Prosecutors are normally immune from lawsuits involving work during trials. But the case heard Wednesday considers whether the immunity also includes prosecutorial work before the trial starts. A ruling is expected next year.
According to transcripts, Stephen Sanders, a lawyer representing Pottawattamie County officials, told the Supreme Court that lower courts should not fashion exceptions to prosecutorial immunity.
"If a prosecutor's absolute immunity in judicial proceedings means anything, it means that a prosecutor may not be sued because a trial has ended in a conviction," Sanders said. "Yet that is exactly what happened in this case."
Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal argued that if prosecutors have to worry at trial that every action they take will somehow open the door to liability, then they will flinch in the performance of their duties and not introduce that evidence.
But Justice Sonia Sotomayor questioned him, saying, "A prosecutor is not going to flinch when he suspects evidence is perjured or fabricated?"
Anyone know whether there are states that have laws forbidding this level of misconduct?