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2005 SCOTUS Ruling: Police Not Constitutionally Bound to Protect Citizens

January 18, 2013
AWR Hawkins
1/11/2013
Source …..

scotusA 2005 Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruling that received little attention when handed down, but which is extremely pertinent to today’s gun debate, found that police officers are not constitutionally bound to protect citizens.

The case originated in Colorado, where Simon Gonzales violated a restraining from his estranged wife in order to kidnap and kill his three children. In between the time of the kidnapping and the murders, the mother of the children, Jessica Gonzales, repeatedly called the police to report the whereabouts of her children.

After her children were killed, she sued on grounds that the police did not react fast enough–and therefore did not protect her children from harm.

After an appeals court reversed a lower court ruling throwing out the case, the SCOTUS ruled that police officers are not, in fact, constitutionally bound to protect.

This is important because so many people are under the delusion that we can all give up our guns, and if anything does go wrong we can just dial 911 and everything will be fine.

No. We are responsible for our own lives, our own families, our own property.

This is no slight against police officers, whom we ought to support 100%. It is just a reminder that in the real world, our defense and the defense of those we love is in our own hands–literally.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Harold permalink*
    January 19, 2013 12:13 pm

    Jim,
    To quote Justice Scalia, “a well-established tradition of police discretion has long coexisted with apparently mandatory arrest statutes.”
    So “mandatory” arrest warrants are “discretionary”? I wonder how many other “mandatory” police actions are “discretionary”.
    The problem, as I see it, is that once you open that door just a little bit, there is a tendency for it to blow completely open!
    Harold

    • January 19, 2013 12:51 pm

      But again, Harold, the actual ruling was very narrow in scope and did not in any way suggest that police are not obliged to protect citizens. That’s my only point, dicta aside.

  2. Harold permalink*
    January 18, 2013 12:59 pm

    Castle Rock v. Gonzales, No. 04-278
    The link to more info is in the above article.

    • January 19, 2013 11:15 am

      First off, I am a conceal carry permit holder and a determined NRA and GOA member. I rely upon ME to protect myself and those I love.

      That said, I checked the ruling cited in this article, and there appears to be some disparity between what the article above is concluding and what the ruling actually addressed.

      My cursory reading of Colorado v Gonzales shows that the ruling was limited to the obligation of Colorado police to enforce restraining orders under Colorado law. At the time–and I hope it has changed since these murders–Colorado law did not oblige police to enforce restraining orders. Thus, in that respect the police were correctly shown not to have been guilty of negligence. Common sense and deceny maybe, but not negligence.

      To clarify, the SCOTUS ruling was limited to the enforcement of restraining orders only , not to whether or not police are duty-bound to respond to citizens’ pleas for protection from bodily harm or 911 calls for help. Even Colorado police are obliged to protect its citizens from such threats.

      If I’ve somehow misread the ruling, please let me know.

  3. January 18, 2013 11:47 am

    What ruling was that?

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