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On June 22, 2015, the Supreme Court decided Kingsley v. Hendrickson. The central question in this case was whether, to prove an excessive force claim brought by a pretrial detainee against several jail officers, the detainee must show that the officers were subjectively aware that their use of force was unreasonable, or simply that the officers’ use of that force was objectively unreasonable. 

In an opinion delivered by Justice Breyer, the Supreme Court held by a vote of 5-4 that the detainee needed to show only that the officers’ use of force was objectively unreasonable.

Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan joined Justice Breyer’s opinion for the Court. Justice Scalia filed a dissenting opinion in which Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Thomas joined. Justice Alito also filed a dissenting opinion. The judgment of the Seventh Circuit was vacated and the case remanded.

To discuss the case, we have Joshua A. Skinner, who is an Attorney at Fanning Harper Martinson Brandt & Kutchin, P.C., in Dallas Texas.

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