Qualified Immunity

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We have a few threads in the We The People forum that discuss court cases involving qualified immunity, but no thread discussing it as a political topic. It gives LEOs carte blanche to abuse people. It needs to be severely dialed back / curtailed IMO.

...
After the DPD notified her that her son was dead, the cops supplied several different stories. The police told her, Vicki said, that he'd had a heart attack at a bar, or that he collapsed by his vehicle, or that he fell unresponsive in an ambulance. None of those conflicting accounts could be reconciled, nor could any of them adequately explain why Timpa would have grass in his nose and bruises on his arms, which were apparent on her son's body when she went to the morgue.

Vicki then filed suit against the police. But the department refused to give her the body camera footage, threatening her ability to effectively outline what happened and meet the minimum standard required to file such a suit. The government then moved to have her complaint dismissed for not being specific enough, despite that it was the government that was withholding the specifics.

"The idea about this plausible pleading standard is to give defendants notice of what is being alleged against them," Joanna Schwartz, a law professor at UCLA and author of Shielded: How the Police Became Untouchable, told me earlier this year. "Well, the Dallas Police Department had all the notice in the world about what their officers had done, and yet used this tool to try to get the case dismissed."

It took three years before Vicki Timpa would be able to see how her son died. In August 2019, a court ordered the DPD to release the footage, clearing the way for Vicki to state in her suit what the officers knew all along.

In a practical sense, that was just the beginning. In July 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas gave the police qualified immunity, the legal doctrine that dooms suits against state and local government actors if the misconduct alleged was not "clearly established" in a prior court ruling. Timpa's family invoked Gutierrez v. City of San Antonio, a 1998 case in the same federal circuit in which police officers were denied qualified immunity after a man died while they similarly restrained him facedown. The man in that case was hog-tied—whereas Timpa was handcuffed with his feet zip-tied—which Judge David Godbey said was enough of a departure to render it ineffective at putting the Dallas officers on notice.

That thin distinction exemplifies how difficult it can be to overcome qualified immunity, with many courts demanding that victims find a pre-existing precedent that essentially mirrors their allegations. Such a ruling often doesn't exist. But in a surprise decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit overturned Godbey's ruling in December 2021, denying the officers qualified immunity and paving the way for Vicki to move forward.

"Within the Fifth Circuit, the law has long been clearly established that an officer's continued use of force on a restrained and subdued subject is objectively unreasonable," wrote Judge Edith Brown Clement. She also invoked the DPD's specific guidance on the prone restraint, which the officers appeared to ignore. Police can still receive qualified immunity even if they violate their own training, however, which puzzlingly assumes that officers are more likely to read decades of case law than they are their own department policy.
...

 
I started this thread to dicuss the issue of qualified immunity as a policy issue and not as a discussion of a particular court case.
 
The reason I asked is that I didn't want to post something that would take the thread in a direction you didn't want it to go.
__________________________________________________________

Qualified immunity is wrong. It's a judicial doctrine that protects public officials from liability even when they break the law. There really isn't any legal basis for it and it denies justice to victims who have been harmed by government officials. It keeps government officials from having to be accountable for their actions, especially those in law enforcement.

Qualified immunity was created by the Supreme Court to shield government workers for wrong doings even when they break the law. It's usually used for cops, but it covers just about all government agents. It allows bad actors to operate with impunity as regards to people's rights and civil liberties.

Here's some interesting reading. It's a case where a cop was shooting at a dog, shot a kid instead and didn't face any consequences because of qualified immunity. The kid and his family got no legal remedy (justice) at all.


Because of cases like the one above and a ton of others the Supreme Court has been asked to reconsider it's doctrine but has declined.


The only way for things to change will have to come from the legislatures.
 
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The Supreme Court created qualified immunity. Why is it so tough for Congress to get rid of it?​

MAY 25, 2021 3 AM PT

WASHINGTON —
Members of Congress promised that this time they’d successfully reform policing, amid the national furor over George Floyd’s 2020 murder and the conviction of the officer responsible for his death.

President Biden urged them to bring a plan to his desk by the one-year anniversary. That deadline was Tuesday, and members haven’t reached a deal.

