Supreme Court Qualified Immunity Win for Police Officer

Each term the Supreme Court reverses a number of lower court decisions denying police officers qualified immunity. White v. Pauly is the first of such cases this term. It is a win for law enforcement (which could have been bigger).

The Supreme Court issued a unanimous per curiam (unauthored) opinion overturning a lower court’s denial of qualified immunity to a police officer in an excessive force case. White v. Pauly was decided without oral argument.

Police officers went to Daniel Pauly’s house to get his side of the story that he was drunk driving. Daniel and his brother Samuel claim the officers stated they were coming in the house but failed to identify themselves as police officers. Officer Ray White arrived after the officers (inadequately) announced themselves. He hide behind a stone wall after hearing one of the brothers say “we have guns.” Daniel fired shots and Samuel pointed a gun at another officer. Officer White shot and killed Samuel.

(Read more: NLC)