01.22.2007 - The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to consider the case of a bystander bitten by a police dog as officers tried to track down a suspect.
Lawyers for the city of Kennewick, Wash., and several police officers asked the justices to take the case, hoping to overturn lower court rulings that authorities engaged in an unconstitutional seizure when the dog bit the man, Ken Rogers.
Police were using the dog to hunt down a motorcyclist who failed to stop and then eluded police on foot. In trying to find the motorcyclist, police let the dog off the leash. The dog unexpectedly bolted and found Rogers on the other side of a fence.
"The unfortunate situation involving Rogers was simply an accident," lawyers for the town said in court papers. The police officers argue there was no Fourth Amendment seizure because they did not intend to seize Rogers.
The lower court decisions would hold every police dog handler constitutionally liable for the action of any police dog while off its leash, the town's court papers state.
The cases are Kennewick v. Rogers, 06-616, and Dopke v. Rogers, 06-626.