DANARAE CONLOGUE, as personal representative of the Estate of LEWIS N. CONLOGUE, Plaintiff, Appellant,
SCOTT HAMILTON, Defendant, Appellee.
FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF
MAINE [Hon. George Z. Singal, U.S. District Judge]
J. Tzovarras for appellant.
Jonathan R. Bolton, Assistant Attorney General, with whom
Janet T. Mills, Attorney General, and Cathy Roberts,
Assistant Attorney General, were on brief, for appellee.
Thompson, Selya, and Lipez, Circuit Judges.
tragic case involves the fatal shooting of an armed civilian
by a state trooper following a prolonged standoff. The appeal
turns on an application of the doctrine of qualified immunity
- a doctrine that protects public officials (including police
officers) from civil liability while acting under color of
state law, save only for officials who act incompetently or
in disregard of clearly established legal principles. See
Malley v. Briggs, 475 U.S. 335, 341 (1986). The court
below painstakingly catalogued the relevant facts, determined
in a thoughtful rescript that the defendant was entitled to
qualified immunity, and entered summary judgment accordingly.
See Conlogue v. Hamilton, No. 1:16-cv-296, 2017 WL
5339895, at *2-8 (D. Me. Nov. 13, 2017). After careful
consideration, we affirm.
reviewing the entry of summary judgment, our task demands
that we view the facts in the light most favorable to the
non-movant (here, the plaintiff). See Savard v. Rhode
Island, 338 F.3d 23, 26 (1st Cir. 2003) (en banc). Here,
however, the raw facts are largely undisputed. We set them
forth below, urging the reader who hungers for more exegetic
detail to consult the district court's rescript.
case has its genesis in a set of facts that played out on
August 3, 2014, in front of a deserted restaurant in the
bucolic town of LaGrange, Maine. At 3:41 p.m., DanaRae
Conlogue called 911 to report that her husband, Lewis N.
Conlogue, was threatening suicide. She related that he had
gotten out of their parked vehicle, put a gun to his head,
and warned her to avert her eyes. Officers from the Penobscot
County Sheriff's Office and the Maine State Police
responded quickly to the scene. They took Mrs. Conlogue to a
place of safety, established a command post, secured the
perimeter, and assigned officers to strategically located
Fiske, a Maine state trooper, arrived at around 4:17 p.m. and
positioned himself with two other troopers on the lawn of a
residence across the street from the restaurant (some 200
feet away). Defendant-appellee Scott Hamilton, a sergeant and
a member of the state police's tactical team, arrived
shortly thereafter. Hamilton had been specially trained in
the use of deadly force in high-risk situations. From his
vantage point, he could not see the other troopers but
learned of their position from communications broadcast over
a police-operated radio.  Hamilton also learned that Conlogue was
brandishing a semiautomatic handgun - a fact that helped
Hamilton to calibrate the level of threat posed.
first hour and twenty minutes, Conlogue remained mostly
stationary, sitting on a rock with his gun pointed at his
head. At approximately 5:02 p.m., Fiske reported that
Conlogue had stood up and begun pacing around lethargically.
In response to this report, Hamilton changed his position so
that he could more clearly observe Conlogue through the
magnifying scope attached to his rifle. Fiske then reported
over the radio that Conlogue appeared to be assessing the
scene: he was looking 360 degrees around his position and
(according to Fiske) seemed to be gaining strength and
momentum. At this juncture, another officer - William Sheehan
of the Sheriff's Office - initiated direct communication
Sheehan, using a loudspeaker, repeatedly asked Conlogue to
put down his weapon, assuring him that the officers were
worried about him and were there to help. When Conlogue
responded by yelling obscenities, the officers knew that
Conlogue could hear Sheehan's words. Even so, Sergeant
Sheehan's warnings seemed only to escalate the tension.
Conlogue went to his car, retrieved a knife, placed it in his
back pocket, moved back toward the troopers, shaped his
fingers like a gun, and pointed the simulated gun at Fiske
and the other troopers.
Conlogue approached the road that separated him from the
troopers. He paused to draw a line in the dirt, and Sheehan
assured him that no officers would cross that line.Conlogue
then moved closer to the troopers and drew another line.
Fiske became concerned for his own safety - a fear that he
communicated to the other officers over the radio.
continued warnings to put down his weapon and cooperate with
the police, Conlogue refused to comply. He displayed a fully
loaded magazine, placed the magazine into his gun, and
pointed it at a forty-five degree angle over the heads of
Fiske and the two other troopers. This action elicited a
spate of warnings from Sheehan. Undeterred, Conlogue
alternated between pointing the gun at his own head and
pointing it in the direction of the troopers (at an angle of
roughly forty-five degrees).
Conlogue flexed his wrist and extended the gun in front of
his body, Fiske immediately related over the radio that the
gun was "[a]bout forty-five degrees . . . over our
heads" and added that "I'm not
comfortable." To Hamilton, Fiske's tone conveyed
fear.  Sheehan spoke forcefully to Conlogue,
demanding that "[y]ou need to put the gun down. You need
to put the gun down right now!" Hamilton neither saw nor
heard anything indicating that Conlogue was of a mind ...