Utah Attorney General’s Office Files Amicus Brief in Wesby [UPH Wire]

Utah Attorney General’s Office Files Amicus Brief in Wesby
17 States join amicus brief regarding qualified immunity for law
enforcement officers
SALT LAKE CITY July 11, 2016 – Joined by 17 states, Utah filed an amicus
brief in District of Columbia v. Wesby, a case presenting important
questions about qualified immunity for law enforcement officers. The
defendants in Wesby are police officers in Washington, D.C. who were sued
after they arrested suspects for trespassing in a vacant home at 3:00 AM on
a Sunday morning after police confirmed that none of the suspects had
permission to be in the home.
“The doctrine of qualified immunity balances two important interests:
protecting individuals’ constitutional rights and avoiding improper
interference with governmental functions,” said Attorney General Sean
Reyes. “This amicus brief sends a strong message on behalf of a diverse
coalition of 18 states. Courts that misapply the doctrine of qualified
immunity — like the D.C. Circuit did here — upset this balance, with
potentially dire real-world consequences for states and their officials,
and thus ultimately for society as a whole.”
Utah filed the amicus brief because of the significant interest the states
have in ensuring that lower federal courts properly apply qualified
immunity, especially in cases relating to police officers. The doctrine of
qualified immunity protects government officials from liability for civil
damages as long as the conduct does not violate statutory or constitutional
rights that a reasonable person would have known. Law enforcement
officers, the amicus argues, are protected by qualified immunity from suit
when making decisions that reasonably misapprehend the law governing the
circumstances they confront. In other words, a law enforcement officer
should be no more liable than other officials making analogous
determinations in other areas of law.
The amicus brief is attached.
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Daniel Burton
Director of Communications/Government Records
Office of the Utah Attorney General
Mobile: 801-386-6830
*Follow us on Twitter @UtahAG*
pdf icon 15-1485-tsac-Utah.pdf

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