New Jersey's Best Legal Podcast
June 20, 2020

p1 - What is Qualified Immunity? Can Police be Charged Criminally?


MEG'S EPISODE NOTES:
Monday 6/15/2020 – US Supreme Court declined to hear 8 cases involving qualified immunity - – 7 of which involved police accused of excessive force / misconduct – 6 of the 7 involved plaintiff’s suing police and lower courts protected officers by saying qualified immunity applied   2 ways a case gets to the US Supreme Court 

1. Original Jurisdiction – cases between two states / cases involving ambassadors / public ministers
2. Appellate Jurisdiction – cases on appeal from lower courts
a. Litigants ask them – file a writ of certiorari (ser shee or rare ee) “grant cert”
b. 4 of the 9 justices must vote to hear it
c. Only agrees to hear 100-150 of the more than 7000 cases it is asked to review each year  

Court basically said we won’t even hear this case.  We won’t even consider it.  
Justice Clarence Thomas disagreed – wrote a 6 page dissent in one of the cases involving a guy in Tennessee who was bit by a police dog and who said he had put his hands up in surrender   

Justice Thomas said he continues to have “strong doubts” about the qualified immunity doctrine and he would grant the petition for cert No relief = No accountability Scales of justice unbalanced If SCOTUS won’t revisit – Congress should  

NEXT PODCAST  What rights do you have when protesting??  If police aren’t accountable, how can you protect yourself from criminal charges or worse yet – physical harm?

As an adjunct instructor at Rowan University and former instructor at both the Cape May and Vineland police academies, she has a passion for sharing information about the law in NJ.   

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