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Mascorro v. Billings

656 F.3d 1198 (2011)

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Mascorro v. Billings

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

656 F.3d 1198 (2011)

Facts

Deputy sheriff Billings (defendant) attempted to pull over seventeen-year-old Joshua Burchett for driving without taillights. The boy instead drove two blocks, ran inside his parents’ house, and hid in the bathroom. Burchett’s mother and stepfather, Christina and Jose Mascorro (plaintiffs), woke up to Billings cursing and kicking their door, the sole entry point for their house. When Jose opened the door, Billings pointed a gun at his head and ordered him to his knees. Soon afterward, Billings pepper-sprayed Christina, her fourteen-year-old son, and Jose directly in their faces. Billings and two other officers ordered Burchett to leave the bathroom. When Burchett refused, an officer kicked down the bathroom door and arrested him. Police and an ambulance escorted the Mascorros and their fourteen-year-old son to the hospital. The Mascorros were charged with obstructing a police officer, and Christina was charged with aggravated assault and battery on a police officer because she allegedly poked Billings in the chest. When the Mascorros returned home from jail, they found their belongings trashed and a hole in a wall. The state court dismissed the Mascorros’ criminal charges, after determining that Billings illegally entered their home. The Mascorros then sued the three officers in federal court under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming unlawful entry, excessive use of force, false arrest, false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution. The district court dismissed a few of the claims, but it otherwise denied the officers’ summary-judgment motions, determining that the officers did not have qualified immunity and could be sued. The officers appealed the denial of qualified immunity before trial began.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (O’Brien, J.)

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