Today, the Court heard argument in Kingsley v. Hendrickson, a case about excessive force claims raised by pre-trial detainees. The basic question is whether a subjective or objective standard should govern these claims, but the Court spent a significant amount of the argument just trying to identify the practical ramifications of this choice. At times, it seemed that the Court was trying to choose between clarifying the fundamental principles in this area and simply dispensing with the case at hand on narrow doctrinal grounds. At the end of the argument, the result seemed uncertain.
Wendy M. Ward for petitioner (Art Lien)
Here’s the basic situation. (For a somewhat more detailed explanation, check out my argument preview.) Kingsley claims that, while he was in jail awaiting trial, a number of jail officers gratuitously tased him, even though he was compliant