Is qualified immunity a narrow doctrine focused on protecting the police when they make “split second decisions”? If you listen to its defenders you would get that impression. The reality is far, far different. And IJ now has the stats to back that up. In this special episode, we welcome on IJ’s Bob McNamara and data scientist Jason Tiezzi to discuss a new report Unaccountable: How Qualified Immunity Shields a Wide Range of Government Abuses, Arbitrarily Thwarts Civil Rights, and Fails to Fulfill Its Promises. It presents an analysis of over 7,000 federal appellate decisions over an eleven-year period and tells us a lot about how qualified immunity actually works in practice. We dig into many of its findings, such as that only 27% of appeals where qualified immunity was at issue involved excessive force. And that almost one in five qualified immunity appeals involved First Amendment claims. Listen in to hear the details, including about how this massive study was put together. And click below in the show notes to read the report itself.


Unaccountable finds qualified immunity hobbles victims of government abuses like these and fails to accomplish the goals supporters claim it’s needed to achieve, strengthening the case for ending the doctrine.

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