Tompkins v. Gulick
Prosecutors are entitled to absolute immunity for performance of tasks as advocates in the conduct of criminal prosecutions. The plaintiff, Officer Ronald Tompkins, alleged that the defendant, Assistant State's Attorney David Gulick, began a relationship with Tompkins' former wife, Cheryl, in January or February 2008, when Cheryl was married to Tompkins. In May, Cheryl filed a complaint with police, alleging domestic abuse. Tompkins was charged with disorderly conduct and threatening. As a condition of his release on bond, Tompkins was ordered to avoid all contact with Cheryl. Allegedly, Tompkins called Cheryl's workplace. Although Tompkins claimed that he only wanted to speak with one of her co-workers, Tompkins was arrested for allegedly violating the "no contact" order. Tompkins alleged that when he was arrested, the deputy chief, whose son is Gulick's friend, neighbor and colleague, raised bond from $10,000 to $50,000. Tompkins alleged that Gulick was in the courtroom each time his case was heard and that his bond was raised, as a personal favor to the defendant. Gulick objected that he did not talk to anyone at the department about Tompkins' arrest. Charges were dismissed when Tompkins completed a course in family violence. Tompkins sued Gulick, alleging that a jury could infer that Gulick participated in the preparation of the arrest warrant application and the orchestration of Tompkins' prosecution. Prosecutors are entitled to absolute immunity for activities "associated with the judicial phase of the criminal process," pursuant to Imbler v. Pachtman, a 1976 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. Courts consider the nature of the function performed, when ruling whether an action is prosecutorial, pursuant to Kent v. Cardone, a 2011 decision of the 2nd Circuit. Absolute immunity can be extended, to protect prosecutors who participate in the procurement of an arrest warrant, pursuant to the 2nd Circuit's 1987 decision, Barr v. Abrams. "As defendant has absolute immunity for his performance of tasks as an advocate in the conduct of prosecution," wrote the District Court, "he cannot be held liable to plaintiff for allegedly orchestrating plaintiff's prosecution, regardless of genuine misconduct." The court granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment.