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Defenses: Absolute Immunity

     A sheriff’s officer used a confidential informant to make a controlled buy of marijuana as part of a county-wide drug-bust operation. A warrant was issued for the plaintiff’s arrest as a result, and she turned herself in, but the charges were dismissed because of misidentification. She sued for malicious prosecution, claiming that the officer prepared a misleading police report as well as giving false grand jury testimony identifying her as the seller of the drugs. While the trial court denied the officer both absolute and qualified immunity, a federal appeals court reversed on the absolute immunity issue. The officer’s absolute immunity defense presented a question of first impression about how the U.S. Supreme Court’s provision of absolute immunity for grand jury witnesses in Rehberg v. Paulk, #10-788, 132 S.Ct. 149 (2012), intersected with the Sixth Circuit’s requirement that an indicted plaintiff asserting malicious prosecution present evidence that the defendant provided false testimony to the grand jury. The court concluded that Rehberg’s absolute immunity for false grand jury testimony precluded the plaintiff’s malicious prosecution claim because she could not rebut the indictment’s presumption of probable cause without using his grand jury testimony. Sanders v. Jones, #15-6384, 845 F.3d 721 (6th Cir. 2017).
     A courtroom marshal was not entitled to absolute immunity on excessive force claims by two bail enforcement agents removed from a court room at a judge's request. He was not performing a judicial function, and allegedly used force in excess of what the judge commanded and the Constitution allows. He was, however, entitled to qualified immunity from liability, since there was then "chaos" in the court room and undisputed evidence that at least one of the two plaintiffs was intent on disobeying the court's instructions. It was not "beyond debate" that the marshal used an unreasonable level of force. Brooks v. Clark County, #14-16424, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 12510 (9th Cir.).
     After a neighbor placed a deteriorated unlicensed trailer on his property, a man fixed and painted it, believing it to be abandoned. The trailer later disappeared, and then was found by a detective in a ditch. The detective suspected that the property owner had stolen the trailer and used it to transport lawn mowers stolen from another man's property during a burglary. The detective obtained warrants for the collection of DNA samples and fingerprints, and a search of the suspect's property. Despite the fact that no evidence implicating the suspect in any crime was found during the search, the detective and another detective who assisted him told an assistant state's attorney that he should be charged. The prosecutor swore out an affidavit for an arrest warrant, despite having no personal knowledge, relying on the detectives. After charges were dismissed, the arrestee sued the prosecutor and detectives. The prosecutor was not protected by absolute prosecutorial immunity as he acted as a witness rather than a state advocate in swearing to the truth of the facts used to obtain the warrant. The prosecutor and the two detectives were also not entitled to qualified immunity from false arrest claims, as the lawsuit complaint permitted a reasonable inference that they all furnished false information in order to obtain the arrest warrant. Olson v. Champaign County, #12-3742, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 7143 (7th Cir.).
     A man who previously worked as a confidential drug informant sued a DEA agent and city police for false drug charges allegedly brought against him, claiming malicious prosecution, abuse of process, and deprivation of (and conspiracy to deprive him of) his constitutional rights on the basis of race or color. The DEA agent was entitled to absolute immunity for his allegedly false grand jury testimony against the plaintiff. The alleged cooperation between the DEA agent and the city police did not support an inference that they acted for an improper motive, and no discriminatory animus was shown. Abuse of process, malicious prosecution, and racial discrimination claims were all rejected. Morales v. City of New York, #13-2126, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 9157 (2nd Cir.).
     A man who spent 20 years on death row for a murder conviction was granted release because the prosecutor had violated his obligations to disclose exculpatory evidence. During an attempted reprosecution, the failure to disclose exculpatory evidence continued, and the prosecutor failed to alert either the defense or the court that the key prosecution witness had died. The court barred the state from further prosecution efforts based on extraordinary circumstances. The state conviction was never vacated, but the man's release was granted by habeas corpus relief. A federal appeals court held that the prosecutors had absolute prosecutorial immunity from civil liability for failing to disclose exculpatory evidence. It further ruled that the complaint's allegations were insufficient to establish that there was an official county policy of violating the constitutional rights of criminal defendants. A police detective had no obligation to make disclosures to the defense, and there was no claim that he withheld any information from the prosecution. D'Ambrosio v. Marino, #13-3118, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 5588, 2014 Fed App. 55P (6th Cir.).
     Several off-duty police officers visited a woman's apartment by invitation and she and the officers engaged in sexual activity involving bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism. A neighbor later reported the incident, seeing her bloody swollen mouth, but the woman would not cooperate in the investigation. She later testified before a grand jury that she had allowed the men to urinate in her mouth because one had slapped and scared her. The officers were found not guilty of charges arising from the incident and sued those involved in the investigation and prosecution. Two prosecutors were entitled to both absolute and qualified immunity for their roles. Rogers v. O'Donnell, #12-6335, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 24830, 2013 Fed App. 0344P (6th Cir.).
