Supreme Court Defends Qualified Immunity For Trigger-Happy Cops, Again

How the Supreme Court docket sees victims of law enforcement brutality.

Can the existing Supreme Court docket even conceive of a scenario the place a cop should NOT gun down a citizen of this place? Which is an honest problem. What would it even consider at this point to get five Supreme Court docket justices to concur that probably a law enforcement officer should do something other than open hearth on a non-blue member of society?

Right now, the Supreme Court docket summarily reversed a Ninth Circuit ruling that cops could be held liable in a case the place they opened hearth on a female armed with a kitchen knife. The female, Amy Hughes, miraculous survived her encounter with American law enforcement, and sued the officer who opened hearth on her, striving to pierce the officer’s certified immunity.

According to the report, Amy Hughes was in the avenue outside the house her household in 2010, holding a kitchen knife, “screaming and crying incredibly loudly,” and approaching a different female. The other female turned out to be Hughes’s roommate. Officer Andrew Kisela arrived on the scene. He was divided from Hughes by a chain hyperlink fence and requested her to fall the knife. Hughes did not promptly comply… which is apparently a cash offense in this place. Kisela shot Hughes numerous situations, declaring that he feared she was a danger to the other female.

Hughes sued Kisela for violating her civil legal rights. She was blocked by the district courtroom, the Ninth Circuit reversed and authorized the case to go ahead, but right now the Supreme Court docket reversed the Ninth Circuit, stating that Kisela enjoyed certified immunity. The Court docket held that even if Kisela violated the Fourth Modification — and the Court docket pretty clearly did not even imagine that took place — Kisela did not violate any “clearly established law” of the sort that would allow for Hughes to pierce the immunity he enjoys from performing as a state formal. Then, the Court docket admonished the Ninth Circuit for using a “general” typical of clearly established law. Evidently, the right not to be gunned down by the law enforcement is not just about certain more than enough for the Court docket to consider recognize.

It was an unsigned viewpoint, and the Supreme Court docket declined to hear any argument or briefing on the case. They essentially gave Hughes as a lot thing to consider as the officer did prior to striving to get rid of her.

In dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor (joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg) wrote that he Court docket is sending the signal that officers can “shoot initial and imagine later on.”

Sotomayor is right. At every single level, from the Supreme Court docket to 12 individuals not clever more than enough to squirm out of jury obligation, the typical appears to be that officers can shoot and shoot and shoot some a lot more, and then imagine later on about how to justify all the shell casings. No person appears ready to ask law enforcement to devote Supplemental SECONDS to evaluating the scenario prior to they commence taking pictures.

We can’t maintain cops accountable for their actions, for the reason that right now it is flawlessly authorized for cops to shoot you for any purpose or no purpose at all. Prosecutors are not ready to cease them, judges are not ready to cease them, and politicians are absolutely not ready to cease them.

The Supreme Court… they really don’t even want to Listen to it. They really don’t even want to argue about it any longer. If a cop shoots you, the Supreme presumption is that you deserved it — and even if you did not, your lifetime is not safeguarded by “clearly established law.”

I really don’t know what set of specifics could convince the existing Court docket to break certified immunity, the majority does not even seem to be to be intellectually curious about the specifics. They are a lot more fearful about the maintaining state actors cost-free from civil legal responsibility than they are about stopping the killings and brutality.

Asking this Court docket to rein in the law enforcement is like inquiring the cook dinner to rein in the hunter. No person is fascinated in the viewpoint of the prey.

Justices grant just one new case, summarily reverse in abnormal-force case [SCOTUSblog]


Elie Mystal is the Executive Editor of Over the Legislation and the Legal Editor for Far more Great. He can be attained @ElieNYC on Twitter, or at elie@abovethelaw.com. He will resist.

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