New Mexico Ends Qualified Immunity Defense for all Public Officials
New Mexico took a big step toward protecting its citizen’s rights and tackling the pernicious problem of qualified immunity with the enactment of the New Mexico Civil Rights Act.
According to the Cato Institute’s Jay Schweikert, the…
…landmark piece of legislation creates a state‐law cause of action against any public official who violates someone’s rights under the New Mexico State Constitution, and it specifically provides that qualified immunity is not available as a defense.
Not just cops – but any official. It doesn’t end qualified immunity – that’s still a defense officials can use in federal court. But as Schweikert notes, the new law is a big step forward for civil libertarians:
[the new law] gets the most fundamental policy judgment exactly right: a citizen whose rights are violated will get a complete remedy, and qualified immunity will not stand in the way. New Mexico has therefore made history as the first state to enact legislative qualified immunity reform for all public officials.
Let’s hope more state lawmakers have the courage to stand up for the rights and constitutions they swear to protect and enact similar legislation.