Eamonn O'Hagan

Document Type



Police brutality is one of the most serious and enduring human rights violations in the United States today. One means by which victims may seek redress is under 42 U.S.C. 1983, which provides a civil cause of action against state actors who deprive individuals of their constitutional rights. This Note examines 1983 litigation brought by post-arrest, pretrial detainees alleging the use of excessive force by law enforcement officials. There is currently a circuit split regarding whether such claims must be brought under the Fourth Amendment's proscription of unreasonable seizures of the person or the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee that no State will deprive a citizen of liberty without due process of law. This issue's resolution has significance as to the plaintiffs burden of proof, and thus, his or her likelihood of attaining a favorable verdict. This Note contends that the best approach is a hybrid model that involves a synthesis of both Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment standards because it is both practical and mindful of recent lines of U.S. Supreme Court precedent.