Won Appellate Ruling Setting Precedent that Prohibits Police from Routinely Holding Non-Threatening People at Gun Point During Traffic Stops

Police in the Bay Area have routinely pointed their guns at all occupants in a car for any "high risk" traffic stop where they have reason to believe the car may be stolen. But many times, the car is not stolen, or police rush to judgment to hold innocent people at gun point without justification -- more for their own convenience. On May 12, 2014, in Green v. City and County of San Francisco, Haddad & Sherwin won an important ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstating the claims for one of their clients in just such a situation.

Related Headlines
  • Appellate court reinstates false arrest lawsuit against San Francisco police
    KTVU News KTVU.com May 13, 2014

    SAN FRANCISCO. A federal appeals court has reinstated a lawsuit filed against the San Francisco Police Department and a sergeant by a woman who was held at gunpoint by several officers, forced to her knees and handcuffed after her car was mistakenly identified as stolen in 2009. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously overturned a federal trial judge's dismissal of the lawsuit by Denise Green and ruled that she is entitled to a trial on her case. ... Green, a San Francisco Municipal Railway bus driver, was stopped as she was driving her burgundy Lexus on Mission Street in the late evening after an automatic license plate reader in a police camera car misread her plate as having the number of a stolen gray GMC truck. The stolen truck's plate had one different digit. ... Michael Haddad, a lawyer for Green, said, "It's an important ruling. It reaffirms that the general public has the right not to have police point guns in their faces unless the police are truly facing a credible threat. Police can't simply do it for their convenience. We're looking forward to finally reaching a trial so that we can present this case to a jury." Gabriel Zitrin, a spokesman for City Attorney Dennis Herrera, said, "We're disappointed in the ruling. We'll take this to trial if we have to."

  • Green v. City and County of San Francisco, No. 11-17892, __F.3d__ (9th Cir. 2014)
    May 12, 2014

    This is the official published opinion from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.