Camreta v. Greene: Will The Supreme Court Reach An Important 4th Amendment Issue Concerning Questioning Witnesses?

Camreta v. Greene: Will The Supreme Court Reach An Important 4th Amendment Issue Concerning Questioning Witnesses?

    By Jay Shapiro, Partner Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP

"If the Supreme Court finds its way to one of the critical issues in Camreta v. Greene, 588 F.3d 1011 (9th Cir. Or. 2009) (Free unenhanced version of the opinion available from lexisONE Free Case law), it will have the opportunity to address a very important Fourth Amendment question," writes Jay Shapiro. "Whether law enforcement officers must first obtain a warrant before they question a child concerning allegations of sexual abuse or can they proceed without one if there is proof that the public interest outweighs the impact of the questioning?"

 "Police officers in Oregon arrested Nimrod Greene on February 12, 2003 for the abuse of a seven-year-old boy, F.S. That victim's mother informed the police that Greene's wife had made statements that she was concerned about Nimrod's relationships with their daughters, who were nine and five. The victim's father said Nimrod had acknowledged that his wife had accused him of sexually abusing his daughters," Shapiro explains in setting forth the facts. "Following the arrest, the Oregon Department of Human Services was notified of the allegations. Bob Camreta, a caseworker, found out that Nimrod had been released from jail and was permitted to have unsupervised contact with his daughters. Camreta was assigned to evaluate the children's safety. Within two weeks of the arrest, Camreta and a Deputy Sheriff went to the school that the nine-year-old daughter, S.G., attended to interview her. In its brief to the Court, the state described that the approach was done in this manner to avoid any parental influence. Consequently, the mother, Sarah, was not told of the interview, which was conducted without a warrant or other court order."

"Sarah Greene filed a 1983 action against Camreta and others, including the deputy sheriff and the county, asserting violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments," the author continues. "Greene claimed that S.G.'s Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable seizures was violated when the child was removed to the classroom for the interview, placed in the interview room and questioned." 

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Jay Shapiro is a partner in the New York office of Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP. Jay has more than 20 years experience concentrating his practice in litigation matters. He began his legal career as a prosecutor in the Bronx County District Attorney's Office (1980-1988) and later joined the King's County District Attorney's Office (1990-2002) where he became the Deputy District Attorney in charge of the Rackets Division before going into private practice. Mr. Shapiro has tried more than thirty-five cases in state and federal court. In private practice, he has handled litigation involving insurance fraud, white collar crime and Lanham Act (trademark) violations.

Resources available to lexis.com subscribers relating to Camreta v. Greene:

United States Supreme Court Briefs filed in the appeal of Greene v. Camreta.

Greene v. Camreta, 588 F.3d 1011, 1033 (9th Cir. Or. 2009) (Lexis enhanced version of Ninth Circuit decision with summary, headnotes, and Shepard's).

Greene v. Camreta, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16764 (D. Or. Mar. 23, 2006). (Lexis enhanced version of district court decision with summary, headnotes, and Shepard's).

42 U.S.C.S. § 1983. Civil Action for Deprivation of Rights. (With extensive Lexis annotations and Shepard's).

Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, in 1-2 Police Civil Liability § 2.07 (Matthew Bender).

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