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ASHCROFT v. AL-KIDD

Docket No.: 10-98
Certiorari Granted: 10/18/10
Argued: March 2, 2011
Decided: 05/31/11

Topics:

Fourth Amendment, Bivens action, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, Fourth Amendment, absolute immunity, immigration, immunity from suit, murder, privacy, probable cause, public schools, qualified immunity, separation of powers

PartyNames: John D. Ashcroft v. Abdullah al-Kidd
Petitioner: John D. Ashcroft
Respondent: Abdullah al-Kidd

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Citation: 580 F.3d 949

John D. Ashcroft
v.
Abdullah al-Kidd
Background:

Respondent was arrested on a material witness warrant issued by a federal magistrate judge under 18 U.S.C. 3144 in connection with a pending prosecution. He later filed a Bivens action against petitioner, the former Attorney General of the United States, seeking damages for his arrest. Respondent alleged that his arrest resulted from a policy implemented by the former Attorney General of using the material witness statute as a "pretext" to investigate and preventively detain terrorism suspects. In addition, respondent alleged that the affidavit submitted in support of the warrant for his arrest contained false statements.

Consideration Limited:

GRANTED LIMITED TO QUESTIONS 1 AND 2 PRESENTED BY THE PETITION. JUSTICE KAGAN TOOK NO PART

Question Presented:

1. Whether the court of appeals erred in denying petitioner absolute immunity from the pretext claim. 2. Whether the court of appeals erred in denying petitioner qualified immunity from the pretext claim based on the conclusions that (a) the Fourth Amendment prohibits an officer from executing a valid material witness warrant with the subjective intent of conducting further investigation or preventively detaining the subject; and (b) this Fourth Amendment rule was clearly established at the time of respondent's arrest. 3. Whether the former Attorney General may be held liable for the alleged false statements in the affidavit supporting the material witness warrant, even though the complaint does not allege that he either participated in the preparation of the affidavit or implemented any policy encouraging such alleged misconduct.

Question:

Is the former government official entitled to qualified immunity from the pretext claim based on the conclusions that (a) the Fourth Amendment prohibits an officer from executing a valid material witness warrant with the intent of conducting further investigation or preventively detaining the subject; and (b) this Fourth Amendment rule was clearly established at the time of Al-Kidd's arrest?

Note:

THE PETITION FOR A WRIT OF CERTIORARI IS

ASHCROFT v. AL-KIDD
ORAL ARGUMENT

03/02/11

Listen to Oral Argument in ASHCROFT v. AL-KIDD
Holding: reversed and remanded
Decision: Decision: 8 votes for Ashcroft, 0 vote(s) against
Recused: Kagan
Opinion By:

ASHCROFT v. AL-KIDD
Case Documents

1ASHCROFT v. AL-KIDD Oral Argument Transcript (HTML)
2ASHCROFT v. AL-KIDD Oral Argument Transcript (PDF)
3ASHCROFT v. AL-KIDD Oral Argument Transcript (HTML)
4ASHCROFT v. AL-KIDD Oral Argument Audio
5ASHCROFT v. AL-KIDD Oral Argument Audio (March 2, 2011)
6Opinion in ASHCROFT v. AL-KIDD
Additional documents for this case are pending review.