Immunity and Accountability

Villarreal v. Laredo

Brief Details

Echoing (and quoting) IJ’s amicus brief, the Fifth Circuit held that police and other officials are not entitled to qualified immunity when they commit obvious constitutional violations, even if they try to justify their actions under an obviously unconstitutional statute. So citizen-journalist Priscilla Villarreal will get her day in court. The Fifth Circuit rightly recognized that local officials committed obvious violations of the First Amendment’s free speech guarantee and the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable seizure when they arrested and prosecuted Villarreal for engaging in the everyday newsgathering activity of asking questions to a government official.