In December 2011, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey filed an amicus brief in support of the appellant Kelly Ramos, who sought reversal of the trial court’s grant of summary judgment to the defendants, a Trenton police officer and the Trenton Police Department based on qualified immunity. Qualified immunity is a legal doctrine created by the federal courts that is a defense for state officials who have been sued for damages under the federal civil rights statute. The doctrine provides that defendant officials are immune for suit as long as their conduct does not violate the clearly constitutional rights of which a person would know. Qualified immunity has not been previously recognized by the courts as a defense against claims that the state official violated the New Jersey Constitution or the New Jersey Civil Rights Act. In this action, the appellant claimed that his right to free speech was violated when the Trenton Police department interfered with his ability to film a documentary on the streets of Trenton. The Appellate court reversed the decision of the lower court to grant summary judgment and ruled that Mr. Ramos' first amendment rights were violated.
- Ramos: Amicus Brief (103 KB pdf)