The Social and Legal Implications of Police Conduct under 42 U.S.C. 1983: Paine v. Cason

By Sharlene A. McEvoy.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Civic and Political Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: January 15, 2015 $US5.00

This proposal is based on the research I have done about the origin of 42 U.S.C. 1983, a law which was passed by Congress as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1871 during the Reconstruction period. A study of the cases reveals that the original purpose of the law was to protect newly freed slaves from being intimidated by state officials into relinquishing their rights, especially that of suffrage. The statute fell into disuse for a time but underwent a revival as victims of invidious discrimination began to use it as a weapon against state action in the wake of the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act of 1967. The case I am proposing to present is a departure from previous decisions. In Paine v. Cason, the U.S. Court of Appeals allowed the law to be used by a suspect who was released from custody into a dangerous situation in which physical injury was suffered at the hands of a third party, an event not within the contemplation of the police. The paper questions whether the U.S. Court of Appeals properly applied the law to this set of facts.

Keywords: Social and Community Studies, Civic and Political Studies, Duty to Protect, Released Arrestee, Police Liability, Social Responsibility of Law Enforcement, Civil Rights of Suspects, 42 U.S.C. 1983

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Civic and Political Studies, Volume 10, Issue 1, March 2015, pp.21-28. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: January 15, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 306.070KB)).

Dr. Sharlene A. McEvoy

Professor of Business Law, Charles F. Dolan School of Business, Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT, USA