Switch to ADA Accessible Website
Orlando Criminal Lawyer
call for a free
consultation

If The US Supreme Court Modifies or Abolishes Qualified Immunity, This Could Completely Transform Arrests & Police Brutality

shutterstock_376063027

The tragedy that occurred involving George Floyd and the officer who killed him after kneeling on his neck for more than eight minutes during an arrest – when video footage indicates that Floyd was not resisting arrest – has sparked widespread protests around the country, highlighting the issue of an overall lack of accountability when it comes to police violence and civil rights violations. A number of police have long evaded being held accountable for violence – not only due to prosecutors, grand juries, and/or juries being hesitant to bring charges, indict, and/or find that the officer was acting outside of self-defense – but also due to the doctrine of qualified immunity, which essentially prohibits officers from being held responsible for violating someone’s rights unless they have violated “clearly established law”; interpreted by the courts and panels to mean that officers are not held accountable unless there is prior case law essentially involving the exact same facts of the case at hand placing them on notice that their actions were illegal or unconstitutional.

Ironically, the doctrine of qualified immunity is now before the US Supreme Court, as nine qualified immunity challenges have been filed by individuals and organizations, asking that the Court reconsider the current doctrine and either modify or abandon it. In late May, the Court held its private conference, considering the challenges. The justices now have a choice amongst nine different pending petitions that offer a number of different fact patterns involving police officers winning immunity. Depending upon whether and which one is heard, the future of the doctrine – and thus how a number of suspects are treated during arrests – as well as their rights to hold the police accountable for using excessive force, now hangs in the balance, and there is a good chance that the Court will take the issue up, as at least two justices have criticized its current status.

Corbitt v. Vickers

One of those pending petitions includes an Eleventh Circuit case, Corbitt v. Vickers, which involved a sheriff who was granted qualified immunity by a split panel after he accidentally shot a child who was lying on the ground in the process of trying to shoot a pet dog that was not posing a threat. The panel never reached the question of whether the victim’s constitutional rights were violated because it found that there were no prior cases involving these same facts of an officer accidentally shooting a child while trying to shoot something else, and thus no liability for the officer.

A number of organizations have filed amicus briefs in the case, arguing that qualified immunity continues to exacerbate the crisis of accountability for law enforcement and deny justice to victims whose rights are violated, thus damaging the overall credibility of all law enforcement. These organizations also argue that stare decisis should not hold the Court to previous precedent because the “clearly established law” standard fails to provide “stability and predictability” that justifies treating it as precedent.

If You Have Been Arrested in Florida, Contact The Baez Law Firm

If your constitutional rights have been violated due to excessive force used by police during an arrest, contact The Baez Law Firm to speak with a skilled Orlando criminal defense attorney. We provide free (safe) consultations.

 

Resource:

supremecourt.gov/search.aspx?filename=/docket/docketfiles/html/public/19-679.html

cato.org/publications/legal-briefs/corbitt-v-vickers

cnn.com/2020/05/28/us/video-george-floyd-contradict-resist-trnd/index.html

https://www.baezlawfirm.com/a-new-civil-rights-racial-profiling-issue-during-the-pandemic-being-arrested-for-wearing-a-mask-while-being-black/

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
Miami

Miami Office

1200 Brickell Avenue #620
Miami, FL 33131
Office: 305-999-5100
Fax: 305-999-5111
Orlando

Orlando Office

23 South Osceola Avenue
Orlando, FL 32801
Office: 407-705-2626
Fax: 407-705-2625

Email Us

Fields Marked * Are required

Captcha Image

DISCLAIMER: Completing and submitting this form or otherwise merely contacting The Baez Law Firm or any individual at the firm will not establish an attorney/client relationship. Our firm cannot represent you until we determine that there would be no conflict of interest and that we are otherwise able to accept representation of your case. Please do not send any information or documents until a formal attorney/client relationship has been established through an interview with an attorney and you have been given authorization in the form of an engagement letter with The Baez Law Firm. Any information or documents sent via this form or otherwise prior to your receipt of an engagement letter will not be treated as confidences, secrets, or protected information of any nature. Submitting information regarding your potential case will not bar The Baez Law Firm from representing or continuing to represent a person or entity whose interest are adverse to your in condition with your case.

DISCLAIMER: This website contains information about The Baez Law Firm that includes testimonial statements from persons who are familiar with the firm's services. The testimonials shown are not necessarily representative of every person's experience with us. Testimonials from every client are not provided. As no two situations or persons are identical, the facts and circumstances of your situation may differ from those for which testimonials are shown. This website also includes information about some of the past results that we have obtained for our clients. Not all results are provided, and the results shown are not necessarily representative of all results obtained by us. No two situation are exactly alike; every person's situation is unique and the outcome for each person depends on the individual facts.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
MileMark Media - Practice Growth Solutions

© 2015 - 2020 Baez Law Firm. All rights reserved.
This law firm website and legal marketing are managed by MileMark Media.

Contact Form Tab Contact Form Tab