     In a federal civil rights lawsuit claiming that the chief investigator for a prosecutor's office conspired to present, and did, in fact, present false testimony to a grand jury, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the investigator was entitled to absolute witness immunity on all claims arising from his grand jury testimony. A witness in a grand jury proceeding is entitled to absolute immunity just as is a witness who testifies at a trial. The Court found that there is no reason to distinguish law enforcement witnesses from lay witnesses in civil rights actions. The rule that a grand jury witness has absolute immunity from any civil rights claim based on the witness’ testimony may not be circumvented by claiming that a grand jury witness conspired to present false testimony, or by using evidence of the witness’ testimony to support any other claim concerning the initiation or maintenance of a prosecution. Rehberg v. Paulk, #10-788, 2012 U.S. Lexis 2711.
     A police officer prosecuted on charges arising out of a fatal shooting sued the city and its chief prosecutor for false arrest, malicious prosecution, abuse of process and emotional distress. The prosecutor was entitled to absolute immunity, and this immunity was not defeated by the claim that he acted in bad faith, as he acted within the scope of his role as a prosecutor and not as an investigator. The city was also entitled to immunity under Ohio state law because the criminal charges did not arise from the employment relationship, but from an independent investigation subsequent to and unrelated to the police department's prior internal inquiries about the incident. Jopek v. City of Cleveland, #93793, 2010 Ohio App. Lexis 1922 (8th Dist.).
     Over ten years after being convicted of sexual assault and homicide, a man was exonerated by DNA evidence. He sued the city of Chicago, a number of police officers, and a prosecutor, claiming that several detectives and the prosecutor had coerced him into falsely confessing to the crimes in violation of the Fifth Amendment. A federal appeals court has rejected the prosecutor's appeal of the denial of his motion for absolute prosecutorial immunity, finding that there were unresolved disputed factual issues concerning the prosecutor's role in obtaining the confession that rendered it impossible to decide the immunity issue on appeal. If the prosecutor was acting in an investigatory role, rather than a prosecutorial role, he would not be entitled to absolute prosecutorial immunity. Further, while he could still be entitled to qualified immunity if he did not violate clearly established law, he would not be entitled to qualified immunity if he aided in coercing a false confession. Hill v. Coppleson, #09-1878, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 23940 (7th Cir.).
    A man was prosecuted by the U.S. government for conspiring to provide material support or resources to terrorists and related charges. He sued, claiming that the prosecutor had maliciously and intentionally withheld and failed to disclose exculpatory evidence. Finding that these claims only related to the nondisclosure in connection with the prosecution, and not with the underlying investigation, a federal appeals court held that the prosecutor was entitled to absolute immunity from liability. Koubriti v. Convertino, #09-1016, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 2283 (6th Cir.).
     State social workers were properly granted qualified immunity for taking custody of the plaintiff's children. The right of parents and children to live together without interference is limited by a governmental need to investigate serious abuse claims. In this case, there was good cause for the defendants to believe that parental sexual abuse had taken place, and under such circumstances, they did not need a court order to remove the children to protect them against what they believed was an imminent danger of serious bodily injury. As for claims concerning the defendants' subsequent filing of a custody petition and alleged falsification of evidence in connection with it, they were entitled to absolute immunity. Haldeman v. Golden, #08-15648, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 25610 (Unpub. 9th Cir).
    Attorney employees of a city's child welfare agency were entitled to absolute prosecutorial immunity for actions taken in connection with an investigation into the death of the plaintiff's infant son, since their function was similar to that of a prosecutor. Caseworkers involved in the case, however, acted more like investigators than prosecutors, so they could assert, at most, qualified immunity defenses, and were not entitled to absolute immunity from liability. Cornejo v. Bell, No. 08-3069 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 38 (2nd Cir.).
     An arrestee sued a prosecutor for allegedly wrongfully requiring him to refrain from filing a civil lawsuit against private parties with whom he had a fight in exchange for dismissing criminal charges against him. He had violated the agreement by filing a civil lawsuit, been prosecuted as a result, and was found not guilty. The federal appeals court ruled that an allegedly improper motive by the prosecutor was insufficient to defeat his defense of absolute prosecutorial immunity to the lawsuit, so long as his actions fell within the general scope of his duties as an advocate in connection with judicial proceedings. Entering into a release-dismissal agreement, like the one used in this case, falls within a prosecutor's normal duties in deciding whom to prosecute. Cady v. Arenac County, #08-1795, 574 F.3d 334 (6th Cir. 2009).
     A man's conviction for the abduction and sexual assault of a woman was overturned after new evidence was revealed and a key witness recanted her testimony. On retrial, the accused was found not guilty, and released, having served twelve years in prison. The accused then sued a police detective, a forensic consultant, and his alleged victim. A federal appeals court ruled that the statements of a potential witness who had not testified at the original trial should have been disclosed to the defense because they called into question, if not entirely discredited, the crime victim's identification of the plaintiff as one of her attackers, so that summary judgment was reversed on claims arising from the alleged failure to disclose exculpatory evidence. Claims against the detective for perjury, however, were barred by absolute witness immunity, since they were based on his trial testimony, instead of his role as complaining witness. Moldowan v. City of Warren, #07-2115/2116/2117, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 17988 (6th Cir.), amended by Moldowan v. City of Warren, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 18562 (6th Cir.).
