Police Reform: Qualified Immunity (1 Viewer)

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JimEverett

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I am hearing a lot of people agreeing with Justice Clarence Thomas and advocating for the elimination of qualified immunity across the board and especially in police misconduct cases. I agree as well.
Basically, qualified immunity means that a cop is immune from civil liability when he or she violates a persons constitutional rights when the right violated has not been a clearly articulated right. There are a lot of problems with this legal concept and hopefully, it is nearing its end.
But I also hope that municipalities begin to back off union contracts that have the taxpayer foot the bill for police misconduct. I think using qualified immunity concepts might be good. Meaning that city contracts with the police union that it will pay judgments when an officer violates a person's constitutional rights only when the officer violated a right that was not clearly articulated - or something to that effect. Otherwise, the city can come after the officer to pay the judgment.
 
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superchuck500

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I think both the Democrats reform plan and Tim Scott’s plan address QI. The White House has said it is a “non-starter”.

 

Farb

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I think both the Democrats reform plan and Tim Scott’s plan address QI. The White House has said it is a “non-starter”.

To be fair, Trump might not understand what that means.

I have never been a huge fan of civil servants having unions especially police and teachers.
 
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Saintamaniac

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Meaning that city contracts with the police union that it will pay judgments when an officer violates a person's constitutional rights only when the officer violated a right that was not clearly articulated - or something to that effect.
I agree with your original post. The part that I bolded needs to go. It's way too broad and forces much to specificity in order for victims who have had their rights violated to qualify to file suit. The difference between getting beaten in a ditch as opposed to being beaten in a canal should not be a reason to deny someone the right to win a lawsuit. And this just goes to the point that it is too easy for the police to get away with violating the very thing that they are sworn to protect. Another thing is that the police should not be allowed legally to lie to people while at the same time having it be a crime to lie to the police.
 
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JimEverett

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I agree with your original post. The part that I bolded needs to go. It's way too broad and forces much to specificity in order for victims who have had their rights violated to qualify to file suit. The difference between getting beaten in a ditch as opposed to being beaten in a canal should not be a reason to deny someone the right to win a lawsuit. And this just goes to the point that it is too easy for the police to get away with violating the very thing that they are sworn to protect. Another thing is that the police should not be allowed legally to lie to people while at the same time having it be a crime to lie to the police.
I meant to write that a city will pay only when the right violated was clearly articulated.

People will get paid regardless, as the city will not escape liability. But when a right is violated that is a clearly articulated right then cities should negotiate for the right to go after the individual officers' to pay the taxpayers back.
 

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I’d like to see this Congress united enough to override a veto. That I would like to see.
 
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JimEverett

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I think both the Democrats reform plan and Tim Scott’s plan address QI. The White House has said it is a “non-starter”.

States can bypass the feds as well - creating their own section 1983s with no immunity.

Perhaps some have.
 

superchuck500

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States can bypass the feds as well - creating their own section 1983s with no immunity.

Perhaps some have.
Not sure. But isn’t that quite ironic that 1983 arose as a federal solution to the states’ failures to provide meaningful redress for civil rights violations by state and local authorities? Crazy that the federal standard has become the broken status quo and states the progressive approach. Of course, it won’t happen in non-progressive states - which does call for revision at the federal level.

And it doesn’t take a statute - the Court could (and many believe should) easily re-cast the standards . . . strike a better balance between the intention behind these causes of action (1983 and Bivens) and the need to not “surprise” well intended law enforcement who find themselves in the difficulties of their job. The current standard is way too deferential to police conduct - “clearly established rights” can be more categorical and legalistic in nature, rather than requiring a rigid contextual/factual precedent.
 

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To be fair, Trump might not understand what that means.

I have never been a huge fan of civil servants having unions especially police and teachers.
I don't want to turn this into a 'union' thread. But I've seen both sides - union and non-union/weak union and strong union. I've been in unions and opted out of them.

We just went through a term where my wife had a series of work stoppages for education reform up here. The provincial government was raising class sizes, lowering ratios of support aides for kids who needed support aides (like equipment as well as EAs). They were looking to increase class sizes. They were looking to mandate online education as a diploma requirement (which was tied to private firms). They were decreasing funding for autistic children.

And more.

There was a teacher pay component of the bill - they normally get a 2% raise but are required - by law - to have a 1% increase. The past few years, the union has passed up raises and frozen wages and salaries for years - with the promise that they will get their money back.

They weren't even asking for that 'back pay' in terms of promised growth - they were looking for the legal renumeration.

Most of the argument - and it had the overwhelming majority of public support - was around what was happening in the classroom.

And the unions were what stood between those measures - arbitrarily decided on by the province - and the students. There is no 'student union' or 'parent union'

So, in lieu of a strong teacher union, what would you see as a group of people with some power to prevent those sweeping - and detrimental - changes from happening?
 

superchuck500

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From what I can tell, the only relationship the police unions have to qualified immunity relates to if/when/how individual officers may be indemnified by the state/municipality/police-force for personal tort liabilities arising from their police work. Yes, it's an issue as it effectively removes the officers' personal financial stake in the matter, I'm not sure how it relates to qualified immunity as a legal doctrine. Or how it is applied by the courts.

I suppose through the lobbying process, there may be an indirect influence (including but not limited to judicial appointments).
 
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JimEverett

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From what I can tell, the only relationship the police unions have to qualified immunity relates to if/when/how individual officers may be indemnified by the state/municipality/police-force for personal tort liabilities arising from their police work. Yes, it's an issue as it effectively removes the officers' personal financial stake in the matter, I'm not sure how it relates to qualified immunity as a legal doctrine. Or how it is applied by the courts.

I suppose through the lobbying process, there may be an indirect influence (including but not limited to judicial appointments).
That is my understanding. I don't think union contracts, in general, really have much to say on qualified immunity. And my latter point has little to do with qualified immunity, just thinking of ways to put more onus on officers following proper procedure and understanding the limits of their power.
In that regard I do think it would help if municipalities bargained for something allowing them to go after officers for recovery of awards when those officers have, for example, violated a clearly articulated right or engaged in gross negligence in not following procedure/training.
If police unions want to buy insurance for its members, let them. Put more responsibility on the police themselves as well as the city hiring them. Cities cannot escape liability, but it also seems unfair to require taxpayers to pay judgments for officers who went against city procedures.
 

superchuck500

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White House again calling QI reform an "non-starter". I have seen the House bill, it pretty much gets rid of QI altogether.


 

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