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Van De Kamp v. Goldstein

Docket No.: 07-854
Certiorari Granted: Apr 14 2008
Argued: November 5, 2008
Decided: January 26, 2009

PartyNames: John Van de Kamp, et al. v. Thomas Lee Goldstein
Petitioner: John Van de Kamp, et al.
Respondent: Thomas Lee Goldstein

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

John Van de Kamp, et al.
v.
Thomas Lee Goldstein
555 U.S. ____ (2009)
Question Presented:

1) Where absolute immunity shields an individual prosecutor's decisions regarding the disclosure of informant information in compliance with Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) and Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150 (1972) made in the course of preparing for the initiation of judicial proceedings or trial in any individual prosecution, may a plaintiff circumvent that immunity by suing one or more supervising prosecutors for purportedly improperly training, supervising, or setting policy with regard to the disclosure of such informant information for all cases prosecuted by his or her agency? 2) Are the decisions of a supervising prosecutor as chief advocate in directing policy concerning, and overseeing training and supervision of, individual prosecutors' compliance with Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) and Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150 (1972) in the course of preparing for the initiation of judicial proceedings or trial for all cases prosecuted by his or her agency, actions which are "intimately associated with the judicial phase of the criminal process" and hence shielded from liability under Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 430 (1976)?

Question:

In a suit brought by a plaintiff alleging that he was wrongfully convicted of murder, are federal prosecutors entitled to absolute immunity against charges that they failed to satisfactorily share information regarding the testimony of a jailhouse informant during the course of the trial?

Holding: judgment reversed and remanded
Vote: 9-0
Opinion By:
Read VAN DE KAMP V. GOLDSTEIN opinion (PDF)

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