     A federal appeals court declined to grant immunity to two Iowa prosecutors, stating that "immunity does not extend to the actions of a county attorney who violates a person's substantive due process rights by obtaining, manufacturing, coercing and fabricating evidence before filing formal charges, because this is not a distinctly prosecutorial function." The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review that holding. McGhee v. Pottawattamie County, #07-1524, 547 F.3d 922 (8th Cir.), cert. granted, #08-1065, 2009 U.S. Lexis 3008.
     A Michigan Assistant Attorney General and two state special agents were entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity on federal civil rights claims arising from their six-hour search of a man's business pursuant to a search warrant, during which time they found evidence that he had the financial ability to meet his child support obligations. This resulted in him subsequently pleading guilty to four felony charges for failing to pay child support to four women who had his children. Claims against the defendants in their official capacities were claims against the state barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Additionally, the Assistant Attorney General was entitled to absolute prosecutorial immunity on individual capacity claims, as authorizing the issuance of a search warrant in the course of a criminal investigation and prosecuting felony refusal to pay child support was part of her prosecutorial duties. Streater v. Cox, #08-1631, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 10597 (Unpub. 6th Cir.).
     Supervisory prosecutors were entitled to absolute prosecutorial immunity in a federal civil rights lawsuit brought by a prisoner who showed that his murder conviction had depended on false testimony provided by a jailhouse informant, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court held. The plaintiff claimed that his conviction had been caused by the failure of the supervisors' failure to properly train and supervise prosecutors or to develop an information system containing potential impeachment material concerning such informants, in order to disclose it to criminal defendants and their defense attorneys. Absolute immunity from liability applied because the actions or inactions involved here concern how and when to make impeachment information available at trial, and, therefore, are directly connected with a prosecutor's basic trial advocacy duties. Van de Kamp v. Goldstein, No. 07-854, 2009 U.S. Lexis 1003.
     False arrest lawsuit filed almost four years after a conviction for possessing a stolen car was set aside was time-barred by a two year Illinois statute of limitations. Prosecutors in the case were entitled to absolute prosecutorial immunity. Gordon v. Devine, No. 08C377, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 81234 (N.D. Ill.).
    Claims against a municipal judge for allegedly conspiring with a police officer to issue an "oral warrant" to search a man's home, knowing that no authority to issue the search warrant existed, were barred by absolute judicial immunity. The officer sought the warrant in response to a call from the man's wife, then involved in a contentious divorce. Lawrence v. Ray, Civil Action No. 07-2812, 2008 U.S. District Lexis 81207 (D.N.J.).
     State judicial marshals were not entitled to quasi-judicial immunity for telling a man that he had to remain in a courtroom for five minutes and using force to stop him when he tried to leave after three minutes. They were also not entitled to qualified immunity on a false arrest claim when no judge had ordered him to stay in the courtroom, and a reasonable marshal should have understood that it was unlawful to detain him. Stanley v. Muzio, No. 3:07cv59, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 74879 (D. Conn.).
     A man accused of murdering his wife had charges dropped when a medical exam determined that she died of natural causes. Prosecutors, however, had absolute immunity on their decision to charge him, and an officer who testified during grand jury proceedings had absolute witness immunity. Further, probable cause to arrest existed at the time of the arrest. Andros v. Gross, No. 07-2259, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 20187 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
     Prosecutor was not entitled to absolute prosecutorial immunity when it was alleged that they failed to inform a judge who issued a warrant to detain material witnesses in a murder case that the case had been continued, resulting in the witnesses remaining incarcerated. The duty to inform the judge of this was administrative rather than prosecutorial, especially when the judge had ordered that he be kept informed of any delay in the underlying murder case. In a second case, decided together with the first one, the federal appeals court also found that keeping a witness in a case in custody after the end of the proceeding in which he was to testify was part of the prosecutor's administrative oversight duties, and had "nothing to do" with carrying out the prosecution, so that absolute immunity was not available. Odd v. Malone, No. 06-4287, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 16466 (3rd Cir.).
     Social worker and her supervisor were not entitled to absolute immunity for their actions in filing a child dependency petition allegedly based on fabricated facts and evidence used to removed a son from his parent's home and to attempt to place the child under state supervision. In ruling that social workers were not entitled to absolute immunity in this context, the court overruled its previous decision in Doe v. Lebbos, #02-16326, 348 F.3d 820 (9th Cir. 2003). Beltran v. Santa Clara County, No. 05-16976, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 1331 (9th Cir.).
