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Case Study

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Rob Kings


Mr. Bond


Atwater V. The City of Lago Vista

In Texas it's illegal to drive or have any other passengers in the car seatbelt less, mainly children riding in the front seat. Mrs. Atwater was driving in Lago Vista, Texas with her children in the front seat and nobody wearing a seatbelt. A Lago Vista police officer observed the seatbelt violations and pulled her over. After that he verbally berated her, handcuffed her, put her in the squad car, and drove her to the police station, where she was searched extensively. Officers then rook her mug shot and put her in a jail cell for an hour before she was taken to a magistrate and released on bond. She was charged with the seatbelt violations with some other charges as well. She pleaded no contest to the seatbelt misdemeanors and paid a $50 fine. Atwater and her husband filed suit under 42 U.S.C SS 1983 alleging, inter alia, that the actions of respondents had violated her Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable seizure.

They should have never arrested her to begin with, although the whole seatbelt violation law is good it shouldn't be used with excessive force as it was in this case. A fine is very suitable because it's a reminder if you ever get one because you'll surely wear one after the fine. The main reason it happened to begin with is because it was in a small town and the police officer was either bored or wanted the general public to know that he's cracking down on the seatbelt violation law.

There's not much relation to class with this case unfortunately. Mostly it's the Fourth Amendment that we went over from this article but it's more interesting when there proves beyond a reasonable doubt



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