case law update

Update: Cert Denied to Occupy Wall Street and Terry Cases

Written by FEDagent on .

The U.S. Supreme Court denied petitions for writ of certiorari on Garcia v. Bloomberg and Robinson v. U.S., two cases on which FEDagent previously reported.

Garcia arises from an Occupy Wall Street march to the Brooklyn Bridge in 2011. Protesters began at an organized rally and proceeded to march without a permit to the bridge. Police directed marchers to cross against street lights and blocked traffic to facilitate the march. Police then permitted protestors to walk onto the bridge, before encircling and arresting a group of them for disorderly conduct. The arrestees sued, alleging violation of their First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights for being arrested without warning. The trial court dismissed the suit.

The Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal, holding the officers had “sufficient evidence to establish probable cause on each of the elements of a disorderly conduct violation,” and that only “a direct communication from police to marchers that the marchers were permitted to occupy the road” would have rendered the arrests unlawful. Petitioning that decision to the Supreme Court, the arrestees argued the Second Circuit holding conflicted with precedent from three other circuits.

The events in Robinson took place in West Virginia, where it is legal to open carry a firearm without a license. An anonymous caller reported a man loading a firearm, getting into the passenger seat of a car, and departing from a convenience store, and officer responded. The officer identified the car, stopped the driver for not wearing a seatbelt, Terry frisked the passenger and found a firearm. The passenger was then charged as being a felon in possession of a firearm. The passenger entered a conditional guilty plea, reserving his right to appeal the trial court’s denial of this motion to suppress the firearm found during the roadside search.

En banc, the Fourth Circuit sustained the motion denial, reasoning that whenever an “officer reasonably suspected that the person he has stopped is armed, the officer is warranted in the belief that his safety is in danger, thus justifying a Terry search.” The passenger petitioned to the Supreme Court, arguing the Fourth Circuit’s holding was contrary to precedent in other federal circuit courts and in multiple state courts of last resort.

The Supreme Court’s denials of the petitions for writ of certiorari leaves the Garcia the law of the Second Circuit, and Robinson the law of the Fourth Circuit, without overturning precedent in any other federal circuit courts of appeal or state courts.

Read FEDagent’s prior coverage: Garcia and Robinson  


This case law update was written by James Garay Heelan, Associate Attorney, Shaw Bransford & Roth, PC.

For thirty years, Shaw Bransford & Roth P.C. has provided superior representation on a wide range of federal employment law issues, from representing federal employees nationwide in administrative investigations, disciplinary and performance actions, and Bivens lawsuits, to handling security clearance adjudications and employment discrimination cases.






Posted in Case Law Update

Tags: Supreme Court, Terry stop