Supreme Court Makes It Even Harder To Hold Bad Cops Accountable

Gondwanaland

Well-known member
The idjits of SCOTUS have come down further in favor of the insane policy of qualified immunity, making it even harder for citizens to get justice when police violate their rights and cause them harm.

The Supreme Court Deals a Major Blow to Qualified Immunity Reform

In two opinions issued Monday, the Court gave qualified immunity to several police officers accused of violating the Constitution.



The Supreme Court on Monday issued two opinions awarding qualified immunity to police officers accused of brutality, overturning lower court decisions that came to the opposite conclusion. The Court has thus prohibited the alleged victims from seeking accountability in civil court.

The doctrine of qualified immunity shields government actors from civil suits if the ways in which they are said to have misbehaved, and the exact circumstances surrounding the events in question, have not yet been spelled out as unconstitutional in a prior court ruling.

It can be a low bar. Previous recipients of qualified immunity include two cops who allegedly stole $225,000 while executing a search warrant, more than 24 cops who damaged an innocent man's house during a drug raid on the wrong residence, cops who shot children, and cops who used force against subdued suspects and those who had surrendered—not because their conduct was necessarily permissible but because no court precedent had yet said the precise components of each case violated the Constitution.

Monday's decision adds a few more to that list, including a cop in Union City, California, accused of injuring a man after pressing his left knee into the suspect's back, as well as two officers in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, who shot and killed a man wielding a hammer.

Whether or not those officers deserve to pay damages to their accusers is not a question I have the answer to. But it's a question that should be answered by a jury of their peers, who are constitutionally tasked with taking on that duty—and not a few judges sitting on high. Should the Supreme Court have agreed with the lower courts' decisions and decided to withhold qualified immunity, neither plaintiff would have necessarily been awarded damages: They would simply have been legally permitted to argue their case before a jury, which they will now not have the privilege of doing.

In the first case, Officer Daniel Rivas-Villegas responded to a 911 call from a 12-year-old, who was afraid that Ramon Cortesluna, her mother's ex-boyfriend, would hurt her and her family. When Rivas-Villegas apprehended Cortesluna on the ground, he allegedly injured him by digging his knee into his back for eight seconds. According to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, it was already clearly established law that an officer violates the Fourth Amendment when he acts in such a way with "suspects who were lying face-down on the ground and were not resisting either physically or verbally, on whose back the defendant officer leaned with a knee, causing allegedly significant injury."

The Supreme Court disagreed, writing that there was no preexisting court precedent quite similar enough to exactly what happened between Rivas-Villegas and Cortesluna such that the officer would have been on notice that his conduct was unconstitutional.

In the second case, Officers Josh Girdner, Chase Reed, and Brandon Vick responded to an emergency call when Dominic Rollice's ex-wife said he was drunk and would not leave the house. Upon arriving at the scene, the officers cornered Rollice in the garage, at which point he grabbed a hammer and appeared like he might throw it at one of the officers. Girdner and Vick then shot and killed Rollice.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit concluded that, although the shooting may have itself been reasonable, a jury could find that the cops created the situation when they cornered Rollice in the garage, and that such a move violated previously established law. The Supreme Court again disagreed, declining to determine if Rollice's constitutional rights were violated but writing that the precedents were too disparate from the exact situation at hand.

Most troubling in today's decision was the Court's reiteration that it "is especially important in the Fourth Amendment context" to find identical court precedents when examining qualified immunity cases. That standard is what has made it so difficult for victims of government abuse to have a remote chance at holding the culprits accountable, including, for instance, the mother of the 10-year-old boy who was lying on the ground when Coffee County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Vickers shot him. The cop was instead trying to kill a nonthreatening dog, who was a mere foot and a half away from the boy.

While the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit admonished Vickers, it did not allow the boy's mother to sue for the money she lost to her son's medical treatment, as she was unable to find a court ruling that mimicked that nightmarish day to a T. The odds are bleak.

Supporters of qualified immunity often say that without the doctrine, state officials would be inundated with vacuous lawsuits. Such a theory contradicts reality. Without qualified immunity, plaintiffs would still be required to prove that the government affirmatively violated their rights before going to trial. Qualified immunity is only the second piece, which then necessitates that a victim locate a matching court ruling. And the Supreme Court's decision today is another reminder of why that process is a frustrating one: The justices specifically demurred at the opportunity to decide if the alleged victims here had their constitutional rights violated. We're told that they need to find that perfect precedent, and then the courts often decline to establish those precedents when given the chance.

Today's decision also represents somewhat of a departure for the Court. Though it has avoided the opportunity to conduct a wholesale reevaluation of qualified immunity—a legal principle it legislated into existence decades ago—it had seemingly taken steps over the last year to send the message that the lower courts were being too specific with their qualified immunity jurisprudence. That first step came in Taylor v. Riojas, a case that saw the justices claw back qualified immunity from a group of prison guards that threw a naked inmate in cells filled with sewage and feces, and the second was in McCoy v. Alamu, where the Court overturned a qualified immunity grant to a prison guard who pepper-sprayed an inmate without provocation. Clarence Thomas, the Court's most conservative justice, and Sonia Sotomayor, one of the more liberal justices, have both recently taken aim at qualified immunity.

But victims of government abuse will have to wait longer still. "What these two decisions illustrate is that the Supreme Court—despite its decisions last term in Taylor v. Riojas and McCoy v. Alamu—does not seem interested in making any fundamental alterations to the doctrine of qualified immunity," says Jay Schweikert, a research fellow with the Cato Institute's Project on Criminal Justice. "To the contrary, both these decisions clearly reinforce the idea that overcoming qualified immunity generally requires a prior case with nearly identical facts."



https://reason.com/2021/10/18/suprem...reform-police/
 

vibise

Well-known member
I agree. No one should be above the law, especially those charged with upholding the law, and that includes police as well as elected officials.
 

