A panel for the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has overruled a federal district court judge who dismissed a family’s lawsuit against the DEA. The lawsuit comes from a mistaken drug raid (someone apparently wrote down the wrong license plate number) in which DEA agents pointed a gun at the head of an 11-year-old girl while she lay handcuffed on the floor.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Whalen had ruled that DEA agents did not act unreasonably in their mistaken raid and treatment of the girls (the 11-year-old and her 14-year-old sister). But lest you overestimate the significance of the ruling, note that the panel did not rule that the agents acted unreasonably. They merely overturned the lower court’s ruling that the family should be denied the opportunity to have their case heard.
The panel also upheld Whalen’s ruling that there was nothing unreasonable about DEA agents cuffing and pointing guns at the girls’ parents while serving a search warrant for a consensual crime at the wrong house.