On May 18, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in City and County of San Francisco v. Sheehan. This case asks two questions. The first is whether law enforcement officers are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act to accommodate a mentally ill suspect who is armed and hostile while they are bringing the suspect into custody. The second question is whether it was clearly established that even where an exception to the warrant requirement applied, an entry into a residence could be unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment by reason of the anticipated resistance of an armed and violent suspect within.
In an opinion delivered by Justice Alito, by a vote of 6-2, the Court dismissed the grant of certiorari on the first question as improvidently granted. On the second question, the Court held that the officers were entitled to qualified immunity from suit because they did not violate any clearly established Fourth Amendment rights. The Chief Justice and Justices Kennedy, Thomas, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor joined Justice Alito's majority opinion. Justice Scalia filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, joined by Justice Kagan. Justice Breyer took no part in the consideration or decision of the case. The judgment of the Ninth Circuit was reversed in part and the case remanded.
To discuss the case, we have Tom Gede, who is a principal in Morgan Lewis Consulting LLC and of counsel to Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.