     FBI agent's testimony to a federal grand jury, which the plaintiff claimed was false, did not violate the plaintiff' rights. Additionally, her testimony was truthful, and the Fourth Amendment's probable cause requirement was satisfied by the fact that the grand jury returned indictment against the plaintiff. The Assistant U.S. Attorney was entitled to absolute prosecutorial immunity for her conduct in presenting evidence to grand jury and in preparing for the initiation of the criminal prosecution. Collis v. U.S., Civil No. RWT 05-3066, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 58073 (D. Md.).
     In malicious prosecution lawsuit, prosecutor was entitled to absolute immunity for all his actions, including his decisions as to which witnesses to call before the grand jury which indicted the plaintiff. Redwood v. Dobson, No. 05-4324, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 2606 (7th Cir.).[N/R]
     The Westfall Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2679(b)(1) provides federal employees absolute immunity from tort claims for actions taken in the course of their official duties, and gives the Attorney General the power to certify that a federal employee sued for wrongful or negligent conduct was acting within the scope of his office or employment at the time of the incident. Once that certification takes place, the U.S. government is substituted as the defendant instead of the employee, and the lawsuit is then governed by the Federal Tort Claims Act. Additionally, if the lawsuit began in state court, the Westfall Act provides that it shall be removed to federal court, and renders the Attorney General's certification "conclusive" for purposes of the removal. Once the certification and removal take place, the federal court has the exclusive jurisdiction over the case, and cannot decide to send the lawsuit back to state court. In this case, the U.S. Supreme Court also ruled that certification can take place under the Westfall Act in instances where the federal employee sued claims, and the Attorney General also concludes, that the incident alleged in the lawsuit never even took place. Osborn v. Haley, No. 05-593, 2007 U.S. Lexis 1323. [N/R]
     Plea bargaining policy of prosecutor's office under which no plea bargaining was allegedly allowed unless the district attorney rather than the judge selected the exact sentence imposed could not result in liability for the district attorney or presiding judge. Engaging in plea bargaining is part of the prosecutor's decision-making concerning whether to prosecute, which is protected by absolute immunity, and the defendant judge was entitled to absolute judicial immunity. Miller v. County of Nassau, No. 06-cv-4347, 2006 U.S. Dist. Lexis 90329 (E.D.N.Y.).  [N/R]
     In lawsuit brought by man who spent 22 years on death row for a kidnapping, rape, and murder he was subsequently cleared of, detectives were not entitled to qualified immunity on claims that they acted in bad faith in essentially destroying exculpatory DNA evidence. Prosecutors in the case were not entitled to absolute immunity on similar claims that they destroyed exculpatory evidence. Yarris v. County of Delaware, No. 05-1319, 465 F.3d 129 (3d Cir. 2006). [2006 LR Dec]
     While a prosecutor's alleged conduct of unilaterally deciding to increase the amount of an arrestee's bond was not prosecutorial in nature, so that he was not entitled to prosecutorial absolute immunity in a federal civil rights lawsuit over this action, he was still entitled to absolute immunity, as his action was judicial or quasi-judicial in nature. Root v. Liston, No. 05-2004, 444 F.3d 127 (2nd Cir. 2006). [N/R]
     An officer who testified at a grand jury proceeding against an arrestee, and who turned over to a prosecutor all evidence he knew of, including all exculpatory evidence, was entitled to absolute immunity from federal civil rights liability for malicious prosecution. Zamora v. City of Belen, No. Civ. 03-743, 383 F. Supp. 2d 1315 (D.N.M. 2005). [N/R]
     Police officers were entitled to absolute immunity on an arrestee's claim that they offered perjured testimony at his trial. Additionally, the arrestee, who was convicted of third-degree resisting arrest, could not pursue his claims that his arrest and imprisonment were unlawful when his conviction had not been overturned on appeal or otherwise set aside. Blacknall v. Citarella, No. 05-3694, 168 Fed. Appx. 489 (3rd Cir. 2006). [N/R]
     In a defamation lawsuit brought by police for statements made by a township supervisor during the meetings of a township's board of supervisors, the supervisor was entitled to absolute immunity from liability under Pennsylvania state law. . Heller v. Fulare, No. 05-3687, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 16843 (3d Cir.). [N/R]
     Illinois Supreme Court rules that police officers who allegedly failed to assist domestic violence victim in response to 911 call were not entitled to absolute immunity under state law on a claim that their inaction was willful and wanton conduct which caused her death when her husband subsequently shot her. More specific limited immunity provision of domestic violence statute applied instead, with an exception for willful and wanton conduct. Moore v. Green, No. 100029, 2006 Ill. Lexis 613. [2006 LR Jun]
     Both prosecutor who decided to pursue murder charges against suspect and investigator who presented testimony to a state grand jury as a complaining witness were entitled to absolute immunity from liability in lawsuit brought by suspect, who spent ten years incarcerated before charges being dismissed following the reversal of the second of his two convictions. Knight v. Poritz, No. 05-1350, 157 Fed. Appx. 481 (3rd Cir. 2005). [N/R]
