04/30/2007

Supreme Court sides with police in chase case

By Robert Barnes, Staff Writer
The Washington Post

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Supreme Court today handed an important victory to police officers who are involved in high-speed chases, and took the unusual step of posting a videotape of the chase on its Web site to show that the now-paralyzed civilian driver was to blame.

The court ruled 8-1 that Georgia deputy sheriff Timothy Scott could not be sued for the accident that left then 19-year-old Victor Harris a quadriplegic. The high-speed chase down dark highways in 2001 -- which ended when Scott rammed Harris' Cadillac from behind and sent him down an embankment -- was captured on videotape by a camera in one of the pursuing police vehicles.

It provided dramatic evidence for the justices, who normally decide issues of law and leave fact-finding for juries and lower courts.

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