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Mollica v. Volker

ELR Citation: 31 ELR 20167
Nos. No. 99-9287, 229 F.3d 366/(2d Cir., 10/06/2000)

The court holds that a state environmental conservation officer who was sued for allegedly violating the Fourth Amendment after he stopped a hunter at a motor vehicle checkpoint during hunting season to make deer tag and weapon safety checks is entitled to qualified immunity. The court first affirms the lower court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the officer on the basis of qualified immunity. The officer reasonably believed that his act was lawful under preexisting law. The U.S. Supreme Court has never found the brief detention and inquiry incidental to the operation of a motor vehicle checkpoint to be unconstitutional, and there is no case law establishing that what the officer did was unreasonable or unconstitutional. Given the scant evidentiary record, however, the court declines to determine whether the checkpoint was constitutional.

The full text of this opinion is available from ELR (7 pp., ELR Order No. L-282).

Counsel for Plaintiff
Russell A. Schindler
Law Offices of Russell A. Schindler
245 Wall St., Kingston NY 12401
(914) 331-4496

Counsel for Defendant
Alicia R. Ouellette, Ass't Solicitor General
Attorney General's Office
State Capitol, Albany NY 12224
(518) 474-7330