Sep 23, 2015

Prosecutors' Absolute Immunity Takes Another Hit in Second Circuit

"The U.S. Second Circuit has ruled that a prosecutor can be held to a standard of 'qualified immunity,' and thus can be sued, for knowingly presenting false information to a Grand Jury," notes Phil Locke in a case decided earlier this month (Wrongful Convictions) (Kaiser, Above the Law).

The case follows last year's ruling from the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Fields v. Wharrie (2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 1333) which knocked absolute immunity as well.

The Second Circuit case is Morse v. Fusto.

Morse comes as a flurry of political work across the nation challenges policing in a democracy and the police-prosecutor state resulting in mass incarceration and massive fining of the citizenry to fund local communities' budgets, emphatically in minority communities.

Prosecutorial misconduct and malicious prosecutions are routine. In Wisconsin, one can just cast a glance at Iron County, for instance.

Notes Judge Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge of U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in a foreword to Sidney Powell's Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice (Brown Books Publishing Group, 2014), Brady violations by prosecutors are rampant and the nation needs "a serious conversation about whether our criminal justice system continues to live up to its vaunted reputation."

The Morse case may also interest Scott Walker and allies' attacks on Wisconsin law enforcement probes of misconduct in Walker's office while serving as Milwaukee County Executive, and Walker's scheme coordinating campaign funds and independent expenditures against the 2011-12 recall campaign.

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