A major sticking point is qualified immunity, or more specifically, whether officers can be sued for violating people’s civil rights. Although this immunity was created by the courts, Congress can pass a law revoking or modifying it.

The trouble has long been agreeing on how.

 

Man Can Sue Clueless Cop Who Arrested Him While Sober​

Oct 27, 2023


11:25

She admitted she had no idea what she was doing.
 
If a driver looks away while passing a police car, cops learn from a checklist promoted at an October 2021 conference in Atlantic City, that is suspicious. But if a driver stares at the police car, that is also suspicious. Hats work both ways too: Wearing one "low to cover [your] face" is suspicious, but so is removing a hat when you are stopped by the police. Other telltale signs of criminal activity, according to Street Cop Training's list of "reasonable suspicion factors," include texting, smoking, lip licking, yawning, stretching, talking to a passenger while keeping your eyes on the road, signaling a turn early or late, maintaining "awkward closeness" or "awkward distance" during a stop, standing parallel or perpendicular to the car, saying you are heading to work or heading home, questioning the reason for the stop, and refusing permission for a search.

That Street Cop Training checklist, which offers handy excuses for officers keen to conduct searches for drugs or seizable cash, figures prominently in a recent report from Kevin Walsh, New Jersey's acting comptroller. The report criticizes the New Jersey company for encouraging officers to make or extend stops without reasonable suspicion and for promoting a "warrior" mentality that fosters the excessive use of force. "We found so many examples of so many instructors promoting views and tactics that were wildly inappropriate, offensive, discriminatory, harassing, and, in some cases, likely illegal," Walsh said when he released the report this week. "The fact that the training undermined nearly a decade of police reforms—and New Jersey dollars paid for it—is outrageous."
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LEOs have no disincentives to abusing people's rights other than whatever shreds of conscience they possess. Until the pendulum on qualified immunity is reigned in, this is what we the people are tacitly approving.
 
Related..............

USA Today

Supreme Court sides with 83-year-old woman forced to her knees during traffic stop​

WASHINGTON – Elise Brown was a little over 5 feet tall and weighed all of 117 pounds when she was ordered out of her blue Oldsmobile by police in California in 2019.

She was also 83 years old.

The officers who pulled Brown over thought the car she was driving had been stolen – mistakenly, it turns out – and, following their protocol, they drew their handguns, handcuffed Brown and forced her to her knees.

A federal appeals court this year ruled that Brown could sue the police for excessive force, waiving a legal doctrine known as qualified immunity that protects police from liability for civil rights violations in many circumstances.

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This seems to happen far too often - drivers of rental cars, that somehow come up stolen; or cases of mistaken identity like this.

Really, we've come to the complete end of common sense, when we can put Derek Chauvin away for doing his JOB, as shown; while - not in this case but in others - giving immunity to badge-heavy rookie cops playing Starsky & Hutch with Grandma.

There should be consequences. Not personally - I think individual immunity while acting as an agent of a government office, is proper - but make THE DEPARTMENT liable.

So, the COP doesn't go to jail after stopping a reported-stolen car that's not. The AGENCY has to pay mucho dinero.

And SUPERVISION has ITS jobs on the line. So...there will be second thoughts, not by a cop making an arrest, but by persons inputting data into what computers there are, before dispatch reports such a car stolen.
 
A bill filed in the Missouri House would create a process to sue police officers in state court for the deprivation of individual rights without the possibility of “qualified immunity” as a defense.

Rep. LaKeySha Bosley prefiled House Bill 1602 (HB1602) for introduction in 2024. The legislation would create a cause of action in state courts to sue a police officer who “under color of law, deprives any individual of his or her constitutional rights.”

The bill specifically prohibits “qualified immunity” as a defense.
...
Similar laws have been passed in Colorado and New Mexico, and California closed some of the qualified immunity loopholes in its state law.

It remains unclear how the state legal process would play out in practice.
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Related:

South Bend SWAT Destruction​

Amy Hadley watched in horror as her home was raided by police and destroyed in South Bend, Indiana, in June 2022. Over a year later, her family is still traumatized and their home still bears the scars of the raid. And all of this happened because police were searching for a man who was never in their home and who had no connection to Amy’s family.

