Nahmod Law

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San Francisco v. Sheehan: New Supreme Court Qualified Immunity Decision Dealing with Shooting the Mentally Disturbed (ADA Issue Not Reached)

In its 2014 Term, the Supreme Court handed down a qualified immunity decision dealing with the shooting of a mentally disturbed woman. As has become the norm in recent qualified immunity cases before the Court, the police officers prevailed.

San Francisco v. Sheehan

San Francisco v. Sheehan, 135 S. Ct. 1765 (2015), involved the near-fatal shooting of a mentally disturbed woman in a group home in August 2008. When the officers initially entered her room, she grabbed a kitchen knife and told them to leave, which they did. After conferring, they then re-entered her room by forcing open the door and blinding her with pepper spray. However, she continued to resist with her knife, so they shot her repeatedly.

Although the Supreme Court had granted certiorari to decide whether the Americans with Disabilities Act required the officers to “accommodate” the plaintiff’s disability, the Court did not address that question because it was not properly raised by San Francisco. Instead, reversing the Ninth Circuit, the Court ruled that the officers were protected by qualified immunity from § 1983 Fourth Amendment liability because there was no clearly established law prohibiting this conduct.

The Court rejected the Ninth Circuit’s contrary qualified immunity holding that its precedents would have placed “any reasonable, competent officer on notice that it is unreasonable to forcibly enter the home of an armed, mentally ill suspect who had been acting irrationally and had threatened anyone who entered when there was no objective need for immediate entry.”

But even assuming that was true, the Court continued, no precedent clearly established that there was not “an objective need for immediate entry” here. “[A]n officer could not know that reopening [plaintiff’s] door to prevent her from escaping or gathering more weapons would violate the Ninth Circuit’s test, even if all the disputed facts are viewed in respondent’s favor.”

Justices Scalia and Kagan concurred in part and dissented in part, maintaining that the Court should not have addressed the qualified immunity issue.

Comment

The Supreme Court did not defer to the Ninth Circuit’s understanding of its own Fourth Amendment precedents  as to the general rule in such cases.

Similarly, the Court did not defer to the Ninth Circuit’s application of its “objective need for immediate entry” criterion.

 

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Written by snahmod

June 17, 2015 at 2:04 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2014 in review

Happy New Year to all of my readers.

WordPress sent me this summary of 2014 views of nahmodlaw.com.

One thing I found of interest was the fact that many views were of older posts on First Amendment, constitutional law and section 1983. I intended this blog to have educational durability and that seems to be the case, which is gratifying.

I thank you all.

Sheldon Nahmod

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

Madison Square Garden can seat 20,000 people for a concert. This blog was viewed about 66,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Madison Square Garden, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Written by snahmod

January 1, 2015 at 10:32 am

Posted in Uncategorized

All My Videos: Constitutional Law, Section 1983 and SCOTUS

My videos–some lengthy, some relatively brief–on constitutional law (including the First and Second Amendments), section 1983 and the Supreme Court, are now available in one place on Youtube right here:  https://www.youtube.com/user/ChicagoKentLaw/playlists?sort=dd&shelf_id=12&view=50

Check them out and let me know what you think. Email me: snahmod@kentlaw.edu.

Thanks to Chicago-Kent techies for setting this up and thanks to you for visiting my blog.

Follow me on Twitter @NahmodLaw

Written by snahmod

July 29, 2014 at 10:50 am

Posted in Uncategorized

A Short Video on Lane v. Franks

I blogged on January 20, 2014, about Lane v. Franks, the public employee free speech case currently before the Supreme Court, scheduled to be argued on April 28, 2014.

Here is a five-minute video on the case: http://youtu.be/3bKstfw0jRM

I hope you find it informative.

 

Follow me on Twitter @NahmodLaw

Written by snahmod

April 25, 2014 at 10:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 38,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Written by snahmod

December 31, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Blog on Break

I will be grading exams and papers and then taking a vacation. The blog will return next year.

All the best to my readers.

Sheldon

Written by snahmod

December 16, 2013 at 5:48 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Follow me on Twitter: @NahmodLaw

I am now tweeting on Twitter. My handle is @NahmodLaw.

Most of my tweets will be related to section 1983, constitutional law and the First Amendment, the subjects of this blog.

However, my tweets will occasionally cover other subjects.

I hope you follow me.

Thanks.

Written by snahmod

July 22, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Posted in Uncategorized