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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, January 21, 2010

Taser use on woman was constitutional, court rules

Advertiser Staff

Reversing a lower court's ruling, a federal appeals court said a Maui woman's constitutional rights were not violated when police officers used a Taser on her in 2006 at her home, the Maui News reported.

In an opinion for publication filed Jan. 12, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said that the force used against Jayzel Mattos was "reasonable," viewing the facts in the light most favorable to her and her husband, Troy Mattos.

The appeals court judges "found it wasn't excessive force," said Maui Deputy Corporation Counsel Moana Lutey. "That's important to us, because it's the first decision in our state on this particular level of force. Under similar circumstances, this use of force would not be unconstitutional."

Honolulu attorney Eric Seitz, representing the Mattoses, said he would ask the entire court to review the opinion issued by a three-judge panel of the court.

"In my view, the decision in our case was patently dishonest and lacks integrity," Seitz said.

Police officers went to the couple's home in Wailuku in response to a 911 call reporting a domestic disturbance on Aug. 23, 2006. Troy and Jayzel Mattos were charged with harassment, but the charges were later dismissed.