Noah Hadley, just 15 at the time, was the only one there when police surrounded his home and started calling for occupants to come out. He followed their instructions and told them he was the only one in the house. Officers cuffed Noah and took him away without letting him call his mom.

Amy arrived on the scene shortly after the officers took her son away. A neighbor had called her, telling her about the commotion at her home. None of the officers believed Amy when she tried to explain that the officers had the wrong house. She watched from down the street as a SWAT team and other officers shattered windows with tear gas grenades, flooded the house with toxic fumes, upended furniture, tore down fixtures, punched holes in the walls, destroyed family photos and drawings, and rifled through the family’s belongings.

More:


 
but no thread discussing it as a political topic.

This is as political as it can get:

Trump vows to indemnify the police. Experts say that’s already reality in most departments.​

Donald Trump has recently promised to give police officers blanket protections from lawsuits he claims could upend their livelihoods, a vow some experts and civil rights advocates said is misleading because most officers are already shielded from financial liability.

As he seeks a return to the White House, the former Republican president has repeatedly said that he would expand financial protections for officers when it comes to litigation they could face as a result of their conduct on the job.

“I’m also going to indemnify all police officers and law enforcement officials throughout the United States from being destroyed by the radical left for taking strong action on crime,” Trump said Tuesday at a campaign event in Waterloo, Iowa. “These are people, they want to destroy them because they want to put criminals away.”

“They’re the greatest people, the police,” Trump added. “They’re under threat of losing their pension, their house and their family and losing everything.”

More here:

 
Colorado already removed that indemnity. Other states and jurisdictions have been entertaining/threatening.

This is a non-starter. What the police DO, is because of their authority granted by government. Criminals don't respect cops because of bright brass buttons and shined shoes. There is the Or-Else aspect; and what a cop has to do to put a violent perp in jail, would cause a civilian to himself go to jail

What removal of immunity does, is make every cop think, double-think, triple-think every move. Sound good? How about when it's your kid being held hostage by some perp with a gun?

There are review boards and even laws. There are of course limits on immunity - a badge is not a license to kill at will. But this is just Defund-The-Police on steroids.

Trump is heading that movement off at the pass...although, in fairness, I should say that it is not, and should not be, a Federal issue.
 
A bill filed in the New Hampshire House would create a process to sue police officers in state court for using excessive force or taking other actions that violate individual rights without the possibility of “qualified immunity” as a defense.

A group of representatives led by Rep. J.R. Hoell prefiled House Bill 1640 (HB1640) on Dec. 15. The legislation would create a cause of action in state courts to sue an agent of the state of New Hampshire, or any of its political subdivisions, including police officers, for a violation of a right under the laws or constitution of New Hampshire or the United States Constitution.

HB1640 explicitly excludes a qualified immunity defense.
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ALBANY, N.Y. (Jan. 9, 2024) – Bills introduced in the New York Assembly and Senate would create a process to sue police officers and government officials in state court for the deprivation of individual rights without the possibility of “qualified immunity” as a defense.

Asm. Latrice Walker and Asm. Khaleel Anderson introduced Assembly Bill 2632 (A2632). The legislation would create a cause of action in state courts to sue a police officer who “under color of law, subjects or causes to be subjected, including failing to intervene, any other person to the deprivation of any individual rights that create binding obligations on government actors secured by the bill of rights, article one of the state constitution.”

The bill specifically prohibits “qualified immunity” as a defense.

More:

 
Related:

Los Angeles Business Owner Wins First Round in Case Seeking Compensation After SWAT Team Destroyed Business​


LOS ANGELES—On Friday, the owner of a Los Angeles print shop, whose business was destroyed by a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) SWAT team in 2022, won the first round of his lawsuit seeking compensation for the destruction. Judge John F. Walter of the United States District Court for the Central District of California denied the city of Los Angeles’ motion for judgment on the pleadings. This means the lawsuit filed by Carlos Pena and the Institute for Justice (IJ) against the city can move forward.

“Carlos deserves the opportunity to have his case heard on the merits, and we’re glad Judge Walter feels the same way,” said IJ Attorney Jeffrey Redfern. “This is a major first step toward ensuring Carlos is compensated for the tens of thousands of dollars in damage the SWAT team did to his shop. If the government destroys innocent people’s property, it must pay for that damage.”

