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Qualified Immunity Petition at the Supreme Court

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Knuckle Dragger, Mar 14, 2019 at 12:04 PM.

  1. Knuckle Dragger

    Knuckle Dragger NES Member

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    Hot off the docket. Josh Blackman calls this a 'strong vehicle' for the court to reconsider qualified immunity. QI has been under attack in some of the lower courts, but to date, SCOTUS has been standing by it. Let's see what happens:

    I.B. AND JANE DOE, v. APRIL WOODARD, ET AL.

    QUESTIONS PRESENTED:

    Petitioner I.B. was four years old when respondent Woodard, a state caseworker, strip-searched and photographed her at preschool. Woodard had neither a warrant nor parental consent. All she had was a report making unfounded abuse allegations—specifically, of various marks or bruises on I.B. And a narrower, initial search of I.B. (or even looking at areas of I.B.’s body in plain view) readily would have disproven these allegations. Woodard eventually acknowledged that no marks on I.B.’s body were consistent with the unfounded allegations. Woodard then lied about the incident to I.B.’s mother, petitioner Jane Doe, for weeks.

    A divided Tenth Circuit panel affirmed the dismissal of petitioners’ Fourth Amendment claims on qualified-immunity grounds.

    The questions presented are:
    1. Whether the Fourth Amendment requires a caseworker who suspects abuse to obtain a warrant to stripsearch a child, an issue that has produced an acknowledged 4-2 circuit split—and is nearly identical to the issue this Court granted certiorari on but did not resolve in Camreta v. Greene, 563 U.S. 692, 698 (2011).
    2. Even if a warrant is not required in this context, whether clearly established law prohibits conducting warrantless strip searches of children at school where there are no “specific suspicions” of danger or wrongdoing justifying the “categorically extreme intrusiveness of a search down to the body.” Safford Unified Sch. Dist. No. 1 v. Redding, 557 U.S. 364, 376-377 (2009).
    3. Whether this Court should reconsider its qualified immunity jurisprudence to accord with historical commonlaw practice and to eliminate the widespread confusion plaguing current qualified-immunity doctrine.
     

  2. Dennis in MA

    Dennis in MA NES Member

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    Tough call. In THIS case, it's pretty obvious. Caseworker was a total tool LOOKING for problems. Reminds me of those people who would hold autistic (or something) people's hands to direct them to the keyboard. Facilitators. Turns out all sorts of abuse was alleged by the patients. In tests, it turns out it was 100% the facilitators directing the fingers, not the patients. LOOKING for problems.

    BUT. . . . . . . . . it could bog down the courts with a metric butt-ton of lawsuits that are completely unfounded. Look at all that prisoners can do today. I'm not saying they SHOULDN'T, but there needs to be a system in place that can shut down frivolous court actions and save this for those who shouldn't HAVE QI.
     
  3. milktree

    milktree NES Member

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    Would a SCOTUS smack-down likely extend to all absurd QI cases (like so many police abuse cases), or would is it more likely limited to protective services with kids (or some other subset)?
     
  4. Bonesinium

    Bonesinium NES Member

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    Based on the SCOTUS cases I’ve read, it seems like they give extremely tailored rulings that ultimately don’t have any broad applications. I’d guess that even if they rule this a violation where qualified immunity doesn’t apply it will have a limited to non existent impact on most cases.

    Qualified immunity is one of the biggest, or at least one of the most obvious perversions of justice and the Constitution there is.

    Things like the 4th Amendment are suppose to apply SPECIFICALLY to government employees like law enforcement, so giving those people immunity when they violate those rights is assinine.

    I don’t have high hopes here.

    I mean as it is now, lower courts actually felt strip searching and photographing toddlers and lying about it isn’t something worth holding accountable for.
    Never mind the fact guardians of toddlers have had to fight criminal charges for child pornography because they’ve taken photos or videos of their kids taking a bath and stuff.

    More examples of how the entire system, from the courts down, are corrupt.
     
  5. GM-GUY

    GM-GUY NES Member

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    If someone, anyone, did what has been admitted to in the OP to one of my kids?....

    Qualified Immunity, armed guards, moving out of state, out of the country wouldn’t give them any protection.
     
  6. jkelly1229

    jkelly1229

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    Right lol and good luck to the next social worker who comes to take them away
     
  7. Chevy 2 65

    Chevy 2 65 NES Member

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    Get a warrant. Period
     
    Howland likes this.
  8. Drix

    Drix

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    In college every person I knew that wanted to be a social worker had some pretty f***ed up problems of their own. The most glorious thing I ever saw was my drunk room-mate telling a drunk borderline and bipolar girl who liked not taking her meds but wanted to get her masters and help institutionalized youth that it was "the nut leading the nuthouse".

    Holy shit, I thought someone was going to die that night. It was by far the most terrifyingly hysterical thing I've ever seen. But that one case aside my takeaway is the people that gravitate towards these positions do so because its what they know, its admirable that they want to do better than what they experienced, but at the same time there's a lot of baggage being brought to the table.

    The nutcase now has her masters.
     
  9. Dennis in MA

    Dennis in MA NES Member

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    Oh no question. It’s the classic, “I need help, maybe I could learn and then help others” scenario. Problem is, they never get enough help so they are walking wounded dealing with the walking wounded.
     

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