Edelman v. Laux
Government officials who perform functions comparable to those of judges, law clerks and prosecutors may be entitled to absolute immunity. The plaintiff, Steven Edelman, alleges the following facts, which have not been proven. On June 22, 1998, a building official informed Edelman that the work that Edelman had been performing to replace his roof did not require a permit. On June 25, a sheriff served a cease-and-desist order that Edelman immediately stop working on the roof. After trial in October 1999, Edelman was convicted of working on the roof without a permit and sentenced to 90 days in prison. In 2001, the Connecticut Appellate Court vacated the conviction. The state entered a nolle prosequi. Edelman sued the assistant state's attorney, Lonnie Braxton, alleging malicious prosecution, selective prosecution and violation of his due-process rights. Braxton moved to dismiss and argued he was entitled to immunity for work that he performed as a prosecutor. The plaintiff objected that Braxton did not act in a prosecutorial role when he allegedly helped to prepare the application for Edelman's arrest warrant, before Edelman was arrested. Prosecutors are entitled to absolute prosecutorial immunity for conduct performed in their role as prosecutors. "Prosecutors are absolutely immune from liability . . . for their conduct in initiating a prosecution and in presenting the State's case . . . insofar as that conduct is intimately associated with the judicial phase of the criminal process," pursuant to the Connecticut Appellate Court's decision in Barese v. Clark. "Braxton," wrote the court, "is entitled to prosecutorial immunity as all the plaintiff's allegations against him stem from his actions that he took in his role as advocate for the State." Edelman also sued the state building inspector and members of the codes and standards committee, and these defendants argued that they were entitled to quasi-judicial immunity. The court found that they did not perform functions comparable to judges, law clerks or prosecutors, and that they were not entitled to quasi-judicial immunity. The court denied their motion to dismiss.