Civil and Human Rights

Justices Reject Qualified Immunity Reform

…In her taser dissent, Sotomayor wrote that the officers elected to use force knowing that it would directly cause the very outcome they claimed to have sought to avoid. “This court’s precedent establishes that ‘the ‘reasonableness’ of a particular seizure depends not only on when it is made, but also on how it is carried out. Using deadly force that does no more than knowingly effectuate the exact danger to be forestalled is clearly unreasonable under this standard.”

In her dissent in the suicide case, she wrote that the jailers were deliberately indifferent to the risks to which they subjected the suicidal inmate.

[Hogan Lovells partner Cate] Stetson has been in the effort to persuade the justices to reform the qualified immunity doctrine for some time. In the petitions just denied, which had been distributed for the justices’ private conferences more than a dozen times, she received support from other legal groups seeking reform of the doctrine, such as the Constitutional Accountability Center, the libertarian Cato Institute and the Institute for Justice….

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