U.S. Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Civil Rights – Qualified immunity
Where an officer made misrepresentations to keep a person detained for a mental health examination, he is not entitled to qualified immunity.
“While arguable probable cause is a relatively flexible standard, it does not bend so far as to encompass Guernsey’s actions at this early stage in the case. Recall that for mental-health seizures, the question is whether there is probable cause to believe that the subject of the seizure is a danger to herself or others. This record does not establish as a matter of law that Guernsey, whose only indication that Bruce might commit suicide was the nowledge that someone had said Bruce was potentially suicidal, reasonably believed that he had probable cause to continue to seize her. When determining whether arguable probable cause exists, we must take into consideration the particular circumstances facing the officer. Guernsey faced a calm and undisturbed high school student who was at a friend’s house with several other companions and whose father was present and objecting to Guernsey’s actions. Not only did Guernsey take Bruce from D.F.’s home to the hospital against both her will and that of her father, but he also made is representations on the petition for involuntary judicial admission and thus made it more likely that Bruce’s confinement would continue. On this view of the facts, Guernsey is not entitled to qualified immunity.”
Affirmed in part, and Reversed in part.
14-1352 Bruce v. Guernsey
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Myerscough, J., Wood, J.