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Professor Michael Mannheimer of Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law is using old words to create a new concept for police in law enforcement.

Professor Mannheimer is the author of The Fourth Amendment: Original Understandings and Modern Policing, published recently by University of Michigan Press. In the book and speaking engagements around the nation, Professor Mannheimer proposes that a reimaging of two amendments to the United States Constitution ‒ the Fourth, which forbids unreasonable search and seizure, and the Fourteenth, which applies the prohibition to state laws ‒ could reduce the number of deadly police encounters with citizens throughout the nation.

Professor Mannheimer will present readings from his book March 27, beginning at 5 p.m., in the Votruba Student Union on the Northern Kentucky University campus. He will also discuss his theory in a question-and-answer session with Chase Professor John Bickers, prior to a reception and book signing.

His reimaging seeks to eliminate a major factor in confrontations between police and citizens ‒ the amount of discretion individual officers can exercise in deciding whether to detain or enforce a law against one person but not another.

“The big problem with excessively broad discretion is under-enforcement – the discretion police have to ignore infractions by the privileged many and enforce the law only against the unlucky few,” Professor Mannheimer says.

“We can solve that by requiring enforcement against everyone. It’s a representation-reinforcing view of the Fourth Amendment: Whatever search-and-seizure rules the majority would impose on the minority, they also have to impose on themselves. What we have today are rules that ostensibly apply to everyone equally but police have so much discretion that we end up with really stark inequalities – racial and otherwise – in policing.”

Professor Mannheimer has been a member of the Chase faculty since 2004, and has taught courses in criminal law, criminal trial procedure, the death penalty, evidence and sentencing.