By any measure, the conditions that Lee Saunders endured in the psych unit at the Brevard County jail in Florida were shockingly inhumane. But when he sued over the overcrowding, abusive treatment, and denial of basic sanitation, the courts ruled that the officer in charge was immune from suit. On this episode, we explore the state of qualified immunity doctrine today and whether the Supreme Court’s justifications for its policy of shielding officials from suit—even when they have violated the Constitution—hold water.

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Joanna Schwartz, UCLA Law

Robert McNamara, Institute for Justice

Elizabeth Cruikshank, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe

Tiffany Wright, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe

Coleman Watson, Watson LLP