Hansen v. Black, No. 16-4162 (8th Cir. 2017)-A trooper was sued for shooting and killing a dog that was running loose on a highway creating a hazard. He shot the dog once, but it crawled away. He shot it a second time killing it. The owner sued claiming the trooper violated her 4th Amendment Rights by killing the dog. The trooper tried to get the suit dismissed claiming qualified immunity. The lower court denied the trooper's claim holding that the trooper could have carried the dog off the highway after the first shot. The 8th Circuit reversed stating that the trooper's actions were objectively reasonable. The court granted the trooper qualified immunity.
Dist. of Columbia v. Wesby, No. 15-1485 (SCOTUS 2018)-Officers went to a vacant house on a disturbance. They arrived and found numerous people inside having a party. The officers contacted the owner and was advised that no one had permission to be in the house. The officers arrested the partygoers for unlawful entry. Several partygoers sued for false arrest claiming that they did not know they were not allowed in the house. The district court held that the officers did not have probable cause to arrest the partygoers and the officers did not have qualified immunity. The D.C. Circuit affirmed the lower court's decision.
The US Supreme Court reversed holding The panel majority failed to follow two basic and well established principles of law. First, it viewed each fact "in isolation, rather than as a factor in the totality of the circumstances." Second, it believed that it could dismiss outright any circumstances that were "susceptible of innocent explanation.