusto, Right to Life: Interest-Convergence Policing, 71 Rutgers U.L. Rev. 63 (2018).
Abstract: In the United States, police officers fatally shoot over one thousand people every year. A surprising few of these incidents are fully investigated. In fact, very few police officers are criminally prosecuted for, and are rarely found guilty of, homicide resulting from the unjustified use of lethal force. This Article contends that the lack of criminal prosecutions results mainly from leading United States Supreme Court decisions that establish the criminal liability standard for police use of lethal force. Ultimately, this standard discourages a full investigation of such incidents. While unintended, this produces negative consequences, including injustice for the victims and their families, danger and fear for future victims, and increased danger to police officers. Using empiricism and normative principles, this Article seeks to re-direct the doctrinal approach for assessing the legality of police use of lethal force in non-custodial situations. Through a case study, it analyzes how some police officers used lethal force in an unjustified manner and initially got away with homicide. It posits that a constitutional right to life principle requires the lowering of the criminal liability standard for assessing police shootings. And it proposes federal legislation mandating the investigation and, where appropriate, the prosecution of all incidents of police officers’ use of lethal force.
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