10th Circuit Court to Hear Cases at Law School

08-2105 NM Sherouse, et al., Appellants v. Ratchner, et al.

Reproduced below are excerpts from each brief that summarize the issues.

Sherouse, et al., Appellants v. Ratchner, et al. - APPELLANTS' BRIEF IN CHIEF

This is a 1983 case about the deprivation of Plaintiffs’ Fourth and Fourteenth amendment rights arising from their unlawful arrests. The record demonstrates that the arrests were unconstitutional because they were not supported by probable cause. Plaintiffs also averred a claim of negligence under state law.

Sherouse, et al., Appellants v. Ratchner, et al. - APPELLEES' ANSWER BRIEF

The claims presented at trial included Plaintiffs’ Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment claims for an unlawful transport to, and detention at a police substation by Defendant Police Officers Suzanne Ratchner, Ylaine Hetes and Jeff Stone, and negligence claims against Defendant Police Officers Christopher Harmon, Stephen Powers, Martin Smith and Joseph Duran based on Plaintiffs’ transport and detention. Defendant City of Albuquerque was sued as the employer of the Police Officer Defendants. After two days of evidence, the jury found that the evidence supported a defense verdict. Following entry of judgment, Plaintiffs moved for judgment as a matter of law or for a new trial based on their claims that the District Court erred in its jury instructions. The District Court denied Plaintiffs’ motion, and Plaintiffs appealed.

Sherouse, et al., Appellants v. Ratchner, et al. - APPELLANTS' REPLY BRIEF

Defendants grossly violated the children’s constitutional right to be secure in their persons by taking them to a police station for investigation without a warrant and without probable cause. Detective Ratchner admitted that Defendants did not have probable cause to arrest the girls for armed robbery. The district court’s jury instructions misled jurors into believing that Defendants’ subjective mistake about the existence of probable cause absolved them of liability, and the instructions also failed to inform the jury of a basic Fourth Amendment right.