More:

 
A bill introduced in the New Jersey Assembly would create a process to sue police officers in state court for using excessive force or taking other actions that violate individual rights without the possibility of “qualified immunity” as a defense.

Rep. Verlina Reynolds-Jackson and Rep. Benjie Wimberly introduced Assembly Bill 850 (A850) on Jan. 9. The legislation would amend existing law that creates a cause of action in state courts to sue police officers who deprive a person of “substantive due process or equal protection rights, privileges or immunities secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or any substantive rights, privileges or immunities secured by the Constitution or laws of this State.”

The new language would stipulate that qualified immunity is not a defense in these cases. In effect, it would prohibit public employees and employers from invoking a defense that the “plaintiff’s rights, privileges, or immunities were not clearly established at the time of their deprivation in causes of action for unjustified use of force or violations of the New Jersey Civil Rights Act.”

A850 would also remove sovereign immunity as a defense for the state itself. It reads, “the State is not entitled to sovereign immunity for itself or any public entity within the State for claims brought pursuant to the New Jersey Civil Rights Act.”
...

 
The legal doctrine of qualified immunity is closely associated with police misconduct in many Americans’ minds. Yet the doctrine shields government officials of all stripes—and accused of all different kinds of constitutional violations—from civil rights lawsuits. The Institute for Justice (IJ), which litigates qualified immunity cases nationwide, today released a new study, Unaccountable, that analyzes thousands of federal appeals court decisions.

Unaccountable demonstrates how qualified immunity shields a wide range of government abuses, arbitrarily thwarts civil rights, and fails to fulfill its promises. The IJ study analyzed the largest-ever collection of qualified immunity cases—more than 5,500 federal appeals spanning 11 years. The results show that fewer than one-quarter of appeals concerned police officers accused of excessive force.

“Debates about qualified immunity often treat it as if it’s a rule about the police,” said Institute for Justice Deputy Litigation Director Bob McNamara, who co-authored the study. “But this study shows that qualified immunity is a rule about the entire Constitution—and one that prevents citizens from holding all sorts of government officials accountable for their actions.”

Most prior research into qualified immunity looks at how it applies to police officers, especially those accused of excessive force. But Unaccountable finds that a wide array of government officials claimed qualified immunity, including social workers, university deans, and mayors. And the allegations they faced were similarly diverse.

One of the most common allegations made in qualified immunity appeals is a violation of First Amendment rights. Such allegations appeared in nearly 1 in 5 appeals. In most of those appeals, government officials were accused of premediated retaliation against employees or private citizens for protected speech or other activity they didn’t like.

The case of IJ client Sylvia Gonzalez is emblematic. Sylvia was elected as the first Hispanic councilwoman in her Texas town, running on a platform calling for the firing of the mayor’s hand-picked city manager. After Sylvia took office and continued her efforts to fire the city manager, the mayor retaliated against her by having her arrested on bogus criminal charges. The district attorney quickly dropped the charges, and Sylvia sued over the violation of her First Amendment rights. A district court denied qualified immunity, but the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned on a separate procedural issue. Sylvia’s case will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this spring, almost five years after her arrest.

Sylvia’s case highlights a second problem brought to light in Unaccountable: qualified immunity appeals often take years. The median duration of a qualified immunity lawsuit is three years and two months, 23% longer than a typical civil suit up on federal appeal. This burdens victims of government abuse and the courts. Unaccountable found 2,000 extra appeals before the federal courts that wouldn’t have existed without the special appeals rights qualified immunity gives to government defendants.

Qualified immunity disadvantages victims of government abuse in other ways. All of these issues lead to government defendants winning more than they lose. The circuit courts granted qualified immunity in 54% of appeals and denied it in just 26%. (In the remaining opinions, the courts handed down mixed opinions or did not rule on qualified immunity at all.) Those national figures mask wide variation across the circuits: While the 4th and 6th Circuits denied qualified immunity in 41% of cases, the 5th Circuit denied qualified immunity only 16% of the time.

