“Fresno, Calif. police seize cash pursuant to a search warrant, give property owners an inventory sheet stating they seized $50k. Allegation: The cops actually seized $276k, stole the difference. Ninth Circuit: It isn’t clearly established that cops can’t steal things they’ve seized with a search warrant, so they get qualified immunity.” [Institute for Justice “Short Circuit” on Jessop v. City of Fresno]
In other news, the Cato Institute together with a dozen other groups has filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to review a divided Tenth Circuit holding that qualified immunity forbids suit against a state caseworker who conducted a warrantless and nonconsensual strip search of a four year old girl at her preschool based on unfounded abuse allegations. My colleague calls the qualified immunity doctrine “an atextual, ahistorical doctrine invented by the Supreme Court in the 1960s, which shields government agents from liability for misconduct – even when they break the law.” [Jay Schweikert, Cato on Doe v. Woodard] More: Federalist Society debate on qualified immunity between Will Baude and Christopher Walker.