can be heavily fact-laden.
on a case-to-case basis.
protects whoever has it
from prosecution in a civil or criminal case. There are many
types of immunity: sovereign
immunity, absolute immunity, qualified
immunity), discretionary function
Judges have absolute immunity: you cannot sue one. A constitutional attorney has written that judges are vulnerable. "Such cases," he says, "will usually be brought by pro se litigants. Neither the politics nor economics of law practice permits lawyers to pursue such cases nor makes them affordable except to a small elite of citizens."
Mandatory reporters -- doctors, psychologists, social workers, rape counselors, teachers -- have absolute immunity given to them by statute, or statutory immunity. Essentially the legislature concluded, Hey, if we require them to report a case child abuse or rape of child only even if its only a hunch, we cannot allow the accused person to sue the reporter if the hunch wasn't a good one.
District attorneys and assistant district attorneys have qualified immunity, which means sometimes you can sue and sometimes you cannot sue them. As a general rule, the act of prosecuting a rape of child case is not one of those acts for which you can sue a DA: the act is within the scope of the DA's employment. Search on "qualified immunity" in the legal databases and familiarize yourself with the cases.
Court-appointed workers, such as family service officers, would have quasi-judicial immunity. "Quasi judicial" officers have been given absolute judicial immunity "because they are involved in an integral part of the judicial process and thus must be able to act freely without the threat of a law suit." LaLonde v. Eissner, 405 Mass. 207, 210 (1989). There appears to be no case in which quasi-judicial immunity had been extended to a private party not working at the behest or direction of a court. However, courts has stretched the meaning of "behest" and "direction."
Department of Social Services
officers in Massachusetts decide "`whether, when, how, and whom to
and whether and when to initiate court proceedings." Sena v.
Commonwealth, 417 Mass. 250, 255-259 (1994) (setting
for applying the discretionary function immunity exemption for police
and Suarez v. Belli, 1997 WL 39918, 189179
1997). "The discretionary function immunity applies as a matter
law to the allegations of negligence by Department employees."
Id. [Put "qualified immunity" in the Search Tool at the bottom of
this page and see the several files on this website where Barb
discusses qualified immunity in detail.]
The Court of Appeals for the
addressed qualified immunity in two
March 2008 cases. That court
held that there is no qualified immunity for the act of removing a
from its home without a proper showing of just cause: the child has a
Fourth Amendment tight, too. [Note: