CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, February 22, 2010

Summary Reversal in Wilkins v. Gaddy

is here. From the opinion:

In Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U. S. 1, 4 (1992), this Court held that “the use of excessive physical force against a prisoner may constitute cruel and unusual punishment [even] when the inmate does not suffer serious injury.” In this case, the District Court dismissed a prisoner’s excessive force claim based entirely on its determination that his injuries were “de minimis.” Because the District Court’s approach, affirmed on appeal, is at odds with Hudson’s direction to decide excessive force claims based on the nature of the force rather than the extent of the injury, the petition for certiorari is granted, and the judgment is reversed.

Justice Thomas, joined by Justice Scalia, concurred in the judgment but wrote separately to argue that Hudson was incorrectly decided.

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