Dispatches from the Creation Wars

As the Supreme Court considers the case of Pottawattamie v. McGhee and the notion of absolute prosecutorial immunity, here’s a perfect example of why their ruling is so crucial to any notion of keeping “criminal justice system” a three-word phrase rather merely a criminal system. A federal judge has ruled that two judges who are accused of taking kickbacks to send juveniles to a privately-owned detention centers cannot even be taken to court on the matter.

Federal judge Richard Caputo granted partial immunity to the judges, both of whom have been accused of taking kickbacks from juvenile detention centers in return for sending business their way, in the form of juveniles, many of whom were sent off for weeks or months at a time for relatively minor infractions.

Writing that judicial immunity does not operate on a “sliding scale,” Judge Caputo ruled that the judges are protected by immunity from facing legal action for their courtroom acts. “The degree of corrupt behavior is not the touchstone of the immunity doctrine’s application,” Caputo wrote, acknowledging that his ruling runs contrary to “popular will.” He added: “The doctrine holds that judges with bad intentions, as well as those with good intentions, are immune from suit.”

This has nothing to do with being innocent before proven guilty. They would have that presumption in a court of law. But under the doctrine of prosecutorial immunity, they can’t be punished even if they can be proven guilty. That’s simply insane. It’s not immunity, it’s impunity. And it is manifestly dangerous and unjust.