Thursday, January 26, 2006

4th Circuit takes minority view on issue of who is a law enforcement officer under the Federal Tort Claims Act

In United States v. Andrews, the Fourth Circuit in an opinion by Judge Williams, with Judge Shedd concurring, concluded that a Bureau of Prisons employee was not a "law enforcement officer" within the meaning of the exceptions to the Federal Tort Claims Act.

Judge King dissented, with this comment:

"Although I am a lone voice on this panel, I am not alone in espousing this position. Six of the nine courts of appeal to have addressed this issue agree with my view. See Halverson v. United States, 972 F.2d 654, 656 (5th Cir. 1992) (concluding that "plain language" of § 2680(c) encompasses property detentions by law enforcement officers acting in any capacity); see also Bramwell v. U.S. Bureau of Prisons, 348 F.3d 804, 806-07 (9th Cir. 2003); Hatten v. White, 275 F.3d 1208, 1210 (10th Cir. 2002); Cheney v. United States, 972 F.2d 247, 248-49 (8th Cir. 1992); Schlaebitz v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, 924 F.2d 193, 194-95 (11th Cir. 1991); Ysasi v. Rivkind, 856 F.2d 1520, 1524-25 (Fed. Cir. 1988)."

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