Roxanne Torres, your basic every day crackhead, back in 2014, got all hopped up on meth, sat her ass in a car, and was tripping balls in a parking lot, othewise enjoying her evening. Cops being curious about this car just sitting there running, decided to check it out. They went to open the door, presumably concerned she was dying or something.
Roxanne being high AF thought she was being carjacked and took the fuck off. Side note, don’t do drugs kids.
Anyway, this hurt the feelings of the cops who then shot her, which failed to slow her down, so then they pursued her. Roxanne in her meth-induced stupor decided to go all Smokey and The Bandit and shit. She then swapped her car which was bashed to shit, with another car she stole. Long story short, it didn’t work out for her.
Torres, having been shot, checked herself into a hospital, who are required to report people who show up with bullet holes in them. So cops came and arrested her dumb ass.
Two years later, she filed a civil-rights complaint arguing the cops had no business shooting her under the 4th amendment which reads:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
She was creatively arguing, (and by she, I mean her lawyer, because you know her dumb ass didn’t think of this shit. She’s a fucking meth-head) that shooting her was an unlawful seizure. That they had no cause at that point to shoot her since they didn’t know she was hopped up on meth, and thus a danger to others, although if they had known, they’d arguably would have been justified, since people on meth shouldn’t drive.
A district court told her to get fucked with this stupid argument, as did the tenth circuit. Citing qualified immunity, no action was taken against these modern day Wyatt Earp’s.
But her argument is that officers shooting at you, is a seizure, because it pretty obviously says you aren’t free to fucking leave. But in California v. Hodari D, SCOTUS ruled that a seizure isn’t achieved until the person is caught. So a failed attempt to seize isn’t a seizure.
Torres lawyers argue however, she was seized when she was shot, then she escaped seizure when she started singing “East bound and down, rollin’ up and truckin’.” Then, she was seized again the next day when they arrested her. So in that first seizure, they believe her 4th amendment rights were violated.
Justice Alito poignantly asked:
Samuel A. Alito, Jr.
If a baseball pitcher intentionally beans the batter, would we say, wow, that pitcher just seized the batter?
His argument being, her use of the word “seizure” seems a little creative at best. That we wouldn’t use seizure in common language in that way at all. She’s clearly trying to fit it in to help her client, but we’d never describe seizure that way otherwise.
Anyway, in a 5:3 decision, where only Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch dissented, John Roberts and company said, “The application of physical force to the body of a person with intent to restrain is a seizure, even if the force does not succeed in subduing the person.”
They added, “So cops, you can fuck right off with that shit. We’re not going to be like, OK, if you try to stop her by grabbing her arm, or Donald Trumping her by the pussy, that’s a seizure, but act like if you shoot her ass to stop her, it’s somehow not. Get the fuck out of here with that noise. You tried to stop her—with your gun—that’s a fucking seizure.”
Gorsuch, Thomas, and Alito basically asked, “Where in the constitution, or even common fucking sense, is shooting someone considered a seizure. We’ll wait.”
Hear oral arguments or read about the case at Oyez, here.