A police corporal shot Amy Hughes while Ms. Hughes stood in her front yard. There was evidence in the case that at the moment the corporal shot Ms. Hughes, she was standing stationary in her yard, five to six feet away from her friend, that the two women were conversing, and that Hughes appeared calm and peaceable. There was also evidence that a kitchen knife, pointed down to the ground, rested in Ms. Hughes’ hand. The corporal opened fire on Hughes, shooting at her four times through a metal fence.
The MacArthur Justice Center stood up for Ms. Hughes in the Supreme Court of the United States, arguing that the corporal should be held accountable for his actions at a civil trial. The Supreme Court, however, ruled in favor of the corporal. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, wrote a powerful dissent: “If this account of Kisela’s conduct sounds unreasonable, that is because it was. And yet, the Court today insulates that conduct from liability under the doctrine of qualified immunity, holding that Kisela violated no ‘clearly established’ law. I disagree.”