Mullenix v Luna

Luna sued Mullenix alleging excessive force when Mullenix fired at the car Luna’s relative was driving at excessive speed to escape arrest. The district court denied Mullenix’s motion for qualified immunity and the 5th Circuit affirmed. The Court, with one justice dissenting, reversed. Ina per curium opinion, the majority held that there was no clearly established law that held firing at the car in circumstances similar to those in this case even violated the 4th Amendment let alone declared failing to let a fleeing car hit spike strips is unconstitutional. Justice Scalia added a concurrence arguing that Mullenix was attempting to disable the car not kill the driver and thus the analysis should proceed on that basis and shooting at the car was reasonable. Sotomayor dissented arguing that the right to not have deadly forced used against a person is clearly established and was violated here when Mullenix failed to wait for the car to hit the spike strips before firing at the car particularly as he had been instructed not fire by his supervisor.