If The Cops Destroy My Crop While Investigating A Crime (Don't Need Answer Fast)

Let’s say the body of a murder victim was found in my cornfield. Between investigators moving to and fro w/r/t the crime scene, the search for a murder weapon, and whatever else, X percent of my crop is destroyed.

Assuming I’m in no way responsible for the crime, am I just SOL as far as the damage to my crop?

Don’t need answer fast.

Pretty much. You can file a claim for damages with the responsible authority, but they will likely ignore it. You can sue, but that has proved problematic as well.

I assume you could sue whoever put the body there. But such persons don’t often have the assets to pay even if you win.

IANAL, but my understanding is if law enforcement is following written procedures to the letter, then they are not liable for any damages they cause investigating a crime … the community at large wants the murderer caught and are willing to endure personal damages to see this is done …

I was just reading about a case where one officer went way outside the procedures, the lower court dismissed based on sovereign immunity but the appeals court reversed … the officer could be tried although the local DA elected not to …

Care to provide a link? I have googled “…” to search for it, but no luck.

IDAHO v. Lon T. HORIUCHI – United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit – Decided: June 05, 2001

In the OP’s case, we have police acting in good faith … thus they would be immune to civil lawsuit for the damage they caused …

Many localities have Crime Victims Funds, which can reimburse victims for damages from a crime & its aftermath. Since you were the victim of a crime (not the murder, but the illegal disposing of a body on your property, and trespassing to get there), and the damage to your property resulted from that crime, you could apply to the fund to get reimbursement for your damages. They might pay something for this.

Otherwise, you should be able to deduct this loss from your taxes.

That appears to be the Ruby Ridge case.

(a) Why not identify it as such, rather than your cryptic approach?

(b) What’s the relevance of Ruby Ridge to the OP?

Sounds similar to when a cop responding to a call crashes their patrol car into yours. Whether just parked on the street or if they overcook a turn and slam into you. You better hope your insurance covers it because the police won’t.

(a) It’s irrelevant to the factual answer to the OP’s question

(b) Whereas the jurisprudence is:

© Why have you brought up Ruby Ridge into this discussion?

(d) What do you think the factual answer is to the general question presented?

Not the case here - patrol cars are insured like any other and they will pay out to any injured party. Also, if a scumbag driving a stolen car being chased by cops hits you, you can claim from the car owners policy, even though he may have been totally unaware of what was happening. If said SB was driving an uninsured car, there is a fund that you can claim from.

The only time this doesn’t work is if you can’t identify the SB. ie - he got away. In which case you have to claim from your own insurance.

Not always the case, they can still invoke sovereign immunity, at least in Ohio and Virginia:

Florida limits claims to $200,000 which would cover all but the most expensive cars, but it’s woefully inadequate for severe injury or death.


I can’t make any sense of this. I have no axe to grind, I’m just trying to understand what you’re talking about.

You brought Ruby Ridge into the discussion, but you did so cryptically: it’s a famous case that most people will be somewhat familiar with, why not identify what you’re talking about from the outset?

The general concept of sovereign immunity arises, is that the point? But otherwise - please explain why is it relevant to the OP, which concerns economic damage?

You disputed my claim that under rare circumstances Law Enforcement can be held economically responsible for damage they cause … implying that you believe Law Enforcement can never held responsible …

You asked for a citation, as is your right here in this forum, I provided one folks would be familiar with …

But here’s another citation: “Fact Sheet: Civil Lawsuits Lead to Better Safer Law Enforcement” – Center for Justice Democracy (at New York Law School) – June 20th, 2017 … perhaps these examples are less controversial than private citizens possessing sawed-off shotguns …

No, I didn’t.

No, I didn’t.

All I did was ask you to explain what you are talking about. Can you answer the straightforward question that I’ve asked. You brought up the Ruby Ridge case. What is the relevance of the Ruby Ridge case to the OP, please?

Moderator Note

It’s clear that you were the one who brought Ruby Ridge into this discussion, based on the case you linked to. Being disingenuous about it does not serve the discussion, nor does dodging the questions asked (which it appears to me what you are doing).

If you are going to participate in the discussion, be clearer about the points you are trying to make, and stick to the questions in the OP.

General Questions Moderator

I’m still confused.
Sovereign immunity holds in attributing blame/guilt/liability to the individual officers. This is logical. The individual officers should not be worried about losing their house and life savings unless the deliberately go far outside the parameters of their job.
The same can be said about the state.
But if the state were immune from lawsuits, it would not insure its vehicles or worry about misbehaviour of its officers.

There rule of thumb I read about is that if the police find evidence, if their presence there is valid, then there is no recourse for damages. Any reasonable damage is in the course of doing their job. If they were, for exapple, to kick in your door, overturn the house and tear all the plasterboard off the walls - and find nothing - then they would be on the hook for damages. Maybe someone in Law Enforcement can corroborate whether this is the case…

I assume the same would apply to a field - if what the police, coroner, etc. did was normal then there should be no recourse. it’s not the state’s fault that someone dumped a body on your land. If they spent too much time driving around all over the field with no effort to minimize damages and excessively wrecking things - well, that’s for a judge or jury to decide if you sue… including the situation whether they over-did their actions so much they went beyond immunity.

Since I don’t know the issues - from what I see, Ruby Ridge settlements have zero to do with property damage, and more to do with punitive damages for excessive (unlawful?) use of force by the government.

I think most farmers carry crop insurance, so the damage may be covered by that.

I’m not sure crop insurance covers destruction by law enforcement.
From the Proag website:

Yeah but crop insurance is more for severe damage from drought, blight, floods, etc. Just a couple minutes Googling suggests the typical deductible is 25% of the lost profit, so unless the cops destroy more than 25% of the field (probably just for a specific crop if there’s more than one on a farm, but I’m not sure) then filing a claim would be pointless.