From: "Taoss" <>
Sent: Friday, September 28, 2001 11:17 PM
Subject: Re: 11th Cir (AL): "...sufficient to overcome the prison's qualified immunity..."

Now it is confirmed that prisons have "qualified" immunity [to what? - to violate constitutional law??? human rights laws???? to commit fraud against the families???? inhumanity to man???? to be above the law??? - take your pick].  The "qualification" is to protect government individuals from being sued when they break the law.  Supposedly this is meant to protect individuals when they elect to take a government position.  However, the individuals who view this protection as *cart blanc* to abuse or cause others to be abused, have commited felony violations and should be prosecuted as though they were individuals in civilian positions, just like *everyone* else.  Their acts must be exposed.  The *immunity* needs to disappear because it is a bad rule that allows consistent violations of Law under the cover of governmental positions.

*No one* and certainly *no institution* has -- or should have -- immunity of any kind when it comes to abiding by the Laws of the Land.  Period!  It is written in the United States Constitution that when a law or rule is repugnant to the Constitution, then that law or rule is null and void, "as though it never existed."  The immunity rule is a case in point, in my view, because high [and low] officials continue, with impunity, to take this too far.

Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2001 9:06 PM Subject: 11th Cir (AL): "...sufficient to overcome the prison's qualified immunity..."


MARSH v. BUTLER COUNTY, ALABAMA, No 99-12813 (11th Cir. September 26, 2001)

The allegation that the prison knew that locks on the prison cells did not work, preventing the isolation of prisoners from each other and giving prisoners ready access to assault other prisoners, is sufficient to overcome the prison's qualified immunity.

To read the full text of this opinion, go to:

Footnote 1 [hotlinks to cases below may be found on the above webpage]

The Supreme Court has set out the important policy considerations supporting the defense of qualified immunity for government officers sued for money damages in their individual capacities. See e.g. Siegert v. Gilley, 111 S.Ct. 1789, 1793 (1991); Anderson v. Creighton, 107 S.Ct. 3034, 3038 (1987); Mitchell v. Forsyth, 105 S.Ct. 2806, 2815 (1985); Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 102 S.Ct. 2727, 2736 (1982) (qualified immunity helps protect government officials from expenses of litigation, prevents diversion of energy from pressing public issues and alleviates deterrent effect of threat of lawsuits on people's acceptance of public office).

The basic law of this circuit for qualified immunity is set out in Lassiter v. Alabama A & M University, 28 F.3d 1146 (11th Cir. 1994) (en banc). See Jenkins v. Talladega City Bd. of Educ., 115 F.3d 821, 823 (11th Cir. 1997) (en banc) ("The principles of qualified immunity set out in Lassiter v. Alabama A & M Univ., continue to be the guiding directives for deciding cases involving the question of a state actor's entitlement to qualified immunity in this circuit") (internal citation omitted).

Sherry Swiney