Joanna Schwartz

Professor Joanna Schwartz

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Professor Schwartz is one of the country’s leading experts on police misconduct litigation and the author of Shielded: How the Police Became Untouchable.

Qualified Immunity is Police officers’ go-to defense against civil suits that allows them to violate the Constitution with impunity.”

— Professor Joanna Schwartz

MONTEREY/SANTA BARBARA, CA, UNITED STATES, November 20, 2023 / — SideBar podcast on The Legal Talk Network welcomes UCLA Law Professor Joanna Schwartz. Schwartz is the Faculty Director of the David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy. Professor Schwartz is one of the country’s leading experts on police misconduct litigation and the author of Shielded: How the Police Became Untouchable (2023). Her recent scholarship includes articles empirically examining the justifications for qualified immunity doctrine; the financial impact of settlements and judgments on federal, state, and local law enforcement officers and agency budgets; and regional variation in civil rights protections across the country.

Cohost Jackie Gardina explained, “It is a complicated issue, confounded by racial, ethnic, and societal stereotypes, police union and labor law issues, community fear, and in some cases political exploitation. However, one of the most important aspects of this discussion is understanding the role that the underlying legal standards play, or should play, in balancing the regulation of police behavior with the protection of police officers.”

Mitch Winick, cohost of SideBar noted that “the early civil rights era and the more recent Black Lives Matter movement brought public exposure to concerns about the conflict between communities, and the police who are expected to protect them. Professor Schwartz’s book is powerful, in part because it not only weaves in personal and painful stories of people affected by police misconduct, it provides empirical evidence to challenge the apparent reasons why courts have hesitated to hold police accountable.”

Professor Schwartz teaches civil procedure and courses on police accountability and public interest lawyering. Her writing, commentary, and research about police misconduct, qualified immunity, indemnification, and local government budgeting have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Christian Science Monitor, ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, CNN, NPR, and elsewhere. Her research has been quoted and cited by United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and more than two dozen state supreme courts, federal circuit courts, and federal district courts.

To listen to Professor Schwartz’s SideBar episode with law deans Jackie Gardina and Mitch Winick, hear previous episodes, read our blog, learn about future guests, and to contact the co-hosts with ideas, comments, or questions, go to

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