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."
Cross-Examination Trial Pack
NACDL’s new Cross-Examination Trial Pack includes three of our best-selling Cross-Examination resources: “Damage Control: Situational Cross-Examination Techniques Trial Guide”, "Ultimate Cross 2.0: Audio Recordings & Written Materials" and "Sample Cross-Examination Questions."
This masterful collection of cross-examination resources provide countless tips, techniques and strategies for a variety of criminal case-specific scenarios. Learn to cross-examine a variety of trial witnesses!
Death Investigation: Forensic Pathology in the Courtroom and Cause & Manner of Death (2022)
This unique program provides criminal defense lawyers with an accurate and clear overview of forensic pathology and the countless factors to consider in a death investigation and will methodically explain what happens during an autopsy to determine cause and manner of death.
You'll uncover the different types of medicolegal death investigations, what to request from your MDI expert, quality benchmarks for accreditation and certification, guidelines and standards, common terminology and frequently asked questions.
The Psychology of Persuasion & Storytelling for Criminal Defense Lawyers
This Trial Resource Guide is a masterful collection of practical tips, techniques and strategies focused solely on using the arts and sciences of persuasion to improve your storytelling skills at trial.
You'll learn how to master the ability to communicate with juries, deliver powerful openings and closings, perform convincing cross-examinations, use effective courtroom choreography and non-verbal communication, identify and develop the optimal theme and theory for your case, and offer compelling arguments during mitigation and sentencing.
Zealous Advocacy in Sexual Assault & Child Victims Cases (2022)
Defending charges of sexual assault and child abuse can be daunting — but with the right tools, it doesn’t have to be.
Every year, NACDL identifies the hottest topics and most pressing issues when defending these cases, and brings-in nationally-renowned lawyers and experts to help you prepare for battle. This year’s 13th Annual Defending Sex Cases training program is our best yet; packed with topics and speakers you won’t want to miss!
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.