Four people - two in Florida and two in Israel - have been arrested for their involvement in a complex securities fraud scheme that authorities have tied to the massive computer hacks at JPMorgan Chase and several other financial institutions, according to

David Sweat, one of two convicted killers who escaped from an upstate New York prison in June, was shot twice while fleeing police before he was recaptured just a few miles from the Canadian border.

Sweat and fellow inmate Richard Matt escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York on June 6, 2015. Matt was killed on June 26 in Franklin County, New York, after he shot at the driver of a recreational vehicle. Two days later, Sweat was seen jogging along a rural road by a state police sergeant. A chase ensued, and the police officer shot at Sweat as he fled, hitting him twice.

Following this police shooting and the one in North Charleston, SC of another fleeing suspect, you may wonder if it is lawful for a police officer to discharge his or her weapon at a criminal suspect who is running away. Contrary to popular belief, the answer is yes — under certain conditions.

Up until 1985, police had broader authority to fire at a fleeing felon. Known as the fleeing felon doctrine, anyone suspected of committing a felony and being pursued by police could be shot trying to escape. However, that changed when the U.S. Supreme Court decided in a 1985 case — Tennessee v. Garner — that the fleeing felon doctrine violated the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable search and seizure.

Today, most jurisdictions forbid officers from firing at anyone attempting to escape custody unless that person poses a substantial risk to the officer or the public at large.

In this case, under New York state law, an officer can use deadly force in the apprehension of someone convicted of a felony involving the use or threat of the use of physical force against an individual. Sweat was serving a life term for shooting a sheriff’s deputy several times and running him over with a car. Deadly force is also permitted when a suspect has committed one of several felonies, including escape in the first degree — which Sweat committed when he escaped from prison.

The Cogdell Law Firm is a full service criminal litigation and appellate law firm with a focus on federal fraud defense, Medicare fraud defense, bank fraud defense, and white collar criminal defense. We provide client-focused representation at all stages of the process, whether our clients are seeking to avoid charges, have been charged, or are seeking reversal of a conviction on appeal. When results matter most, contact Dan Cogdell at (713) 426-2244 or