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News & Events

Anyone interested in qualified immunity must pay close attention to New Mexico, which passed an act effectively ending qualified immunity in 2021. New Mexico Law Review held a terrific symposium about the statute, and the symposium issue (with my keynote) is out now. The entire symposium issue is at: https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/nmlr/ and my keynote is here: https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/nmlr/vol54/iss2/3/





In addition to the articles, the symposium was terrific - a panel of legislators & commissioners spoke about getting the bill passed & another panel was lawyers who litigate these novel claims. Those thinking about enacting similar statutes must watch: https://nmlr.unm.edu/special-content/index.html.


I am over the moon that my book, Shielded: How the Police Became Untouchable, has won the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel award.


The award is meant to recognize works “exemplary in fostering the American public’s understanding of law and the legal system,” and that is just what I aimed to do with Shielded - explain the many legal & bureaucratic barriers that make it so difficult for people wronged by police to get justice in the courts.


I describe these barriers and their impact through the stories of people whose lives were upended by police misconduct and then upended again by the courts. Learn about them on my website here, or in interviews I did on Fresh Air and Strict Scrutiny - or, heck, just get the book at bit.ly/ShieldedBook.


The other amazing finalists for this award illuminate the criminal legal system, the Supreme Court’s shadow docket, campaign $, free speech, FDR’s Supreme Court, and the Espionage Act - you should read them all too. https://www.americanbar.org/news/abanews/aba-news-archives/2024/03/aba-names-silver-gavel-finalists/ I am honored to be in their company. And thanks to the ABA for this award! 




Judge Carleton Reeves of the Southern District of Mississippi is one of the most eloquent and powerful critics of qualified immunity doctrine on the bench. His 2020 decision in Jameson v. McClendon was breathtaking. It's power and beauty has been matched by a decision Judge Reeves issued May 20 in Green v. Thomas. Judge Reeves denies defendants qualified immunity, concluding that they violated clearly established law. Yet he goes further, demonstrating why qualified immunity is unsupportable as a matter of history, text, and policy. He additionally argues that any concerns about overturning settled law--referred to as stare decisis--ring hollow after the Court's decision in Dobbs, overturning Roe v. Wade. I'm honored that Judge Reeves has relied upon my research about the lack of convincing policy justifications for qualified immunity in his decision.




You can read the entire decision here:

Green v. Thomas
.pdf
Download PDF • 555KB

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