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When Do Probation and Parole Officers Enjoy the Same Immunity as Judges?

NCJ Number
Federal Probation Volume: 56 Issue: 4 Dated: (December 1992) Pages: 36-41
M Jones; R V del Carmen
Date Published
6 pages
This analysis of the types of defenses that a probation or parole officer can use in civil liability lawsuits focuses on the concepts of absolute, quasi-judicial, and qualified immunity.
The analysis suggests that the rules regarding the types of defenses available to field officers may be changing in favor of more immunity for the line officer, but the limits are vague and undefined. Absolute immunity generally applies only to officials in the judicial and legislative branches of government; qualified immunity, to officials in the executive branch; and quasi-judicial immunity, to probation and parole officers and others performing both judicial and executive functions. For quasi- judicial immunity to apply, the court focuses on the function performed by the officer rather than who the officer may be and requires that the function be intimately associated with the judicial phase of the criminal process. Although earlier cases limited its meaning to the preparation and writing of pre-sentence investigation reports, more recent cases include such functions as pre- trial release, pre-parole reports; preparation for a revocation hearing; revocations; and submissions of parole violations. Despite trends toward expansion, it is unlikely that courts will extend absolute immunity to all acts performed by probation or parole officers. Tables and 25 reference notes