Some People Can’t Stand This

If you are not subscribed to the weekly Short Circuit summary of interesting (primarily) appellate cases, then you ma be missing a lot of summaries about important cases involving civil liberties, especially (these days) strange affirmances by courts of appeal of qualified immunity decisions in police violence cases. Sample:

Coleman County, Tex. jailer watches a suicidal man wrap a phone cord around his neck and pass out. Instead of calling 911, the jailer calls his boss, who arrives ten minutes later. Only then does the jailer enter the cell, unwrap the cord, and call paramedics—but neither try to resuscitate the man, who dies. Fifth Circuit: Qualified immunity. Dissent: “Qualified immunity is not the judicial equivalent of the Armor of Achilles, an impenetrable shield that governmental actors can wield to insulate themselves from liability no matter how flagrant their conduct.”

You are certainly missing out on consistently dark, or at least grey, humor such as this:

Gov’t contractor affixes ankle monitor to one-legged man waiting to stand trial on gun charge. Guess which leg. While the man’s prosthesis and monitor stay at home, he commits a murder. Can the victim’s family sue the gov’t under the Federal Tort Claims Act for negligently hiring the contractor—a company knee-deep in litigation for a history of falling down on the job? D.C. District Court: No.

And yes, both the court and Short Circuit had the good grace not to suggest that plaintiffs did not have a leg to stand on.

I’m not 100% on board with the sponsoring organization, the Institute for Justice, but it’s often out there where libertarianism meets liberalism, so there’s considerable common ground. And the newsletter is consistently good.

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