The Supreme Court is Weighing Qualified Immunity For Police Accused Of Misconduct

The doctrine is called “qualified immunity.” Developed in recent decades by the Supreme Court, the doctrine, as applied to police, initially asked two questions: First, did police use excessive force, and if they did, should they have known that their conduct was illegal because it violated a “clearly established” prior court ruling that barred such conduct.

The idea behind the doctrine was to protect police from frivolous lawsuits and allow some “breathing room” for police mistakes that involve split-second judgments that are made in tense and dangerous situations.

But in practice, because of a 2009 Supreme Court decision, lower courts have most often dismissed police brutality lawsuits on grounds that there is no prior court decision with nearly identical facts. Several recent studies, including one conducted by Reuters, have found that dozens of cases involving horrific facts, just as bad as the one involving Floyd, were thrown out of court on the grounds that there was no “clearly established” court precedent forbidding the conduct at issue.


Article submitted by, Great Gazoo.