     County employees were entitled to absolute immunity for seizing and incarcerating a man under a valid bench warrant issued in a child support arrearage case. Lepre v. Tolerico, No. 04-4179, 156 Fed. Appx. 523 (3rd Cir. 2005). [N/R]
     State prosecutor and trial judge were both entitled to absolute immunity from liability from arrestee's claim that they conspired together to have him arrested on false charges by having an arrest warrant issued concerning traffic offenses which they allegedly knew had previously been dismissed. Lyghtle v. Breitenbach, No. 04-3296, 139 Fed. Appx. 17 (10th Cir. 2005). [N/R]
     Assistant district attorneys were not entitled to absolute prosecutorial immunity for their alleged retaliation against employee of sheriff's office who allegedly revealed purported defects in child sex abuse investigations, since some of their actions were outside of the scope of their functions as prosecutors and not "closely associated" with a judicial process. Botello v. Gammick, No. 03-16618, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 12122(9th Cir.). [N/R]
     Assistant state's attorney was entitled to absolute prosecutorial immunity on civil rights claims asserted by arrestee arising out of his alleged false arrest and wrongful conviction for murder. The prosecutor's conduct in interviewing witnesses and the arrestee, reading the arrestee his Miranda rights, and approving the charges brought against him were all part of his job as a prosecutor in initiating and prosecuting the state's case against the accused. The arrestee failed to show that the prosecutor in any way acted beyond the scope of his authority or that he acted in a manner that was illegal, malicious, or intentional, rather than carried out for the purpose of furthering the state's interests. Hampton v. City of Chicago, No. 04C3456, 349 F. Supp. 2d 1075 (N.D. Ill. 2004). [N/R]
     Statements made by county attorney about a defendant in a press release and press conference after charges of murder against him were dropped were not protected by absolute immunity since they were not made incidental to the termination of the judicial proceeding. There were genuine issues as to whether or not the statements were opinion protected by the First Amendment, and whether the statements, stating that the former defendant had committed the murder, were made with actual malice. Federal trial court denies summary judgment to defendant county and county attorney in former defendant's libel and slander lawsuit under Iowa state law. Harrington v. Wilber, No. 4:03-CV-90616, 353 F. Supp. 2d 1033 (S.D. Iowa 2005). [N/R]
     Prosecutors who approved allegedly facially invalid post-indictment search warrant of indictee's property were not entitled to absolute immunity from liability to the extent that the warrant sought to obtain evidence of crimes not charged in the indictment, but were entitled to qualified immunity to the extent the warrant was aimed at obtaining evidence to prosecute the pending charges. District attorney was entitled to qualified immunity, however, on approval of allegedly overbroad search warrant, because it was not so lacking in indications of probable cause as to make a belief in probable cause unreasonable. KRL v. Moore, No. 02-15296, 384 F.3d 1106 (9th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
     Federal appeals court holds that trial court, in ruling on whether prosecutor and his investigator were entitled to absolute immunity in lawsuit over alleged tainted conviction of five men for felony-murder of a police officer, improperly believed that it must assume the truth of the plaintiffs' claims without examining the evidentiary support offered for those claims and their admissibility. Butler v. Cervantes, No. 02-57049, 370 F.3d 956 (9th Cir. 2004). [2004 LR Dec]
     Alabama sheriff had Eleventh Amendment immunity from federal civil rights lawsuit over alleged rape of burglary victim by deputy sheriff dispatched to assist her, as he acted, under state law, on behalf of the state, not the county. Sheriff also had absolute immunity from state law official capacity claims and discretionary function immunity from individual capacity claims for negligent hiring, supervision, or training of the deputy, under state law. McClure v. Houston County, Alabama, 306 F. Supp. 2d 1160 (M.D. Ala. 2003). [N/R]
     Prosecutors were entitled to absolute immunity from liability for decision to prosecute town officials, regardless of whether they had a political motivation for doing so. Bernard v. County of Suffolk, #02-9313, 356 F.3d 495 (2nd Cir. 2004). [N/R]
     FBI agents were not entitled to either absolute or qualified immunity on claims that they essentially "framed" a former informant on charges of kidnapping and murder by arranging for false evidence against him which led to convictions and sentences of life imprisonment and death respectively, which subsequently were overturned. Plaintiff claimed that these actions were in retaliation for his decision to stop being an informant. Manning v. Miller, #02C372, 355 F. 3d 1028 (7th Cir. 2004). [2004 LR Apr]
     Prosecutors who advised a deputy sheriff that he could make an arrest for "attempted solicitation of murder," despite the fact that no such crime existed under Washington state law, were not entitled to absolute immunity from liability, since prosecutorial immunity does not apply to the function of providing legal advice to the police, but individual defendants were entitled to qualified immunity. The arrest ultimately violated no constitutional rights because the same conduct supplied probable cause to arrest the plaintiff on a charge of felony harassment. Dillberg v. County of Kitsap, No. 02-35565, 76 Fed. Appx. 792 (9th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