This study adds evidence to prior research showing that qualified immunity fails to accomplish its proponents’ goals. Among other problems, it is far too complicated and confusing to give government officials fair notice of what rules to follow. And the doctrine appears to do little to thwart burdensome lawsuits, as Unaccountable found that qualified immunity appeals often take years and occur deep into litigation.

Unaccountable is part of IJ’s Project on Immunity and Accountability, which is dedicated to the principle that government officials are not above the law. The project seeks to ensure that if citizens must follow the law, then government officials must follow the Constitution. It is also one of the latest examples of IJ’s longstanding practice of representing victims of government retaliation.


The study:

 
Related:

South Bend SWAT Destruction​

Amy Hadley watched in horror as her home was raided by police and destroyed in South Bend, Indiana, in June 2022. Over a year later, her family is still traumatized and their home still bears the scars of the raid. And all of this happened because police were searching for a man who was never in their home and who had no connection to Amy’s family.

Noah Hadley, just 15 at the time, was the only one there when police surrounded his home and started calling for occupants to come out. He followed their instructions and told them he was the only one in the house. Officers cuffed Noah and took him away without letting him call his mom.

Amy arrived on the scene shortly after the officers took her son away. A neighbor had called her, telling her about the commotion at her home. None of the officers believed Amy when she tried to explain that the officers had the wrong house. She watched from down the street as a SWAT team and other officers shattered windows with tear gas grenades, flooded the house with toxic fumes, upended furniture, tore down fixtures, punched holes in the walls, destroyed family photos and drawings, and rifled through the family’s belongings.

More:





Same as above but a different state.

Fifth Circuit Declines to Rehear Innocent Woman’s Case Seeking Compensation After SWAT Team Destroyed House; Woman Will Petition Supreme Court​


NEW ORLEANS—On Wednesday, the full 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to rehear the case of an innocent woman who is seeking compensation after a SWAT team destroyed her McKinney, Texas home while pursuing a fugitive in 2020. Vicki Baker, represented by the Institute for Justice (IJ), will now file a petition with the United States Supreme Court, asking the justices to hear her case.

“The decision not to rehear Vicki’s case is certainly disappointing, but the fact that some judges dissented provides a platform to continue fighting for her constitutional rights,” said IJ Attorney Jeff Redfern. “The Fifth Amendment requires the government to provide just compensation when it destroys private property for a public purpose, as the SWAT team did when it destroyed Vicki’s home to get a fugitive off the streets.”

In Wednesday’s decision, 11 judges denied Vicki’s attempt to have her case reheard, while 6 judges voted in favor of rehearing her case.

“There is no doubt the McKinney community was better off because its officers ravaged Baker’s home. But it is at least peculiar to say that because the officers’ conduct benefited the community, the community can avoid compensating Baker for the inconveniences she incurred on its behalf,” wrote the dissenting judges. “Thus, it should have been the City’s burden to establish its conduct was excepted from the strictures of the just compensation requirement.”

More:

 

Woman wins $3.8 million after SWAT team storms wrong home based on Find My iPhone app​

A 78-year-old woman who sued two police officers after her home was wrongly searched by a SWAT team looking for a stolen truck has won $3.76 million.

A jury in state court in Denver ruled in favor of Ruby Johnson and the verdict was announced on Monday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, which helped represent her in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleged that police got a search warrant for the home after the owner of a stolen truck, which had four semi-automatic handguns, a rifle, a revolver, two drones, $4,000 cash and an iPhone inside, tracked the phone to Johnson's home using the Find My app, and passed that information on to police.

According to the lawsuit, Johnson, a retired US Postal Service worker and grandmother, had just gotten out of the shower on Jan. 4, 2022, when she heard a command over a bullhorn for anyone inside to exit with their hands up. Wearing only a bathrobe, she opened her front door to see an armored personnel carrier parked on her front lawn, police vehicles along her street and men in full military-style gear carrying rifles and a police dog.

Detective Gary Staab had wrongly obtained the warrant to search Johnson's home because he did not point out that the app's information is not precise and provides only a general location where a phone could be, the lawsuit said.

