New Mexico Is the Second State to Ban Qualified Immunity

Lawmakers passed the New Mexico Civil Rights Act on Wednesday

04.07.21 By Daniele Selby

 (Image: Shane McCoy/US Marshals/Flickr)

(Image: Shane McCoy/US Marshals/Flickr)

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the New Mexico Civil Rights Act — also known as House Bill 4 — advancing fair and equal treatment under the law on Wednesday.

The legislation effectively bans qualified immunity — a judicial doctrine that shields state actors, including law enforcement officials, from liability, even when they knowingly break the law. New Mexico is now the second state to ban qualified immunity, following Colorado which enacted legislation to end the practice in June 2020.

Under New Mexico’s new law, a person has the right to sue the state, a city, or county, when their rights under the state’s constitution have been violated, such as in cases involving police misconduct. With the passing of this law, residents of New Mexico will finally be able to hold officials who engage in wrongdoing accountable.

“We will soon have a clear path to justice and a meaningful way to hold government accountable,” New Mexico Speaker of the House Brian Egolf, who introduced the bill, tweeted after the bill’s passage. “This is a bright day for the New Mexico Constitution.”