US Supreme Court rules in 2011 New Mexico police shooting

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FILE - In this Feb. 13, 2016, file photo, people stand on the steps of the Supreme Court at sunset. The Supreme Court is returning to the familiar intersection of race and politics, in a pair of cases examining redistricting in North Carolina and Virginia. The eight-justice court is hearing arguments Dec. 5, in two cases that deal with the same basic issue of whether race played too large a role in the drawing of electoral districts, to the detriment of African-Americans. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick, file)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – The U.S. Supreme Court says a New Mexico State Police officer did not violate clearly established law when he shot and killed an armed man without first calling out a warning.

The nation’s highest court issued its decision Monday in the case of Officer Ray White, who is facing a wrongful death lawsuit over the 2011 shooting of Samuel Pauly at a home in northern New Mexico.

Maintaining a high bar for filing lawsuits against police under similar circumstances, the court emphasizing that officers are immune from such lawsuits unless it’s clear their actions violated established rights.

The justices asserted that lower courts failed to cite any similar case where an officer was found to have violated a person’s rights against excessive force. They sent the case back to a lower court for further proceedings.