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Docket No.: 10-788
Certiorari Granted: 03/21/11
Argued: November 1, 2011
Decided: 04/02/12


Civil Rights Act, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, First Amendment, Section 1983, absolute immunity, immunity from suit, probable cause, qualified immunity, retaliation

PartyNames: Charles A. Rehberg v. James P. Paulk
Petitioner: Charles A. Rehberg
Respondent: James P. Paulk

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
Citation: 611 F.3d 828
Supreme Court Docket

Charles A. Rehberg
James P. Paulk
Question Presented:

In Briscoe v. LaHue, 460 U.S. 325 (1983), this Court held that law enforcement officials enjoy absolute immunity from civil liability under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 for perjured testimony that they provide at trial. But in Malley v. Briggs, 475 U.S. 335 (1986), this Court held that law enforcement officials are not entitled to absolute immunity when they act as "complaining witnesses" to initiate a criminal prosecution by submitting a legally invalid arrest warrant. The federal courts of appeals have since divided about how Briscoe and Malley apply when government officials act as "complaining witnesses" by testifying before a grand jury or at another judicial proceeding. The question presented in this case is: Whether a government official who acts as a "complaining witness" by presenting perjured testimony against an innocent citizen is entitled to absolute immunity from a Section 1983 claim for civil damages.


Are government officials who initiate prosecutions by providing false testimony in judicial proceedings absolutely immune from civil suit?



Listen to Oral Argument in REHBERG v. PAULK
Vote: 9-0
Majority: Unanimous
Opinion By:

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Case Documents

1Opinion in REHBERG v. PAULK
2REHBERG v. PAULK Oral Argument Audio
3REHBERG v. PAULK Oral Argument Audio (November 1, 2011)
4REHBERG v. PAULK Oral Argument Transcript (PDF)
5REHBERG v. PAULK Oral Argument Transcript (HTML)
Additional documents for this case are pending review.