Memphis police to get training on arrests after court ruling - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis police to get training on arrests after court ruling

Memphis police and Shelby County deputies are under fire for detaining suspects for 48 hours in order to gather evidence. Memphis police and Shelby County deputies are under fire for detaining suspects for 48 hours in order to gather evidence.

(WMC-TV) – Memphis police and Shelby County deputies are under fire for detaining suspects for 48 hours in order to gather evidence.

The Tennessee appeals court says the 48 hour hold is unconstitutional and now a convicted murderer will get a new trial.

A murderer convicted in 2008 will get a new trial now that a Tennessee Appeals court concluded Memphis police didn't have enough evidence to hold him for 48 hours before he was charged.

The ruling has caused the City of Memphis to refresh its officers on the rules of probable cause.

A Tennessee appeals court says Memphis police are violating the fourth amendment rights of suspects who are placed on a 48 hour hold before being charged or released.

"This case is one where the court took the opportunity to give us additional guidance and we'll accept that guidance," said Herman Morris, Memphis city attorney.

In fact, Morris says the Tennessee appeals court made an excellent ruling.

"Our view and our position in the posture of the administration is that arrests should be made when there is probable cause," he said.

But in a 2008 murder case, the court found that officers held a suspect while searching for probable cause. It was a violation of the fourth amendment which protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures.

"We are undergoing a thorough review of the practices, policies and processes that are in place when individuals are brought into custody," Morris said.

Morris respects the importance of the 48 hour hold, a crime fighting tool in a city where 95 percent of all homicide cases were solved in 2009.

"We want to protect the citizens, the law abiding citizens of the City of Memphis," he said.

But the courts and the Constitution clearly state police protection cannot come at the expense of the citizens constitutional rights.

And Memphis police officers are about to get that reminder.

"To make sure that the men and women of the police department and law enforcement are getting proper guidance on when they should and when they should not take someone into custody," said Morris. "We plan to get it right; we plan to do it right."

Morris said the ruling could go all the way to the Supreme Court on appeal. But regardless of where the case ends up, the city has already begun the process of reviewing probable cause practices.

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