Government Agents Immune from Prosecution

By Don Harkins, publisher and editor, The Idaho Observer.

Please feel free to access the following court cases. Then test the concept of government immunity from prosecution by attempting to hold government agents accountable, individually or in their official capacity, for their actions in a court of law.

You will find that no matter how unconscionable the actions of government agents in their impassioned attempts to prosecute innocent people for imagined crimes may be, you cannot successfully prosecute state or federal agents for those actions. For example:

1. Prosecutor may violate civil rights in initiating prosecution and presenting cause. U.S. Supreme Court, Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S.409 (1976)

2. Immunity extends to all activities closely associated with litigation or potential litigation. Second Circuit Federal Court of Appeals: Davis v. Grusemeyer, 996 F.2d617 (1993)

3. Prosecutor may knowingly use false testimony and suppress evidence. U.S. Supreme Court, Imbler v. Pachtmas, U.S.: 409 (1976)

4. Prosecutor may file charges without any investigation. Eighth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals; Myers v. Morris: 810 F.2d,1337 (1986)

5. Prosecutor may file charges outside of his jurisdiction; Eighth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals: Myers v. Morris, 810 F.2d 1337 (1986)

6. Prosecutor may knowingly offer perjured testimony. Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, Jones v. Shankland, 800 F.2d 1310 (1987)

7. Prosecutor may suppress exculpatory evidence. Fifth Circuit Federal court of Appeals, Hanzel v. Gertatica, 608 F.2d 654 (1979)

8. Prosecutors are immune from lawsuit for conspiring with judges to determine the outcome of judicial proceedings. Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, Ashelman v. Pope, 793 F.2d 1072 (1986)

9. Prosecutor may knowingly file charges against innocent persons for a crime that never occurred. Tenth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, Norton v. Liddell, 620 F.2d 1375 (1980).

The nine cases cited are only the beginning. Last year there were thousands of cases from across the country that were decided or ignored in favor of government and/or its agents. The cases cited were published and have created what is known in the legal realm as precedent. The unfairness of the situation has been exacerbated by unpublished decisions.

The justice-undermining implications of unpublished decisions were featured in an article by Washington, D.C. attorney John G. Kester that was published in a December, 1995 edition of The Wall Street Journal. "One law clerk observed that many government agencies, whenever they win an unpublished case, routinely ask to have it published and the court usually complies, but if they lose, down the memory hole it goes," Kester wrote.

In other words, if a citizen happens to win a case against a government agency, a government employee or an elected official, the decision is likely to be "unpublished." An unpublished decision may be a win for the citizen in the specific case but cannot be cited as precedent in later court proceedings - even if applicable. Kester wrote: "It is a momentous innovation to say that if you find a precedent, you still can't cite it or that it will be ignored."

The U.S. legal system, which has evolved from English common law, has been writing and publishing court decisions since the very beginning. Legal precedent is the cornerstone of American jurisprudence.

Over the course of time, perpetual litigants, like the federal government, have managed to stack the legal libraries of this country with published decisions which support the positions of government officials, while rulings contrary to government interests go unpublished and, therefore, become unavailable.

The result is a legal system that has been handicapped so heavily in favor of government interests that people who are foolish enough to challenge the authority of the government have no chance to win in court.

Our republican form of government that was designed to be of, by and for the people cannot survive if the judicial branch continues to allow government agencies, through the activities of its agents, to stack the law libraries with legal precedents which provide themselves absolute immunity.