      Prosecutor who filed a misdemeanor criminal complaint against a man for adultery, based on his admission of an extra-marital affair in the course of his grand jury testimony, was entitled to absolute immunity for the decision to prosecute even though the prosecutor later acknowledged that he exceeded his authority in bringing the charge, and the charges were subsequently dismissed. A prosecutor who brings criminal charges is entitled to absolute immunity for doing so, unless he acts in the absence of all jurisdiction. Thomas v. County of Putnam, 257 F. Supp. 2d 711 (S.D.N.Y. 2003). [N/R]
    Connecticut State Police officer was entitled to absolute judicial immunity from a lawsuit seeking damages under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 for actions related to his performing a bail setting function assigned, under state law, to police officers. Government officials acting in a "judicial capacity" are entitled to absolute immunity, and the important question was the nature of the function being performed, not the identity of the person performing it. In setting $500,000 cash only bail for the plaintiff, who was arrested on a narcotics offense, the officer acted in a judicial capacity. Sanchez v. Doyle, No. 3:02CV0351 (JBA), 254 F. Supp. 2d 266 (D. Conn. 2003). [N/R]
     Prosecutor was entitled to absolute immunity for alleged suppression of exculpatory evidence in criminal prosecution and alleged instructions to witness to falsely implicate defendant during murder trial. Federal appeals court rejects argument that it should adopt an exception to prosecutorial immunity for "egregiousness" in cases of "drastic and systematic departure" from the proper exercise of prosecutorial power. Cousin v. Small, No. 01-30745, 325 F.3d 627 (5th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
     Arrestees were entitled to amend their complaint against deputy sheriff, prosecutor and other defendants claiming false arrest, malicious prosecution, conviction and imprisonment for sexual abuse of a child in case where child later recanted his testimony. Initial complaint did not contain enough specific facts for court to determine whether absolute or qualified immunity applied to the defendants' alleged conduct. Broam v. Bogan, No. 01-17246, 320 F.3d 1023 (9th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
     Prosecutor was entitled to absolute immunity from liability for a decision to prosecute, even if it was purportedly based on an inadequate police investigation. Prosecutor was only entitled, however, to qualified immunity for making statements to the media, but did not violate any clearly established constitutional rights when all that was communicated was the fact of the arrest, even if that caused the arrestee to be held up to ridicule and scorn. Joseph v. Yocum, #01-4142, 53 Fed. Appx. 1 (10th Cir. 2002). [N/R]
     State prosecutor was entitled to absolute immunity for allegedly telling an officer to delete exculpatory material from an arrest warrant application and resubmit it to the court, after the first attempt to obtain the arrest warrant was rejected. Sheehan v. Colangelo, #02-7736, 53 Fed. Appx. 584 (2nd Cir. 2002). [N/R]
    Officers were entitled to absolute immunity for entering a building owned by the plaintiff for the purpose of enforcing a court-ordered home visit by social service workers conducting a home study of the care of children who resided there. Entry did not constitute a "search" and officers did not see or touch business or confidential records or even open the closet where the records were stored. Monroe v. Pueblo Police Department, No. 01-1112 30 Federal Appendix 778 (10th Cir. 2002). [2002 LR Jun]
     County prosecutor was not entitled to absolute immunity for allegedly making false statements in an application for an arrest warrant to revoke an arrestee's bail. An arrestee released on pretrial bail has a Fourth Amendment right to be free of unreasonable seizures. Prosecutor was, however, entitled to qualified immunity because it was not clearly established, in 1997, that there was a Fourth Amendment right not to have a prosecutor, seeking to revoke bail, personally attest to false allegations made by biased sources without further investigation. Cruz v. Kauai County, #00-15065, 279 F.3d 1064 (9th Cir. 2002). [N/R]
     Officers were entitled to absolute witness immunity for alleged perjured testimony in plaintiff's earlier civil rights lawsuit claiming excessive use of force during his arrest, but not on his claim that they engaged in an out-of-court conspiracy to suppress and fabricate evidence relevant to that lawsuit. Paine v. City of Lompoc, No. 99-56347, 265 F. 3d 975 (9th Cir. 2001). [2002 LR Feb]
      345:132 Prosecutors were entitled to absolute immunity for retaining arrestee's leg prosthesis as possible evidence in criminal proceeding, as well as following conviction, while appeal was pending. Parkinson v. Cozzolino, No. 00-0126, 238 F.3d 145 (2nd Cir. 2001).
     344:120 Officer had arguable probable cause to arrest flea market vendors for unlawful sale of goods with unauthorized trademarks, based in part on low prices of goods bearing "Nike" trademarks, and was entitled to qualified immunity; absolute immunity protected a second officer from claims based on his testimony at preliminary hearing. Scarbrough v. Myles, No. 00-14063, 245 F.3d 1299 (11th Cir. 2001).
     343:104 Driver of police vehicle had a ministerial duty to activate his lights and siren when passing through a red light while responding to an emergency situation; question of whether he and the city were entitled to official immunity in lawsuit brought by passenger officer injured in collision with a tow truck might depend on whether he did so. Nelson v. Wrecker Services, Inc., #C0-00-1363, 622 N.W.2d 399 (Minn. App. 2001).