Yakuda

Well-known member
I agree. No one should be above the law, especially those charged with upholding the law, and that includes police as well as elected officials.
How about non elected officials like fauci who destroy small businesses and kills people? You think he's a problem?
 

Yakuda

Well-known member
The idjits of SCOTUS have come down further in favor of the insane policy of qualified immunity, making it even harder for citizens to get justice when police violate their rights and cause them harm.
So the better solution is to make it harder for the police to do their job?
 

DeSanto

Well-known member
The idjits of SCOTUS have come down further in favor of the insane policy of qualified immunity, making it even harder for citizens to get justice when police violate their rights and cause them harm.
Unless “election fraud” or “unconstitutional mandates” are used in the same sentence with SCOTUS... it’s a useless distraction.
 

Gondwanaland

Well-known member
I scanned it so what? What do you think I would say differently if I did s complete and thorough review of it
Had you read the article you'd know your complaint is a load of bunk. Unless of course you think the job of police is to violate constitutional rights and abuse people. In which case, I'll pass you some leather polish to apply to your tongue so you can kill two birds with one stone.
 

Yakuda

Well-known member
Had you read the article you'd know your complaint is a load of bunk. Unless of course you think the job of police is to violate constitutional rights and abuse people. In which case, I'll pass you some leather polish to apply to your tongue so you can kill two birds with one stone.
What I think there job is is to stop bad guys. The problem is they will do that and some social justice pansy will whine that their rights have been violated. If you think there is "systemic" racism in the police depts then a sensible conversation with you is impossible in which case you are to be ignored.
 

Gondwanaland

Well-known member
What I think there job is is to stop bad guys. The problem is they will do that and some social justice pansy will whine that their rights have been violated. If you think there is "systemic" racism in the police depts then a sensible conversation with you is impossible in which case you are to be ignored.
So again, you didn't read the article and just bleated this out.
 

Ontos

Active member
I'm sympathetic to police officers as my brother has been one for almost 20 years...

On the one hand the police can be sued for almost anything and it can really bog down the individual officer in legal fees and court appearances - they would have to carry some sort of "police insurance" to compensate which would undoubtedly be a very high premium - this could/would deter people from joining the force.

On the other hand, we've all seen those videos of officers absolutely shredding peoples rights and literally nothing happens to them. And, when the citizen sues - who pays? The city? No, your fellow citizen does through their taxes. Its sickening.
 

vibise

Well-known member
How about non elected officials like fauci who destroy small businesses and kills people? You think he's a problem?
Fauci is not and has never been in charge of decision-making about lockdowns. The decisions on the initial lockdowns were made by Trump. Where is your condemnation of him?
 

Yakuda

Well-known member
Fauci is not and has never been in charge of decision-making about lockdowns. The decisions on the initial lockdowns were made by Trump. Where is your condemnation of him?
I am on record as saying lockdowns were useless. I am no friend of trump's, I was an enemy of the talking pig in a pant suit you wanted. If you insist on denying that fauci had influence and therefore responsibility for the consequences of the lockdown then you're either a complete moron or a liar. I'll let you choose which
 

Furion

Well-known member
I'm sympathetic to police officers as my brother has been one for almost 20 years...

On the one hand the police can be sued for almost anything and it can really bog down the individual officer in legal fees and court appearances - they would have to carry some sort of "police insurance" to compensate which would undoubtedly be a very high premium - this could/would deter people from joining the force.

On the other hand, we've all seen those videos of officers absolutely shredding peoples rights and literally nothing happens to them. And, when the citizen sues - who pays? The city? No, your fellow citizen does through their taxes. Its sickening.
And on the other, other hand we will need to hire an army of libertarians to protect us I guess.

No qualified immunity = no cops.

But it does also mean you can sue your school administration, or the governor, or maybe even Joey himself.

So basically, everyone will be suing, and your new social worker cop can give you a hug when you call them in your distress.
 

Ontos

Active member
And on the other, other hand we will need to hire an army of libertarians to protect us I guess.

No qualified immunity = no cops.

But it does also mean you can sue your school administration, or the governor, or maybe even Joey himself.

So basically, everyone will be suing, and your new social worker cop can give you a hug when you call them in your distress.
A libertarian would certainly shout that I should have all these rights and freedom, but I'm not too confident they'd put their body on the line to protect us...

And, I think a social worker cop would be just as liable - hugging could be an assault charge these days...
 

Gondwanaland

Well-known member
So again what would I say differently if read the entire thing? The last time I asked this you what I got in return was whiny a** comments. Maybe you want to try again
I answered you. That you cannot read neither my post nor the article, indicate that you should go back to kindergarten because your schooling clearly failed you
 

Yakuda

Well-known member
I answered you. That you cannot read neither my post nor the article, indicate that you should go back to kindergarten because your schooling clearly failed you
There you have it. This is why people like you make me sick. Even the idiot running Chicago has come to realize that preventing the police form doing their work makes.life harder for everyone. Keep whining. I'm sure it makes you feel better.
 

Gondwanaland

Well-known member
There you have it. This is why people like you make me sick. Even the idiot running Chicago has come to realize that preventing the police form doing their work makes.life harder for everyone. Keep whining. I'm sure it makes you feel better.
I already offered you the leather polish for your tongue. Why didn't you just accept it and just continue on your way?

You missed a spot over there.
 
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