More:

 

The study:


Update:

A Grandma's Retaliatory Arrest: IJ Takes Her Fight to the Supreme Court​

Mar 8, 2024

Americans have a long tradition of running for office with the goal of improving their local communities. After a fulfilling career in communications, Sylvia Gonzalez did just that. She knocked on the doors of 500 residents in Castle Hills, Texas, and squeezed out a win, beating a well-connected and powerful incumbent.

https://ij.org/case/castle-hills-reta...

After her election, Sylvia got right to work. Acting on her campaign promise, she helped spearhead a citizens’ petition advocating for the removal of Castle Hills’ city manager Ryan Rapelye. The petition was a non-binding vote of no confidence in Rapelye, who had come under criticism for mistreating his employees and failing to address citizens’ concerns, such as fixing their streets.

The petition did not sit well with Castle Hills’ incumbents, whose interests were well-represented by the city manager. Within weeks of winning her election, the harassment began. First, the city attorney, who was aligned with the mayor and the city manager, claimed Sylvia wasn’t properly sworn in and replaced her on the city council with the woman she’d just beaten. When a judge reinstated Sylvia, the city officials didn’t give up.

In fact, that was only the beginning. In the midst of their attempt to unseat her, the mayor and police chief used bogus charges and a rarely-used law to have Sylvia arrested, booked, and thrown in jail—but she had done nothing wrong. Once the county prosecutor got involved, he dropped the case against her.

Finally, after beating back the city twice, a group of citizens aligned with the mayor filed a lawsuit claiming Sylvia was incompetent. Sylvia stood her ground and won—but by then the damage had been done. Sylvia’s mugshot had been splashed across the news and her reputation dragged through the mud. Exhausted—with tens of thousands of dollars in legal bills—she stopped the fight to reclaim her seat.

The city’s retaliation clearly violates Sylvia’s First Amendment rights. If America’s democracy means anything at all, it means that a city can’t arrest its residents for speaking out against a city manager. The fundamental right of political speech is high in the hierarchy of First Amendment values and the courts exist to ensure that it is protected.

On September 29, 2020, Sylvia partnered with the Institute for Justice to file a federal lawsuit against Castle Hills to vindicate her First Amendment rights and hold the city officials accountable. On October 13, 2023, after a prolonged fight with the government over qualified immunity, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to Sylvia to review whether the Fifth Circuit correctly sided with the Castle Hills officials on that issue.


29:29
 
It's infuriating to bear witness to abuses of power like that. Will the courts end up holding them accountable? :popcorn:
 
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (Mar. 18, 2024) – A bill introduced in the Minnesota House would create a process to sue police officers in state court for the deprivation of individual rights without the possibility of “qualified immunity” as a defense.

Rep. Hodan Hassan introduced House Bill 24937 (HF4937) on Mar. 14. Titled the Minnesota Civil Liberties Act, the legislation would create a cause of action in state courts to sue a police officer who subjects or causes to be subjected any individual to a deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Minnesota constitution or the U.S. Constitution. The proposed law includes language that would specifically preclude qualified immunity as a defense.

 

Court Rules North Hollywood Business Owner Not Entitled to Compensation After SWAT Team Destroyed Shop; Owner Will Appeal Decision​


LOS ANGELES—On Monday, the United States District Court for the Central District of California ruled the owner of a North Hollywood print shop is not entitled to compensation after a SWAT team destroyed his business while pursuing a fugitive. NoHo Printing and Graphics owner Carlos Pena, represented by the Institute for Justice (IJ), will appeal the decision.

“The court recognized that the result was unfair, but it thought that the police are exempt from the Fifth Amendment,” said IJ Attorney Jeffrey Redfern. “But for more than 100 years, the Supreme Court has said that the police power is not exempt from just compensation under the Fifth Amendment. We look forward to bringing our arguments to the Court of Appeals.”

More:

 
Related: (the psycho cop did claim qualified immunity at one time)


Police Officer Baptized Woman Instead of Ticketing Her​

 

Qualified Immunity Protects the FBI, Your Mayor, and ALL Officials. Not Just Police.​

Apr 17, 2024

Does qualified immunity actually accomplish what the Supreme Court intended? Kim Norberg and co-host Keith Neely discuss qualified immunity and how it plays out in the real world. IJ Senior Attorney Bob McNamara and data scientist Jason Tiezzi join to discuss Unaccountable, IJ’s new report that examines qualified immunity by the numbers.

