Published on: Tuesday, May 7, 2024

"For those who worry that qualified immunity can be invoked under absurd circumstances: Buckle up." From that opening line, you can correctly predict the Fifth Circuit is digusted by these Houston police officers who arrested a Good Samaritan while letting a dangerous drunk driver go, and then "[p]iling insanity on irrationality," submitted a wildly misleading affidavit to kick off a baseless prosecution. Seriously! Good Samaritan was jailed for over 24 hours and charged with felony impersonation of a peace officer. He faced a minimum sentence of two years behind bars and up to 10 years in prison — but the case was dismissed nearly three months later. Cops claim qualified immunity. Fifth Circuit: No way. (Your humble summarist's query: Why again do such "absurd" invocations of qualified immunity get a rare and special right to interlocutory appeals, adding years to litigation?)

The case is Hughes v. Michael Garcia and Joshua Few, 22-20621 (5th Cir. May 3, 2024).