States Lead the Way on QI Reform

States lead the way on qualified immunity (QI) reform. On August 6, USA Today’s Editorial Board published an op-ed. In it, they discuss QI reform. Particularly, state-based efforts to repeal the doctrine. The Board’s view: “For good police officers to regain public trust, allow lawsuits in state court charging that state, rather than federal, civil rights were violated.”

Last month, USA Today’s Editorial Board came out against QI. They strongly oppose the court-created rule. For example, they call the doctrine “a bizarre defense.” In addition, they say it’s “ridiculous.”

Their latest piece focuses on how state-based measures to stop QI surge as federal efforts to abolish the doctrine stall. Furthermore, these states could make a real impact on police accountability nationwide.

As USA Today indicates, some states have passed “strong laws” that hold bad cops accountable. Specifically, Colorado and New Mexico. Both have eliminated qualified immunity. The periodical’s editorial board applauds these states. 

Meanwhile, California currently seeks to “fix [its policing] problems.” USA Today says that the Golden State’s QI-busting bill, SB 2, “will likely face a vote in the California Assembly.” This bill has promise. 

“While states can’t change federal law,” USA Today notes, “they can provide new avenues for victims and families to sue.” New avenues toward real solutions. Clearly, Colorado and New Mexico set a powerful example. They lead the way on QI reform. Plus, California—the most populous state in the nation—could be next. Other states take notice. Ultimately, these localized efforts offer a great boost for the national cause. 

“If more states were to follow New Mexico and Colorado’s lead, good police officers could regain the trust and confidence that law enforcement so desperately needs,” USA Today’s Editorial Board concludes.

Read the entire USA Today editorial on states leading the way on QI reform here.