Use of Taser Unconstitutional, Though Not Clearly So in 2005

Are Tasers such alien devices that someone couldn't understand why using them without good reason would be unreasonable?  If I can't club you, punch you, kick you, pepper spray you, or choke you: Why should I be able to Taser you?  One needn't have a perfect SAT score to analogize a Taser to other pain-inflicting devices.

Early one morning in the summer of 2005, Officer Brian MacPherson deployed his taser against Carl Bryan during a traffic stop for a seatbelt infraction. Bryan filed this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, asserting excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Officer MacPherson appeals the denial of his motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity. We affirm the district court in part because, viewing the circumstances in the light most favorable to Bryan, Officer MacPherson’s use of the taser was unconstitutionally excessive. However, we reverse in part because the violation of Bryan’s constitutional rights was not clearly established at the time that Officer MacPherson fired his taser at Bryan on July 24, 2005.
Bryan v. McPherson (CA9) (here).  Because this case was decided on qualified immunity, the lawyer won't get paid.

1 comments:

  Kevin

10:11 AM

I'm a little confused because this the exact same three judge panel that came out the other way in December 2009? Was the opinion recalled or reconsidered? Sorry ... I don't understand appellate procedure too well.