Foreman v. Wadsworth

Foreman alleged that Rockford police officers came to his restaurant because the man living in an upstairs apartment accused Foreman of cutting off his electricity. Foreman refused to answer questions and was arrested. Prosecutor Leisten charged Foreman with obstructing a police officer. The charge was dismissed. The court ordered Foreman to show cause why claims against Leisten should not be dismissed; the prosecutor would have absolute immunity in her individual capacity and the Eleventh Amendment bars official capacity claims. In a previous case Foreman’s lawyer, Redmond, had raised similar claims against prosecutors that were dismissed, so the court ordered Redmond to show cause why he should not be sanctioned. The court granted Leisten judgment on the pleadings, noting that Foreman had not offered a basis for challenging the existing law of prosecutorial immunity and that the official capacity claim would not fall under the Eleventh Amendment's exception for injunctive relief because Foreman’s complaint did not allege an ongoing constitutional violation. The court censured Redmond, stating that he did not argue for a change in the law until after he was faced with a recommendation of censure. The court dismissed 42 U.S.C. 1983 claims against the officers, concluding that they had probable cause to arrest Foreman. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, citing Supreme Court precedent that state prosecutors enjoy absolute immunity from suits under section 1983 for activities that are “intimately associated with the judicial phase of the criminal process.” View "Foreman v. Wadsworth" on Justia Law