Washington, DC (December 10, 1997) -- In a victory for justice and common sense, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled today that a prosecutor who lied in order to obtain an arrest warrant may be sued for damages. Kalina v. Fletcher, No. 96-792, affirms lower court decisions holding that state officials enjoy only limited immunity from suits for violations of civil rights they commit during the course of performing their official duties.
The plaintiff in the suit, Rodney Fletcher, was arrested for burglary and spent a day in jail after Washington state deputy prosecuting attorney Lynne Kalina knowingly made false statements when she swore out a warrant for his arrest. Charges against Mr. Fletcher were dismissed the next day, and he sued Ms. Kalina in federal court for false imprisonment and violating his civil rights under color of state law.
"Demanding immunity for prosecutorial misconduct such as lying under oath is unbelievable gall," observed New York attorney Gerald B. Lefcourt, president of the 9,500 member National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. "Her claim that holding her responsible for her alleged deceit would somehow 'chill' prosecutors from effectively doing their job is absurd. In a system of checks and balances, courts have to be able to rely on the proposition that sworn statements supporting arrest or search warrants are truthful and made in good faith. Simply put, the prosecutor tried to claim immunity for allegedly made up evidence against Mr. Fletcher, and no person should be able to lie under oath without consequences."
A Defender’s Guide to Federal Evidence: A Trial Practice Handbook for Criminal Defense Attorneys
This Guide to Federal Evidence is the only federal evidence handbook written exclusively for criminal defense lawyers. The Guide analyzes each Federal Rule of Evidence and outlines the main evidentiary issues that confront criminal defense lawyers. It also summarizes countless defense favorable cases and provides tips on how to avoid common evidentiary pitfalls. The Guide contains multiple user-friendly flowcharts aimed at helping the criminal defense lawyer tackle evidence problems. A Defender’s Guide to Federal Evidence is an indispensable tool in preparing a case for trial.
Modern Digital Evidence & Technologies in Criminal Cases
Modern cases need modern defenses, and modern lawyers can't practice with an outdated playbook. This program is a contemporary training that identifies emerging technologies and digital evidence encountered in today's criminal cases and arms you with the tools necessary to combat expert witnesses, prosecutorial overreach, and an uneducated judge and jury. This comprehensive CLE program covers both general aspects of new technologies as well as practical courtroom application and legal challenges to the use of these new technologies.
Top Shelf DUI Defenses: The Law, The Science, The Techniques (2021)
If you are serious about being an effective DUI defense advocate, or if you’re considering adding DUI defenses to your portfolio, you need to know the latest scientific and legal strategies to optimize your success at trial. Learn from the best-of-the-best in the field in this unique CLE Program, updated for 2021.
Defending Modern Drug Cases (2021)
From challenging the arrest and seizure to picking a jury and cross-examining police officers, defense attorneys handling drug cases must be able to construct a defense that will increase the chances of the client getting a positive result for your client.
Effective motion practice, juror selection, and storytelling have never been more important. This seminar will introduce defense counsel to techniques that have been used at recent drug trials to rebut specific claims and overcome the emotion created in today’s criminal legal system.
NACDL Communications Department
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.