CA9: The “shocking the conscience” standard is higher than the 4A standard for use of force

The “shocking the conscience” standard is way higher than the Fourth Amendment standard in excessive force cases. “The plaintiffs’ Fourteenth Amendment claim requires that the officers’ conduct ‘shocks the conscience’—a standard that is more demanding of the plaintiffs than the Fourth Amendment standard typically applicable in police shooting cases. Because the officers here did not have time to deliberate before firing, the district court correctly applied the purpose-to-harm test to determine if the officers’ conduct shocks the conscience. The court correctly concluded that under that test, the conduct did not violate the plaintiffs’ Fourteenth Amendment rights. The officers’ actions instead reflect their attempts to satisfy legitimate law enforcement objectives: apprehension of an armed, dangerous suspect and protection of the safety of the officers, the home’s inhabitants, and the public. The district court’s grant of summary judgment is AFFIRMED.” Ochoa v. City of Mesa, 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 5240 (9th Cir. Feb. 28, 2022).

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