     341:70 County was not liable for alleged failure to allow mother of children to contest county's obtaining of permanent custody of her children, when there was no showing that it was a county policy or custom to deny parents a hearing; county social worker who allegedly failed to notify state court that mother wanted to assert her parental rights, however, was not entitled to absolute immunity, as she was not a "legal advocate" or prosecutor in the case. Holloway v. Brush, No. 96-3732, 220 F.3d 767 (6th Cir. 2000).
     340:59 Even if the techniques used to interview child complainants were improper and coercive, nursery school teacher indicted and prosecuted for alleged sexual abuse of children could not recover damages since these interrogation techniques did not violate her own constitutional rights; prosecutors were entitled to absolute immunity for presenting children's testimony to grand jury and at trial. Michaels v. New Jersey, #99-5486, 222 F.3d 118 (3rd Cir. 2000).
     335:165 Prosecutor's statements to a newspaper following murder suspect's acquittal could not be the basis for a defamation lawsuit under California state law since they only expressed opinions protected under the First Amendment and could not be interpreted as statements of facts; even if defamatory, they could not be the basis for a federal civil rights lawsuit; prosecutor was a state, not county, official for purposes of a wrongful prosecution claim. Weiner v. San Diego County, #98-55752, 210 F.3d 1025 (9th Cir. 2000).
     330:86 Prosecutors were entitled to qualified immunity for obtaining search warrants for examination of an auto dealership's records after customer complained that he had not received a rebate he claimed he was entitled to; prosecutors were entitled to absolute immunity from liability for impaneling grand jury and for their subsequent conduct in prosecuting auto dealership employees. Herb Hallman Chevrolet, Inc. v. Nash-Holmes, No. 97-15275, 169 F.3d 636 (9th Cir. 1999).
     334:147 Federal agent was entitled to absolute immunity from liability for any allegedly false statements made before a federal grand jury or during a criminal trial. Dillihunt v. Hitchcock, 32 F.Supp. 2d 1001 (W.D. Tenn. 1999).
     320:126 Officers were entitled to qualified immunity for using wiretap recording allegedly illegally gathered by private party as a means of convincing one party to the conversation to become an informant; "extraordinary circumstances" of their reliance on advice of prosecutor entitled them to such immunity even though such use of tape was illegal. Davis v. Zirkelbach, #97-1107, 149 F.3d 614 (7th Cir. 1998).
     {N/R} Officers were not entitled to absolute immunity for allegedly forcing an informant to give false testimony about another individual's involvement in drug transaction and made a false report stating that individual had also implicated himself during an interview. Hammond v. Kunard, 148 F.3d 692 (7th Cir. 1998).
     317:70 Prosecutor was entitled to absolute immunity for obtaining arrest warrants and unsuccessfully prosecuting couple for extortion, and to qualified immunity for advising police that threat to reveal sexual harassment complaint to man's family unless money was paid might be extortion. Manetta v. Macomb County Enforcement Team, # 97-1256, 97-1299, 141 F.3d 270 (6th Cir. 1998).
     304:51 Prosecutor may be liable in federal civil rights suit for making false statements, under oath, in connection with application for arrest warrant; in certifying veracity of alleged facts which were basis for warrant, she acted as a "complaining witness" rather than as a lawyer, and prosecutorial absolute immunity did not apply. Kalina v. Fletcher, 118 S.Ct. 502 (1997).
     306:83 Local legislators are entitled to absolute immunity in federal civil rights lawsuits brought over introducing, voting for, or signing an ordinance, regardless of their motives. Bogan v. Scott-Harris, 118 S.Ct. 966 (1998).
     293:68 Sheriff carrying out attachment of material witness for capital murder trial pursuant to facially valid order issued by trial judge was absolutely immune from liability, even if he allegedly had knowledge that order lacked legal cause when witness had not been served with a subpoena Mays v. Sudderth, 97 F.3d 107 (5th Cir. 1996).
     {N/R} Prosecutors entitled to absolute immunity from liability for gang murder of witness they subpoenaed to testify as witness to gang crime, despite alleged assurances to him that he would be safe Falls v. Superior Court, 42 Cal.App.4th 1031, 49 Cal.Rptr. 906, 1996 Cal App. Lexis 140
     278:20 Prosecutors were not entitled to absolute immunity in suit charging that they delayed conducting a reinvestigation of a murder for which the wrong man was arrested, convicted, and imprisoned; but they were entitled to absolute immunity for failing to take legal steps towards his release after their investigation indicated he was innocent Guzman-Rivera v. Rivera- Cruz, 55 F.3d 26 (1st Cir. 1995).
     280:52 Officer absolutely immune for statements at preliminary hearing Rock v. Lowe, 893 F.Supp. 1573 (S.D.Ga 1995). [Crossreferences: Defenses: Qualified (Good-Faith). Immunity] 282:85 Officers were entitled to absolute, quasi-judicial, immunity for carrying out facially valid court order to close lounge as a "nuisance" because of alleged drug activity on the premises; later determination that evidence was insufficient to warrant permanent closing of lounge did not alter result Shelton v. Wallace, 886 F.Supp. 1365 (S.D.Ohio 1995).
