Johnson v. Jones

515 U.S. 304 (1995)

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Johnson v. Jones

United States Supreme Court
515 U.S. 304 (1995)

  • Written by Whitney Kamerzel , JD

Facts

Houston Jones (plaintiff) was having a diabetic seizure on the street when police officers (defendants) found Jones, thought he was drunk, and arrested him. Jones woke up in a hospital with broken ribs from the officers. Jones sued the officers in federal district court, alleging they had used excessive force and beaten him at the police station. Several of the officers argued that although they were near Jones’s room at the police station, Jones had no evidence that the officers physically touched Jones. The officers therefore filed for summary judgment based on their qualified immunity. The district court denied the officers’ motion, holding that the law at the time permitted the officers’ liability even if they merely stood by and watched other officers beat Jones. The officers tried to appeal the district court’s decision. However, the court of appeals refused to reconsider the issue of the officers’ entitlement to qualified immunity based on Jones’s sufficiency of evidence. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Breyer, J.)

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