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NCJ Number: 155388 Find in a Library
Title: Prosecutor, the Investigator, the Administrator, 42 U.S.C. S. 1983 and Burns v. Reed: The Hammer Has Dropped
Journal: Mississippi Law Journal  Volume:62  Issue:1  Dated:(Spring 1992)  Pages:169-190
Author(s): J Lappan
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 22
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the damage liability of prosecutors under Federal law when acting outside their role as courtroom advocates, with emphasis on the effect of the United States Supreme Court's decision in Burns v. Reed.
Abstract: The Burns decision involved a woman placed under arrest by the police in accord with legal advice provided by a local prosecutor that the police had probable cause for the arrest. The prosecutor charged the woman with the attempted murder of her two sons. A county court judge issued a search warrant based on misleading testimony from the advising prosecutor and one of the arresting officer. However, the prosecutor dropped all charges when the trial judge granted the mother's motion to suppress statements given to police while under hypnosis. The Supreme Court reversed the lower courts' decisions in part. It noted that advising police officers was not a traditional prosecutorial duty, so that immunizing such an advice with an impenetrable shield of absolute immunity would work an injustice. This decision resolved the confusion that evolved in previous appellate court decisions and established that the only place where an overzealous, vindictive, or malicious prosecutor is certain to retain immunity from Section 1983 damages is the courtroom itself. Footnotes
Main Term(s): US Supreme Court decisions
Index Term(s): Professional misconduct; Prosecutorial immunity
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