Prosecutors have absolute immunity when acting as advocates for the state in criminal prosecutions.
They have limited liability when acting as administrators or investigators.
Hurdles to suing officers and the government
People who sue the government or its officers rarely win.
Reasons for failure include:
It takes a long time.
Juries are more likely to believe police officers than plaintiffs.
Officials have absolute, qualified, and/or official immunity.
Officers have no affirmative duty to protect.
Some cases are frivolous.
There are two types of administrative remedies: internal review and external civilian review.
Internal review is by internal affairs units (IAU) made up of department officers.
Internal review has four stages:
Intake – Intake officers accept complaints.
Investigation – Other officers gather evidence and interview witnesses.
Deliberation – Other officers weigh evidence.
Disposition – Making a decision involves three stages.
First stage – The deliberating officers decide among four dispositions:
Unfounded – The act didn’t take place.
Exonerated – The act took place but was justified, lawful, and proper.
Not sustained – There’s not enough evidence to prove the allegations in the complaint.
Sustained – The evidence proved the allegations.
Next stage – The officers recommend disciplinary action for sustained complaints.