Why Police Should Protect Complainant Autonomy

Posted: 30 Aug 2018 Last revised: 15 Apr 2019

Date Written: August 28, 2018


This Essay is one in a series of papers that sets the record straight about the type, quality and quantity of information that U.S. administrative agencies may employ to make more informed policy decisions. The Essay does its work in, at least, three ways. First, it encourages better use of scarce public sector resources by calling for reform of the police complaint intake process. Next, this Essay identifies the causes of police complaint inefficiencies by critically-assessing how intake is done by the Chicago Police Department (CPD). Lastly, it provides guidance about how to achieve CPD intake reform by better protecting complainant autonomy. Complainant autonomy, at least in this Essay, is defined as a real party in interest’s (i.e. an injured citizen’s) right to control how its allegations are framed by a nominal plaintiff (i.e. the CPD) against a defendant (i.e. an officer) under the process that is used to resolve administrative complaints (i.e. police complaints).

Keywords: Local Government Law, Civil Procedure, Law & Economics, Administrative Law

Suggested Citation

Johnson, Randall K., Why Police Should Protect Complainant Autonomy (August 28, 2018). 103 Minn. L. Rev. Headnotes 114 (2019), Forthcoming; Mississippi College School of Law Research Paper No. 2018-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3240095

Randall K. Johnson (Contact Author)

Mississippi College - School of Law ( email )

151 East Griffith Street
Jackson, MS 39201
United States

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