Government officials enjoy qualified immunity from civil damages unless their conduct violates "clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known." Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818 (1982); see also Behrens, 516 U.S. at 306 (describing Harlow's standard as one of "objective legal reasonableness"). "A public official is not entitled to qualified immunity when the contours of the allegedly violated right were sufficiently clear that a reasonable official would understand that what he [was] doing violate[d] that right." Osolinski v. Kane, 92 F.3d 934, 936 (9th Cir. 1996) (alterations in original) (citation and internal quotations omitted). Determining whether a public official is entitled to qualified immunity "requires a two-part inquiry:
(1) Was the law governing the state official's conduct clearly established?
(2) Under that law could a reasonable state official have believed his conduct was lawful?" Browning v. Vernon, 44 F.3d 818, 822 (9th Cir. 1995) (citing Act Up!/Portland v. Bagley, 988 F.2d 868, 871-72 (9th Cir. 1993)).
This standard " `gives ample room for mistaken judgments' by protecting `all but the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law.' " Hunter v. Bryant, 502 U.S. 224, 229 (1991) (per curiam) (quoting Malley v. Briggs, 475 U.S. 335, 343 (1986)).
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