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What is qualified immunity, and how might lawmakers change it? – Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri 2021-05-11 08:58:57 –

Capitol Hill lawmakers are trying to negotiate a bipartisan bill to reform federal police law. Qualified immunity is an important issue.

Qualified immunity protects government officials, including police officers, from proceedings. This means that proceedings can only be filed if the infringement is already “clearly established”.

“Civil rights plaintiffs not only show that their rights have been infringed, but also make advance judicial decisions in jurisdictions where the rights of others have been infringed in much the same way,” said researcher Jay Schweikart. I need to find it. ” In a project at the Cato Institute on criminal justice.

This concept is not written in US law. Rather, it is the result of a court ruling.

Opponents argue that it prevents the general public from retaining law enforcement officers responsible for their actions — this happens in most other professions.

“Given that professionals work, we recognize that mistakes sometimes occur, so we need to insure certain professionals,” says Law Professor and Villanova University. “That’s why we all have car insurance because we know that an accident will happen.”

Proponents are worried that without limited immunity, courts could get stuck in a swarm of proceedings and police officers might be afraid to do their job.

However, Colorado has shown that the results may not be so extreme. 2020, state Eliminate limited immunity For most of the police officers, they are individually liable for up to $ 25,000.

“There were several proceedings filed under this new provision, but some defenders of the limited immunity did not predict a flood of frivolous proceedings,” Schweikart said. ..

One of the compromises that lawmakers are considering is to change the provisions to hold the department accountable in civil proceedings rather than individual officers.

“If you do that in law enforcement, your employer will change the culture. Not one officer will change or not, but the department will take on more of that burden, so all officers will change.” Said Senator Tim. Scott, Republican of South Carolina.

However, Jay Schweikert of the Libertarian CATO Institute states that departmental responsibilities only work in connection with individual responsibilities.

“In essence, I’m telling the public that I’ve heard your complaints about the illegal activity of police officers,” Schweikart said. “I’m going to say that it’s impossible to hold individual officers accountable accordingly, but don’t worry, taxpayers are financially at stake because of all their misconduct. Will be. “

But that’s already happening. A Study published in 2014 It turns out that police officers rarely contribute to judgments and settlements against them in civil rights proceedings. In more than 9,200 cases investigated, police officers paid only .02% of the total amount given to plaintiffs.

Teri Ravenel, a law professor at Villanova University, said the debate over the change in limited immunity should be taken with plaintiffs in mind, especially when considering who will ultimately submit the bill.

“When we are actually talking about damages, they often suffer some real or real injury, so if they are not compensated, the loss will fall on them,” Ravenel said. Said.

As is understood today, it was the 1982 Supreme Court ruling that set the precedent for limited immunity. Since then, courts have tried dozens of proceedings dealing with this doctrine, but only a handful of plaintiffs have convinced judges that limited immunity should not be applied.

This story was originally published by Stephanie Liebergen for Newsy.

What is qualified immunity, and how might lawmakers change it? Source link What is qualified immunity, and how might lawmakers change it?

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