On January 12, 2023, the Block Firm filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court of the United States. This brief, written in partnership with the Law Enforcement Action Partnership and the Institute for Justice, urges the Supreme Court to reconsider the doctrine of absolute prosecutorial immunity by presenting it with the doctrine’s real-world fallout.
The Block Firm wrote this brief in support of the petitioner in the currently pending case Anilao v. Spota, which addresses the vindictive prosecution of ten Filipino nurses who were prosecuted at the behest of a retaliatory employer, not because they had broken any law. This prosecution was thankfully halted by a rare writ of prohibition because the prosecutors had clearly violated the First and Thirteenth Amendments of the Constitution.
But because prosecutors are completely immune from civil suit under the doctrine of prosecutorial immunity, the nurses’ civil claims requesting compensation for the violation of their Constitutional rights were dismissed.
Prosecutors serve a vital role in the American justice system; they wield a unique level of discretion and power. That they are permitted to do so without the deterrent of a civil suit should they violate the Constitution means that some of the most powerful operators in the criminal justice system have no check on their authority. In its amicus brief, the Block Firm urged the Supreme Court to reconsider the scope of prosecutorial immunity and permit individuals to bring suit against prosecutors when they exceed their authority.
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