US Supreme Court Tolan v Cotton

Discussion in 'Legal & Political Archive' started by RicInOR, May 7, 2014.

  1. RicInOR

    Washington County
    I aim to misbehave Silver Supporter

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    "In shocking, limousine-liberal, anti-American opinion, SCOTUS says that just maybe, under the right circumstances, occasionally, with the right proof, perhaps cops can't shoot unarmed people with complete impunity every time, sort of." -- Popehat

    "During the early morning hours of New Year’s Eve,2008, police sergeant Jeffrey Cotton fired three bullets at Robert Tolan; one of those bullets hit its target and punctured Tolan’s right lung. At the time of the shooting,Tolan was unarmed on his parents’ front porch about 15 to20 feet away from Cotton. Tolan sued, alleging that Cotton had exercised excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The District Court granted summary judgment to Cotton, and the Fifth Circuit affirmed, reasoning that regardless of whether Cotton used excessive force, he was entitled to qualified immunity because he did not violate any clearly established right. 713 F. 3d 299 (2013).In articulating the factual context of the case, the Fifth Circuit failed to adhere to the axiom that in ruling on a motion for summary judgment, “[t]he evidence of the nonmovant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U. S. 242, 255 (1986). For that reason, we vacate its decision and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion."

    While not resolved, at least as far as Tolan is concerned, he will get his day in civil court.

    I didn't include them, due to the length, read the first couple of pages for the non-disputed account. The differences between the officer Cotton, and the victim Tolan, start on page 3. This case is another justification for officers to have body and dash cams. Those differences could mean the officers should face criminal charges, beyond this civil action.

    I highlighted part because I am opposed to qualified immunity to police officers. If they cannot defend what the did, then just like the rest of us, they need to face investigation - prosecution.
    Regardless if he Used Excessive Force, the officer is Entitled to Qualified Immunity, Because did not Violate a Clearly Established Right.
    • That is it is OK for an officer to use Excessive Force?!

    I don't think the officer would be making this argument, Qualified Immunity, if Tolan was in a position to threaten the officer's safety and the partner was not in a position to control that threat - that is the officer had no other, reasonable, choice. A civilian would probably be expected to back up, or leave, as they were outside, something we don't expect our police to do. Had the officer truly been threatened, would he argue Justified Shooting, with his partner to back that up, (along with any dash-cam footage).

    But I'll claim a win, small maybe, as this puts the brakes on QI.
    Last edited: May 8, 2014
  2. 2506

    Well-Known Member

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    I don't know about you guys, but this SCOTUS scares the heck out of me. They've done more to erode our rights and flush the U.S. Constitution and First Amendment down the toilet, turning our democracy into an oligarchy. Presidents can do a lot of damage in 4 to 8 years, but these clowns are here for their lifetime.

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