The Supreme Court agreed yesterday to tackle a controversy involving charges of police brutality--whether Los Angeles police can use choke holds to render suspects unconscious.
The justices will hear arguments next fall on a federal court order that would ban the city's 6,500 officers from using the controversial technique except in life-threatening situations.
The choke holds involve police grasping a suspect around the neck and cutting off either the flow of air to the lungs or blood to the brain, causing unconsciousness.
In the seven years such techniques have been used by Los Angeles police, 14 people have died after the holds were used or attempted. However, the city disputes whether the holds actually caused the deaths.
In other actions yesterday, the court:
* Asked the Reagan administration for its views on racial quotas used to preserve integration in two Chicago high schools by curbing "white flight." The justices asked the solicitor general to address arguments by black parents that the quotas "place the entire burden of integration on blacks and none on whites."
* Declined to hear arguments on a California case involving a trial judge's barring of the press and public from jury selection for a trial in which the death penalty was a possible punishment.
* Rejected arguments by Elizabeth Eagleton Weigand, niece of Sen. Thomas F. Eagleton (D-Mo.), that she was denied a fair trial on her conviction of taking part in an extortion plot.
* Refused to hear appeals from 10 death-row inmates in six states, including a challenge by two Georgia inmates of a state court procedure designed to keep death-row inmates from dragging out court battles over their convictions.
* Left intact a Rapides Parish, La., school desegregation plan that led to a highly publicized showdown in 1980 when state Judge Richard Lee began helping three white students who did not want to attend a predominantly black school under a desegregation order from federal Judge Nauman Scott.
* Rejected Detroit's challenge to the results of the 1980 national census.
* Decided to stay out of a copyright dispute involving the production of five bicentennial films about the history of the high court. The justices rejected an appeal by a publisher who had claimed the government has no constitutional authority to copyright materials prepared at taxpayer expense.
* Refused to take up a handicapped rights case about whether a police department must hire an otherwise qualified paraplegic as an officer. The justices left intact, however, a ruling ordering a new trial in the case.
* Agreed to review a ruling that called for a special election to fill a vacancy on Georgia's highest court. Gov. George Busbee had appointed Hardy Gregory Jr. to the seat, and state officials are challenging a federal appeals court ruling that voters had a constitutional right to fill the vacancy at the polls.
* In a departure from tradition, the court also agreed to let a deaf lawyer use an elaborate computer and video-display system during oral arguments this spring. Attorney Michael Chatoff will use the system to argue the case of 10-year-old Amy Rowley, a deaf girl who convinced lower courts that her New York school district must provide her with a sign-language interpreter under the 1975 federal Education for All Handicapped Act.