US Supreme Court grants absolute immunity to investigators for prosecutor’s offices who give false testimony to grand juries.

The public generally perceives the Supreme Court as dealing with grand, abstract constitutional principles and writing esoteric opinions filled with judicial philosophy.  But while some cases might fit that description, much of the Court’s docket is comprised of cases that are less about dueling judicial philosophies, and more about weighing the practical implications of a particular rule in the context of the day-to-day functioning of the judicial system.

Such is the case in Rehberg v. Paulk, which was argued on Tuesday, November 1.  The issue in Rehberg is whether a complaining witness who provides grand jury testimony is absolutely immune from malicious prosecution liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.  Rehberg filed a federal complaint alleging that Paulk, an investigator for the District Attorney’s Office, had knowingly provided false testimony against him in multiple grand jury proceedings, which led to three indictments, all of which were subsequently dismissed.


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