     287:165 Officers were entitled to absolute immunity for following judge's order to take attorney into immediate custody after he summarily found her guilty of criminal contempt of court; excessive force claim against officers once she was in custody should be judged on Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual punishment standard rather than Fourth Amendment reasonableness standard Sharp v. Kelsey, 918 F.Supp. 1115 (WDMich 1996). [Cross-reference: Assault and Battery: Physical]
     285:133 Police officer was entitled to absolute immunity on arrestee's claim that he perjured himself in grand jury testimony Ali v. Person, 904 F.Supp. 375 (D.N.J. 1995).
     {N/R} City was not entitled to absolute immunity in civil rights lawsuit brought over allegedly unconstitutional actions and legislation passed by local legislature Berkley v. Common Council of City of Charleston, 63 F.3d 295 (4th Cir. 1995).
     265:3 Police officer who allegedly conspired with prosecutor to present perjured evidence at trial was not entitled to absolute immunity, while prosecutor was, federal appeals court rules Dory v. Ryan, 25 F.3d 81 (2nd Cir. 1994).
     266:19 Federal appeals court holds that deputy sued for alleged perjured testimony at pretrial suppression hearing was entitled to absolute witness immunity from liability Moore v. McDonald, 30 F.3d 616 (5th Cir. 1994).
     {N/R} County law enforcement officials were entitled to absolute quasi-judicial immunity for enforcing valid judicial orders Roland v. Phillips, 19 F.3d 552 (11th Cir. 1994).
     City and county could not be held liable for inadequate training of officers in need for probable cause for an arrest when officer who presented affidavit for arrest warrant was himself entitled to qualified immunity because he acted as a reasonable officer in doing so on the basis of information he had at the time Kohl v. Casson, 5 F.3d 1141 (8th Cir. 1993).
     Judge was not entitled to absolute immunity for stopping motorist on interstate highway and summoning police officer to charge motorist for honking his horn and motioning to judge to change lanes Malina v. Gonzales, 994 F.2d 1121 (5th Cir. 1993).
     City council members were not entitled to absolute legislative immunity against federal civil rights suit claiming that their actions, in allegedly having city pay all punitive damage awards against officers for using excessive force, constituted a pattern or practice that encouraged officers to use excessive force and led to death of plaintiff's father Trevino v. Gates, 17 F.3d 1189 (9th Cir. 1994).
     Parole officer entitled to absolute witness immunity in parolee's civil rights suit claiming that officer submitted a perjurious affidavit in opposition to his plea for habeas corpus Sykes v. James, 13 F.3d 515 (2nd Cir. 1993).
     Police detective who performed investigative work for prosecutors in connection with a criminal prosecution resulting from a sting operation was entitled to absolute prosecutorial immunity from liability for malicious prosecution Davis v. Grusemeyer, 996 F.2d 617 (3rd Cir. 1993).
     Prosecutor was not entitled to absolute immunity in civil rights lawsuit brought alleging fabrication of evidence and making of false statements at press conference announcing indictment; prosecutor could assert claim, however, to qualified immunity Buckley v. Fitzsimmons, 113 S.Ct. 2606 (1993).
     States and state agencies or "entities" may immediately appeal trial court denials of Eleventh Amendment immunity claims; Eleventh Amendment provides not only a defense to liability, but an immunity to suit, including the burdens of discovery and trial Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority v. Metcalf & Eddy, Inc, 113 S.Ct. 684 (1993).
     City council members were not entitled to absolute legislative immunity for allegedly granting indemnification to all police officers who were found liable for using excessive force, no matter how willful the officers' actions were Trevino v. Gates, 798 F.Supp. 621 (CD Cal 1992).
     Judge was absolutely immune from liability for allegedly ordering police officers to use excessive force to bring attorney before him Mireles v. Waco, 112 S.Ct. 286 (1991).
     Eleventh Amendment does not bar federal civil rights action against state police officer in his individual capacity Harrington v. Schossow, 457 N.W.2d 583 (Iowa 1990).
     States may not grant immunities in Federal Civil Rights cases in their courts which are not available in federal court Howlett By and Through Howlett v. Rose, 110 S.Ct. 2430 (1990).
     Prosecutors are not entitled to absolute immunity for giving advice to police officers Burns v. Reed, 111 S.Ct. 1934 (1991).
     Penn State police entitled to sovereign immunity from unlawful arrest suit by suspect imprisoned for four months before determination that white powder was aspirin rather than drugs Serrano v. Pennsylvania State Police, 568 A.2d 1006 (Pa/Cmwlth. 1990).
     Officers who arrested courtroom spectator for contempt based on judge's order were absolutely immune from lawsuit Baldez v. City and County of Denver, 878 F.2d 1285 (10th Cir. 1989).

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