Mireles v. Waco
In Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 13 (1991), the U.S. Supreme Court held that absolute judicial immunity bars suits for money damages for acts made in the exercise of prosecutorial or judicial discretion.
The Court held that a judge was entitled to absolute immunity from a claim that he ordered that excessive force be used to bring an attorney before him.
The Court wrote:
- Like other forms of official immunity, judicial immunity is an immunity from suit, not just from ultimate assessment of damages. Mitchell v. Forsyth, 472 U.S. 511, 526, 86 L. Ed. 2d 411, 105 S. Ct. 2806 (1985). Accordingly, judicial immunity is not overcome by allegations of bad faith or malice, the existence of which ordinarily cannot be resolved without engaging in discovery and eventual trial. Pierson v. Ray, 386 U.S. at 554 ("Immunity applies even when the judge is accused of acting maliciously and corruptly"). See also Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 815-819, 73 L. Ed. 2d 396, 102 S. Ct. 2727 (1982) (allegations of malice are insufficient to overcome qualified immunity).
- Rather, our cases make clear that the immunity is overcome in only two sets of circumstances. First, a judge is not immune from liability for nonjudicial actions, i. e., actions not taken in the judge's judicial capacity. Forrester v. White, 484 U.S. at 227-229; Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. at 360. Second, a judge is not immune for actions, though judicial in nature, taken in the complete absence of all jurisdiction. Id., at 356-357; Bradley v. Fisher, 13 Wall. at 351.