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Thread: Qualified immunity stood on its head, in a kilt

  1. #1
    Founder's Club Member Jim675's Avatar
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    Qualified immunity stood on its head, in a kilt

    Many of us have wished to strip officers of qualified immunity when we see what appears to be obvious cases of overreach.


    I also see discussions about using a writ of mandamus to force officials to take some action; whether that be to issue permit within the lawful period or forcing a police officer to arrest a legislator who pushes to subvert the Constitution.


    But this article from the BBC actually shocked me: In Scotland a 'lazy' police officer was convicted for not arresting someone.


    Not just being stripped of protection when knowingly breaking the law, but convicted for not actively doing their jobs. The exact opposite of our law, confirmed in Warren v. District of Columbia and others, that the police have absolutely no duty to stop or prevent crimes or apprehend criminals.


    Anyone familiar enough with English common law to know if this legal ability dates back to when we branched away or is it a more recent sign of the Brits experiencing the scope creep common to all governments?


    If we do strip immunity would not every officer soon be jailed when surveillance footage shows they “should” have recognized a crime?


    BTW: I appreciated this article on self-reliance and why police protection isn't and can't be expected.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    I don't see "attempting to pervert the course of justice" as having any qualified immunity to be dealt with. It seems to be a straight-up criminal charge similar to "obstructing justice" but at least one step higher on a scale of seriousness. Qualified immunity is a form of protection from being sued for violating someone's civil rights.

    I'm not familiar enough with British/Scottish criminal procedure to comment on the specifics but they do deal with things quite differently over there. "Taking one's information" is considered fairly serious. However, it seems that something a bit more was expected when encountering someone actively breaking and entering. Past conversations with Brtish coppers informed me that they have just as much problem with "the thin blue line" as we do. But those conversations suggested that in many regards they have a lot more leeway in deciding how to handle situations than American cops gave.

    In some ways I am wondering if the Sheriff was more upset about the comment that "We know you are trying to break in and if we didn't have another call to go to you would be getting the jail" than he was about not arresting the man. Telling crooks that they are low on your list of priorities does not seem a good way to keep them in fear of the police.

    stay safe.
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    Founder's Club Member Jim675's Avatar
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    I understand that qualified immunity protects police who take actions later deemed incorrect. Have you ever seen a police officer convicted of a crime for not taking an action?

    Its hard enough to convict an officer here for murder or assault, much less simply being lazy.

    I've never heard of a similar story in the US.

  4. #4
    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim675 View Post
    I understand that qualified immunity protects police who take actions later deemed incorrect. Have you ever seen a police officer convicted of a crime for not taking an action?

    Its hard enough to convict an officer here for murder or assault, much less simply being lazy.

    I've never heard of a similar story in the US.
    Qualified immunity doesn't protect the officers if they should have know. (Not arguing just using this statement as a place to insert a few of my thoughts)

    In Washington it has been found not to apply even toward case law. Ignorance is no excuse is only really applicable to public officials. It has no bearing on "civilians". Qualified immunity is exactly that "qualified" he must articulate what law he thought was being broken. It can't just be well I didn't know so I arrested "just in case".
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

    U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
    "Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because
    of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their
    rights, due to ignorance." (Paraphrased)

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