Nevada’s Top Court Says Cops Can Now Be Sued For Rights Violations, Won’t Have Access To Qualified Immunity – IOTW Report

Nevada’s Top Court Says Cops Can Now Be Sued For Rights Violations, Won’t Have Access To Qualified Immunity


Cops in Nevada had better start behaving. The state’s Supreme Court has handed down a ruling that not only guarantees residents the right to sue under state law, but won’t allow officers to easily escape lawsuits by asking for qualified immunity.

Here’s the background of the case, as summarized by Nick Sibilla at Forbes:

What became a pivotal ruling for civil rights started because Sonja Mack just wanted to see her boyfriend. Back in 2017, Mack traveled to High Desert State Prison to visit her partner, who was then behind bars. While waiting, Mack said she was approached by two correctional officers, who then conducted a “demeaning and humiliating” strip search of Mack. Even though officers didn’t find any drugs or contraband, the prison still banned Mack from seeing her boyfriend and revoked her visitation privileges.

Mack sued, arguing that being strip searched violated her rights under the Nevada Constitution.

The problem facing Mack is that the Nevada legislature had never passed a law that expressly granted residents a right to sue government employees at the state level for constitutional violations. And no court had apparently been asked in a persuasive way to do what the state legislature had failed to do.

The defendant, the Nevada Department of Corrections, argued the lack of legislation meant only the state could punish corrections officers for civil rights violations. Fortunately, the state Supreme Court disagrees.

[W]e reject the NDOC parties’ assertion that state tort law provides meaningful redress for invasions of the constitutional right at issue here. Although other courts have determined tort remedies suffice to compensate for personal invasions of certain constitutional rights[…] we disagree that any commonalities between state tort-law claims and constitutional protections… provide meaningful recourse for violations of the constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures by government agents, as state tort law ultimately protects and serves different interests than such constitutional guarantees.

The NDOC thinks everything should be limited to tort law, which really doesn’t cover constitutional violations. The government would apparently prefer it never be held responsible for violating rights. The court says that’s not acceptable.

Absent a damages remedy here, no mechanism exists to deter or prevent violations of important individual rights in situations like that allegedly experienced by Mack. Thus, a damages remedy is warranted under this factor of the Restatement test, as monetary relief remains necessary to enforce the provision for individuals in Macks shoes, and a damages remedy furthers the purpose of the search-and seizure provision to the extent it acts as a deterrent to government illegality.


16 Comments on Nevada’s Top Court Says Cops Can Now Be Sued For Rights Violations, Won’t Have Access To Qualified Immunity

  1. Bye Bye Nevada.

    Saw Vegas.
    Don’t Gamble.
    Ain’t Going Back.

    Apologies to those that live & ride down there, but this ain’t good.

  2. The po po should announce: We are no longer in the “crime prevention” business. we will respond to a crime scene after everything and every one has calmed down to take a report but only after all those that are on the scene sign a waiver.

    After that announcement someone should leak the address of the court members who ruled for this insanity.

  3. How’s this different than any other state? I’d have to do some more digging, but typically (in other states) when a cop violates constitutional rights (that they took an oath to uphold), they lose qualified immunity and can be held personally liable should someone pursue it in court. I’ve seen tyrannical cops all over the country get sued this exact same way especially for 4A violations. IMO it’s the way it should be, if you can’t do your job and hide behind the thin blue line gang mentality like a tyrannical thug, you should pay for it. Cops are law enforcement and have no authority outside of that.

  4. for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.
    Thomas Paine. Common Sense.

  5. I find it’s mostly young, overly gung ho cops who carry things too far in our area. Prison guards are another matter. G. Gordon Liddy used to talk about how dumb most were. The guards in the DC jail are getting away with abusing the J6 prisoners.

    They should all wear body cameras.

  6. Doc John,

    My friend Joe Biden makes billions of dollars selling secrets to China.
    Joe say’s your $16000 is chump-change.

  7. Unless it covers politicians and judges, as well, it’s complete bullshit.

    mortem tyrannis
    izlamo delenda est …

  8. NO ONE should be “immune” from his decisions and acts (see Big Pharma, for instance).
    This is partly why America is turning to shit right before our very eyes.

    Criminals, corrupt politicians, usurpers, traitors, amoral maggots, and perverts are infesting our “ruling” caste with absolute impunity. The infestation has even spread to local school boards. As long as they are “immune” they will continue to rampage over our rights and liberties.

    mortem tyrannis
    izlamo delenda est …

  9. This is good, but the same reasoning now needs to be applied for cases of constitutional rights violations by prosecutors and judges.

    And while they’re at it, take a closer look at the outrageous practice of “asset forfeiture”. The 5th Amendment says, in part,

    No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

  10. This ruling was not only correct, it was past due. For way too long cops have gotten away with “criminal” civil rights abuses all the while hiding behind the shield of qualified immunity.

    The Constitution provides us all with protections, protections against unreasonable searches, incriminations, freedom of movement and speech, to be secure in our papers (No ID unless a crime has been committed or suspected), and the cops are the first wave of attack used by an overreaching government to abuse these rights.

    That first line was correct,” Cops in Nevada had better start behaving”. Whether they need to extend their training period or do a better job vetting their applicants, too many thugs are out there wearing badges, getting away with clear violations of our civil liberties.

    And yes, it should go all the way up the food chain, D.A.s, judges, the whole lot.


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