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Burella v. City of Philadelphia
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
501 F.3d 134 (2007)
George Burella (George) was an active-duty officer in the Philadelphia Police Department (the police) (defendant). Over the course of several years, George had a well-documented history of mentally and physically abusing his wife, Jill Burella (Jill) (plaintiff). Jill was issued three protective orders against George, which contained language that officers “shall…arrest the defendant if he/she fails to comply with this Order.” George continuously violated said orders. Jill contacted the police after each violation, but George was never arrested. Eventually, George went to Jill’s home and shot her in the chest, causing severe injury, before killing himself. Jill brought suit, claiming that the police’s failure to arrest George violated her Fourteenth Amendment right to due process of law. The police moved for summary judgment. The district court held that the protective orders, along with the Pennsylvania Protection from Abuse Act stating that police “shall arrest a defendant for violating an order,” created a constitutionally protected property interest. Accordingly, the district court denied the summary-judgment motion.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Fuentes, J.)
Concurrence (Ambro, J.)
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