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Brosseau v. Haugen

Close Date: 12/13/2004
Topic(s): Qualified Immunity and Sovereign Immunity
Status: closed
Docket: 03-1261


  1. Whether a police officer’s acts are "objectively reasonable" and therefore do not violate a fleeing felon’s right to be free from unlawful "seizure" under the Fourth Amendment when the officer makes a split-second decision to shoot the felon to protect the lives of fellow officers and specific at-risk persons because it appears to the officer the suspect is about to drive in a manner which puts them at serious risk?
  2. When at the time of an incident, neither this Court nor any circuit court had ruled the Fourth Amendment is violated when an officer uses deadly force to protect innocent persons from the risk of dangerous vehicular flight by a felon, is the law "clearly established" and thus the officer properly denied qualified immunity from civil rights liability?

Bonnie Robin-Vergeer of Public Citizen represented the respondent on the merits, and the Supreme Court summarily reversed.