SCOTUS upholds qualified immunity in two new cases.

1
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday signaled that it is not retreating from its inclination to grant a legal protection called "qualified immunity" to police accused in lawsuits of using excessive force, ruling in favor of officers on Monday in separate cases from California and Oklahoma.

The justices overturned a lower court's decision allowing a trial in a lawsuit against officers Josh Girdner and Brandon Vick over the 2016 fatal shooting of a hammer-wielding man in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

They also overturned a lower court's decision to deny a request by police officer Daniel Rivas-Villegas for qualified immunity in a lawsuit accusing him of using excessive force in 2016 while handcuffing a suspect in Union City, California.

The brief rulings were unsigned, with no public dissents among the justices in the cases, both decided without oral arguments.

The qualified immunity defense protects police and other government officials from civil litigation in certain circumstances, permitting lawsuits only when an individual's "clearly established" statutory or constitutional rights have been violated.

The rulings indicated that the justices think lower courts still are denying qualified immunity too frequently in police excessive force cases, having previously chided appeals courts on that issue in recent years.

"These are not the actions of a court that is likely to end or seriously reform qualified immunity," Chris Kemmitt, a lawyer with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund civil rights group, wrote on Twitter.

A 2020 Reutersinvestigation revealed how qualified immunity, with the Supreme Court's continual refinements, has made it easier for police officers to kill or injure civilians with impunity.

In the Oklahoma case, police responded to a complaint by the former wife of the slain man, Dominic Rollice, that he was inebriated and in her garage.

Officers told Rollice they were not there to arrest him, but rather to give him a "ride out of there," according to court papers, but he refused to go with them. A lower court found that the officers then advanced on Rollice, prompting him to back up and grab a hammer that he held above his head and refused to drop.

When Rollice appeared to raise the hammer further, Girdner and Vick fired multiple times, killing him. A third officer had decided that the situation called for him to "go less lethal" by putting his firearm in his holster and using his stun gun instead.

Rollice's estate sued Girdner and Vick, accusing them of using excessive force in violation of the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. The police said they used force because they feared Rollice would charge at them or throw the hammer.

The Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2020 denied the officers qualified immunity, finding that they may have unjustifiably escalated the situation. The Supreme Court on Monday declined to decide "whether recklessly creating a situation that requires deadly force can itself violate the Fourth Amendment," instead saying that no prior case had "clearly established" that the officers' actions were illegal.

In the California case, the justices ruled in favor of Rivas-Villegas for the same reason. That case involved the arrest of a man named Ramon Cortesluna at his home. Rivas-Villegas used his foot to push Cortesluna down, and then pressed his knee into the man's back while another officer handcuffed him.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year ruled that Cortesluna's excessive force claim could go to trial, noting that the suspect had been prone and not resisting.

Congressional Democrats have sought to rein in qualified immunity as part of legislation to reform police practices. The House of Representatives passed a Democratic-backed bill that would eliminate qualified immunity for law enforcement, but Senate talks between Democrats and Republicans on police reform collapsed last month.
https://www.reuters.com/legal/governmen ... 021-10-18/
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: SCOTUS upholds qualified immunity in two new cases.

2
Since the court has ruled more in favor of "qualified immunity" to police then the non-police should be able to have the same rights to "qualified immunity" as the police. This would come from the "equal protection under the law" idea as other court cases and the Civil Rights laws passed in the 1960s. Also this should apply to the right of citizens to keep and bear arms just as the police are able to do.
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.-Huxley
"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." ~ Louis Brandeis,

Re: SCOTUS upholds qualified immunity in two new cases.

3
TrueTexan wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 2:34 pm Since the court has ruled more in favor of "qualified immunity" to police then the non-police should be able to have the same rights to "qualified immunity" as the police. This would come from the "equal protection under the law" idea as other court cases and the Civil Rights laws passed in the 1960s. Also this should apply to the right of citizens to keep and bear arms just as the police are able to do.
Should.
Won't.
"The upper class: keeps all of the money, pays none of the taxes. The middle class: pays all of the taxes, does all of the work. The poor are there...just to scare the shit out of the middle class."--George Carlin

Re: SCOTUS upholds qualified immunity in two new cases.

4
November 3rd is the date of oral arguments in NYSRPA vs Buren, from the SCOTUS decision in that case we should know where the current court is headed. And unsigned decision could mean that it was unanimous.
Qualified immunity only applies to suits against government officials as individuals, not suits against the government for damages caused by the officials’ actions. Although qualified immunity frequently appears in cases involving police officers, it also applies to most other executive branch officials. While judges, prosecutors, legislators, and some other government officials do not receive qualified immunity, most are protected by other immunity doctrines.
https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/qualified_immunity
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: SCOTUS upholds qualified immunity in two new cases.

6
I think another serious issue muddying the waters is the unwillingness of local DA's to indict people from the departments they work with day in and day out. There are a lot of examples of DA's either not prosecuting, or presenting the wrong charges before a grand jury (Eric Garner case comes to mind).

I think there needs to be a study of this phenomena to see if we discover an inherent conflict of interest.
“I think there’s a right-wing conspiracy to promote the idea of a left-wing conspiracy”

Re: SCOTUS upholds qualified immunity in two new cases.

7
FrontSight wrote: Tue Oct 19, 2021 3:59 pm I think another serious issue muddying the waters is the unwillingness of local DA's to indict people from the departments they work with day in and day out. There are a lot of examples of DA's either not prosecuting, or presenting the wrong charges before a grand jury (Eric Garner case comes to mind).

I think there needs to be a study of this phenomena to see if we discover an inherent conflict of interest.

I agree, local DAs are not the right authorities to investigate and decide on police shootings in their jurisdictions, they can't be objective. A new law in CA shifts it to the state Atty Gen when "civilians without a weapon" are killed by police but it only applies to shooting deaths. Xavier Becerra the former AG (now US Secty of HHS) complained that the then bill would cost too much, the current AG was a sponsor of the bill. Law enforcement is powerful in blue California, surprised this bill passed and Newsom signed it.

The two sides of police shootings.
“Law enforcement as a whole, they’re not progressive, they don’t like change,” said Timothy T. Williams Jr., a Black police tactics expert who spent nearly 30 years with the Los Angeles Police Department. “There’s going to be a lot of folks that don’t like it. But change is what’s needed, and change is going to happen, whether you support it or not.”

Williams was happy the investigations are going to the attorney general’s office and that Bonta is taking a progressive approach. The training requirements outlined in the protocols for the state investigators “are awesome,” Williams said, and should correct slipshod investigations he has seen at the local level.

But Eugene O’Donnell, a former New York City police officer and professor of police studies at New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said he thinks the change is the latest step in undermining policing in California.

For officers, “the new No. 1 is ‘I could go to prison for doing my job,’ ” he said.

“They’re being officially told, basically, by the Legislature and by the AG, to wait until they’re fired upon,” O’Donnell said. “And of course, the major message it sends is the best way to not be in a police shooting is to not engage anybody in the first place.”
https://apnews.com/article/california-p ... a77ded8b7f
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron