Another outstanding feature by The Marshall Project.
It’s written by a senior federal trial judge in New York. For 23 years, he’s sentenced the likes of murderers, rapists, gangsters, and fraudsters—some to prison for the rest of their lives. But he says it’s time to put an end to absolute immunity for prosecutors.
Absolute immunity is what it sounds like. It doesn’t just protect prosecutors who follow the rules but make mistakes. It protects those who knowingly and purposely break the rules.
Believe it or not, they can do all kinds of dirty deeds to convict you—even to frame you, on purpose—and you have no right to sue them for it. Crazy, huh? They can withhold evidence, put on false evidence, coerce witnesses to testify against you, or worse. No matter the facts, you have no civil rights or remedies against them as a matter of law.
But as the author notes, cops don’t have absolute immunity; they have a form of qualified immunity, so what’s the difference?
For an overwhelming majority of prosecutors, there would be no difference.
But truly bad actions should suffer civil and criminal consequences for their obstruction of justice. For more on why, see this blog post by the American Constitution Society.