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March 22, 2010


John Herbison

The text of 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 does not provide for immunity of any kind. Absolute prosecutorial immunity, like so-called qualified immunity, is cut from judicial whole cloth.

Isn't it peculiar that those who carp about judicial activism in other contexts are strangely silent when it comes to holding government officials accountable by suing for damages?

Sidney Gendin

It is possible that District Attorney Leon Cannizaro and the National District Attorney Association are both right in thinking that the 5th Circuit Court decision in Connick v Thompson "exposes district attorney's offices to vicarious liability for a wide range of prosecutorial misconduct," and creates the "alarming prospect" that the strong tradition of prosecutorial immunity will be eroded.

What is missing from these worries is an explanation why these consequences are unwelcome. Traditions are not self-vindicating and many persons (such as me) welcome a challenge to them.

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