The report uses the largest ever collection of federal appellate cases, covering the 11-year period from 2010 through 2020. It is also the first to use cutting-edge automated techniques to parse thousands of federal circuit court opinions and answer key questions about cases where government defendants claim qualified immunity—what kinds of officials and conduct it protects, its impact on civil rights cases, and whether the doctrine is achieving its aims.


34:26

LINKS:

Read the Report! https://ij.org/report/unaccountable/
 
I think we discussed this in another thread. We either have rights or we dont. If government has QI and can trample our rights then we have no rights. The constitution is supposed to limit the powers of government and protect the peoples natural rights. QI does just the opposite.
 
Here's a little food for thought.

Trump Promises To Give Police 'Immunity From Prosecution'​

The pledge, while mostly legally illiterate, offers a reminder of the former president's outlook on government accountability.​

Former President Donald Trump this week made his way to Wisconsin, a battleground state crucial to both his 2016 win and 2020 loss. The stakes, in other words, are high. So he made a few big promises to match.

One such promise: "We're going to give our police their power back," he told rallygoers in Waukesha, "and we are going to give them immunity from prosecution."

Between police and prosecutors, law enforcement officers are arguably already the most powerful people in government, so it's unclear what Trump means by giving them "their power back." His second promise, though—immunity from prosecution—is more concrete, and a reminder of the former president's views on government accountability.

More:

 

Righting A Wrong House Raid​

April 30, 2024

Everyone knows to check that they’re in the right place when arriving somewhere new. Maybe look for the address or distinguishing features of the property. It’s just a basic life skill—not something the Supreme Court needs to explain. Still, the Fifth Circuit ruled that a SWAT commander couldn’t have known that he had to make sure he had the correct house before ordering a raid.

On March 27, 2019, a SWAT team assembled on the porch of the wrong house in Waxahachie, Texas. Lieutenant Mike Lewis realized the mistake just in time. He knew the suspected stash house was one door down. He just wasn’t sure which direction. The front-porch light on the house to his left obscured his view of its address. So, rather than go get a better look, he just guessed.

A chain-link fence should have blocked his team’s path to the front porch and the detached garage of the house they planned to raid. But the house they approached didn’t have a fence, or a front porch, or a garage. Instead, officers had to climb a truly enormous L-shaped wheelchair ramp that wasn’t supposed to be there.


SWAT Raid on 'WRONG HOUSE!' Dragging Through the Courts​

May 5, 2024

And very well could end up in the Supreme Court.


13:45

*Just my opinion, fwiw, I do not believe that the robed ones give two shits about the rights of American citizens.
 
The problem is more simple.

De-militarize the police.

The very (dubious) "need" for such units, speaks of a failure of proactive law-enforcement and community standards. A problem is ignored until presumably it can only be handled with paramilitary shock troops.

There is a better way. William Faulkner painted such a picture, in his fiction - of tight-knit communities physically running out, the troublemakers.
 

The “Zombification” of Qualified Immunity?​

“I have a theory: Qualified immunity has already been bitten by one of the walkers in the Walking Dead, and it’s in the zombification process.”

So said David French on last week’s episode of The Dispatch’s Advisory Opinions podcast while discussing a recent Fifth Circuit decision denying qualified immunity to a pair of Houston police officers in an utterly bizarre false‐arrest case. Though he doesn’t elaborate, the idea seems to be that qualified immunity’s vital essence has been drained over the years, leaving the dead‐on‐its‐feet doctrine to stagger around menacing victims of government misconduct and searching for brains to eat.

It’s a whimsical image, and I hope David’s right. But here’s an even simpler take: judicial enthusiasm for qualified immunity is starting to wain because not only is it a legal, practical, and moral failure that flies in the face of bedrock conservative convictions about limited government and personal responsibility, it’s an embarrassment to boot—as this latest Fifth Circuit case vividly illustrates. Here are the facts in a nutshell.

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Law enforcement should be held to a higher standard. They have every device to know everything about potential target. The fusion centers set up across the country share info with everyone and most people don't even know they exist. With the amount of data available to law enforcement there is no reason for qualified immunity.
 
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