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Thread: Protecting cops from frivolous lawsuits: Qualified immunity, explained.

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    Protecting cops from frivolous lawsuits: Qualified immunity, explained.

    The Background and History of the Qualified Immunity Defense
    In Harlow v. Fitzgerald,[1] the Supreme Court recognized the need for an objective qualified immunity defense to protect public officials, including law enforcement officers, from the often frivolous lawsuits that flow from their necessary official actions.

    The Court eliminated entirely any consideration of the subjective intent of the public official at the time of an alleged constitutional transgression and focused exclusively on the actual objective facts related to the official’s conduct. By eliminating consideration of an official’s (including a law enforcement officer’s) subjective intent, the Court made it much more difficult for a trial judge to refuse to dismiss the case against an officer prior to trial.
    [More .... ]

    https://www.policeone.com/legal/arti...ity-explained/

    H/T John Wesley Hall. Fourthamendment.com
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    ... Second, they reaffirm the Court’s willingness to use the qualified immunity defense to adjudicate police use of deadly force cases at the pre-trial stage of litigation and spare officers from the monetary and emotional burdens of protracted discovery and trial. ...
    Discovery and trial is where the facts are supposed to be adjudicated. The courts will not spare citizens. All cops love this arrangement.

    Eliminate QI!
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
    It is AFAIK original to me. Compromise is failure on the installment plan, particularly when dealing with so intractable an opponent as ignorance. - Nightmare

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    Either we are equal or we are not.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
    Either we are equal or we are not.
    Equality concedes to the state our individual liberty. The state and her minions must be inferior to the citizenry!
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
    It is AFAIK original to me. Compromise is failure on the installment plan, particularly when dealing with so intractable an opponent as ignorance. - Nightmare

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    Accomplished Advocate color of law's Avatar
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    Qualified Immunity is an interlocutory appeal issue. An interlocutory appeal (or interim appeal), in the law of civil procedure, is an appeal of a ruling by a trial court that is made before all claims are resolved as to all parties.

    Qualified Immunity is legislation from the bench. A jury is deprived the right to determine immunity. Qualified Immunity is a fraud on the citizen. It is the judicial branch of the government protecting the executive branch of the government.

    I'm not saying that getting Qualified Immunity is a cake walk, but the court does not always use logic in granting immunity.
    Second, they reaffirm the Court’s willingness to use the qualified immunity defense to adjudicate police use of deadly force cases at the pre-trial stage of litigation and spare officers from the monetary and emotional burdens of protracted discovery and trial.
    Cops never have a monetary burden; the government pays the bill. “Emotional burdens”?????? give me a break.

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    When a cop gets QI civil juries will know this and any redress is made more difficult. Thus the pursuit of settlements vs. getting the money and a conviction and a assignment of "blame" on the city and the criminal LEA.
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
    It is AFAIK original to me. Compromise is failure on the installment plan, particularly when dealing with so intractable an opponent as ignorance. - Nightmare

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    Regular Member solus's Avatar
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    thanks nightmare for the link, tho wouldn't you think the article is 'slanted' towards QI considering the author's extensive background of possibly implementing QI for the agents under his sphere of responsibility or charge?

    am delving further into the concept...thanks again for the push

    ipse
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    Different states have different rules regarding gov't employees' actions being actions that are actions related to the gov't business and actions of a gov't employee.

    For example, in Utah any illegal action by a gov't employee can be considered outside the scope of the employee's employment whereas in Illinois most actions, even illegal, are still the employee and his actions being covered under their scope of employment.

    For qualified immunity cases the first thing to examine is: was the employee's actions part of his scope of employment ?

    one issue of interest ... many other things to consider as well.

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    For several years a long time ago I worked for a federal court of appeals.

    I came to understand that most of my job involved recommending that judges affirm US district court decisions dismissing section 1983 civil rights lawsuits. My goal was to hit a quota of 13 decisions a month, and it was a whole lot easier to make this quota recommending that appellate panels affirm rather than than to reverse. So if you wanted to get home and see your kids you looked for reasons to hit and move.

    Qualified immunity was a particularly useful doctrine in doing what was expected of me in this job. It was my friend. Not my best friend -- of course. Procedural rules that would allow me to get rid of a case without even thinking about the merits -- deadlines and such -- were way more convenient. But Harlow v. Fitzgerald was convenient enough, because most of the pro se litigants who tended to bring these cases had no idea how to get ready for a summary judgment motion, or deal with one once filed. And if the pro se litigant failed to meet their burden on a qualified immunity defense -- and they almost always did when the state raised the issue in a summary judgment motion -- Harlow was for me the key to a quick kill.

    I am not going to school you on the details of this. I will tell you though that in my humble opinion, qualified immunity is as a practical matter far more of a threat to your gun rights than the "big three" legislative proposals gun rights advocates keep beating back, or really most of the threats to your rights that some members of this forum endlessly blather on about. That has been so since I became involved with this forum.

    But qualified immunity is a complex doctrine that only begins with Harlow. To address it you need to understand it. Many lawyers do not, lay people rarely even try.

    I wish you well in your studies and hope that they lead you to insight and action.

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