ABOUT JUDICIAL IMMUNITY
NOTE: Judicial immunity
Also found in: Legal.
Judicial Immunity is a form of legal immunity which protects judges and others employed by the judiciary from lawsuits brought against them for judicial actions, no matter how incompetent, negligent, or malicious such conduct might be, even if this conduct is in violation of statutes.
For example, a judge is not liable for a slander or libel suit for statements made about someone during a trial.
The purpose of judicial immunity is twofold: it encourages judges to act in a “fair and just” manner, without regard to the possible extrinsic harms their acts may cause outside of the scope of their judicial work. It protects government workers from harassment from those whose interests they might negatively affect.
Judicial immunity does not protect judges from suits stemming from administrative decisions made while off the bench, like hiring and firing decisions. But immunity generally does extend to all judicial decisions in which the judge has proper jurisdiction, even if a decision is made with “corrupt or malicious intent.”
Note, however, that, while the judiciary may be immune from lawsuits involving their actions, they may still be subject to criminal prosecutions. For example, when West Virginia judge Troisi became irritated with a rude defendant, he stepped down from the bench, took off his robe, and bit the defendant on the nose. He spent five days in jail and was put on probation.
Historically, judicial immunity was associated with the English common law idea that “the King can do no wrong.” (Compare Sovereign immunity.) Judges, the King’s delegates for dispensing justice, accordingly “ought not to be drawn into question for any supposed corruption [for this tends] to the slander of the justice of the King.”
^ Jones, Ashby (November 12, 2009). “New Lawsuits Try to Pierce Shield of Judicial Immunity”. The Wall Street Journal.
^ Meiners, Roger; Ringleb & Edwards (2008). The Legal Environment of Business, Tenth Edition. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-324-65436-3.
^ Floyd & Barker, 12 Co. Rep. 23, 25, 77 Eng. Rep. 1305, 1307 (Star Chamber 1607).
Absolute immunity is a form of legal immunity for government officials that confers total immunity from criminal prosecution and lawsuits so long as they are acting within the scope of their duties. Absolute immunity contrasts with qualified immunity, which only applies if specified conditions are met.
Absolute immunity has been applied to lawyers in some cases.