Volume 89, Number 3

June 2014

Police Indemnification

Joanna C. Schwartz

This Article empirically examines an issue central to judicial and scholarly debate about civil rights damages actions: whether law enforcement officials are financially responsible for settlements and judgments in police misconduct cases. The Supreme Court has long assumed that law enforcement officers must personally satisfy settlements and judgments, and has limited individual and government liability in civil rights damages actions—through qualified immunity doctrine, municipal liability standards, and limitations on punitive damages—based in part on this assumption. Scholars disagree about the prevalence of indemnification: Some believe officers almost always satisfy settlements and judgments against them, and others contend indemnification is not a certainty. In this Article, I report the findings of a national study of police indemnification. Through public records requests, interviews, and other sources, I have collected information about indemnification practices in forty-four of the largest law enforcement agencies across the country, and in thirty-seven small and mid-sized agencies. My study reveals that police officers are virtually always indemnified: During the study period, governments paid approximately 99.98% of the dollars that plaintiffs recovered in lawsuits alleging civil rights violations by law enforcement. Law enforcement officers in my study never satisfied a punitive damages award entered against them and almost never contributed anything to settlements or judgments—even when indemnification was prohibited by law or policy, and even when officers were disciplined, terminated, or prosecuted for their conduct. After describing my findings, this Article considers the implications of widespread indemnification for qualified immunity, municipal liability, and punitive damages doctrines; civil rights litigation practice; and the deterrence and compensation goals of 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

Counterterrorism and New Deterrence

Samuel J. Rascoff

It has been widely assumed that deterrence has little or no role to play in counterterrorism on the grounds that the threat of punishment is powerless to dissuade ideologically inspired terrorists. But an emerging literature in strategic studies argues, and aspects of contemporary American national security practice confirm, that this account misunderstands the capacity of deterrence to address current threats. In fact, a great deal of American counterterrorisma cluster of refinements to traditional deterrence theory that speaks to a world of asymmetric threats. Yet the emergence of new deterrence has been largely lost on lawyers, judges, and legal academics, resulting in significant gaps between the practice of national security in this area and the legal architecture ostensibly designed to undergird and oversee it. In particular, the legal framework of counterterrorismprecisely the two fields thought to converge in counterterrorism. In this Article, I debut in legal scholarship a sustained analysis of new deterrence and highlight its consequences for national security law, thus ushering in a serious reckoning for jurists with counterterrorism deterrence.


Our Broken Death Penalty

The Honorable William A. Fletcher

Madison Lecture

This lecture is titled Our Broken Death Penalty. But the title is misleading, for it suggests that our death penalty might, at some earlier time, have been something other than broken. It has always been broken. And, as you will hear tonight, it cannot be repaired.


“Not of Any Particular State”: J. McIntyre Machinery, Ltd. v. Nicastro and Nonspecific Purposeful Availment

Robert M. Pollack

The Supreme Court recently revisited the doctrine of specific personal jurisdiction for the first time in decades in J. McIntyre Machinery, Ltd. v. Nicastro, which resulted in a fractured opinion, a flurry of critical scholarship, and uncertainty on the lower courts. This Note argues that the principal significance of Nicastro lies in the sensitivity of the Breyer concurrence to the problems modernity poses for jurisdictional doctrine and its concomitant willingness to reevaluate the doctrine. Lower courts and litigants should see the case as an invitation to address such “modern concerns” in jurisdictional analysis within the bounds implied by Justice Breyer. This Note proposes that the jurisdictional problem of an interconnected globalized economy is the same as that posed by the Internet—the novel and increasingly pervasive fact of nonspecific purposeful availment of transjurisdictional contacts—and that such contemporary circumstances necessarily erode the utility of minimum contacts analysis as a consistent and fair limitation on personal jurisdiction, such that a more robust implementation of fairness balancing must become the engine of the doctrine.

Foreign Investment Restrictions in Coastwise Shipping: A Maritime Mess

Daniel Michaeli

A federal law known as the Jones Act imposes citizen ownership and control requirements on owners and operators of ships that transport goods between U.S. ports. Scholars have consistently presumed that these requirements are enforceable. This Note demonstrates, however, that limiting foreign ownership in companies with widely dispersed shareholders has become legally and practically infeasible in modern U.S. securities markets. It sheds light for the first time on the Seg-100 program of the Depository Trust Company, which aims to resolve this problem but would ultimately, even with substantial changes, be unable to discern the citizenship of entities that are not natural persons—a vast majority of shareholders. After considering the Jones Act’s ownership and control restrictions in the context of U.S. national security and economic interests, the Note finds that both practical considerations and U.S. interests support elimination of the citizen ownership and control requirements. Recognizing that Congress may be unwilling to invite unrestricted foreign investment in coastwise shipping, it also proposes more limited reforms to foreign ownership limitations and administrative actions that could reduce, but not eliminate, unnecessary costs of the current system.

Batson versus Strickland: Evaluating Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Claims Resulting from the Failure to Object to Race-Based Preemptory Challenges

Ashley C. Harrington

This Note evaluates the convergence of the standards articulated in Batson v. Kentucky and those of Strickland v. Washington. Specifically, how can a defendant demonstrate actual prejudice as a result of defense counsel’s failure to challenge the prosecutor’s discriminatory use of peremptory strikes? Lower courts have differed over whether the test should be outcome-based—a demonstration of actual prejudice in the outcome or verdict of the trial—or composition-based—a showing that the result of the jury selection process would have been different. I argue that the latter test is preferable to the former for several reasons. First, the composition-based test will ensure fuller protection of the rights contemplated in Batson and Strickland. Second, the necessary evaluation under the outcome-based test would dramatically shift the Supreme Court’s current colorblind approach in equal protection jurisprudence. Rather than shifting the current equal protection doctrine, the composition-based test allows for incorporation of the doctrine through the use of the diversity rationale. Third, a properly administered outcome-based test would require the exploration of the impact of race and background on the relevant evidence and on perceptions of the criminal justice system, including its principal setting (the courtroom) and primary actors, as contrasted with the much more concrete—if not necessarily simpler—task of determining only whether the composition of the jury itself would have differed.