Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law

OSJCL Amici Board of Advisors

OSJCL Amici: Views from the Field

Van De Kamp v. Goldstein

Golstein was convicted of a murder he did not commit as a result of the false testimony of a jail house informant, who falsely swore that the DA office promised nothing to him in return for testimony. The trial deputy in this case did not know and could not disclose that this was a lie, as the chief administrators of the DA office had not established any system for tracking information about the benefits handlers were granting informants in return for testimony. As a result he seeks damages from Petitioners.

The issue here is that Petitioners enjoy qualified immunity, which would shield them from liability unless they either were plainly incompetent or knowingly violated the law. This case raises the question of whether officials are absolutely immune from civil suit for decision even if it can be proven that Petitioners purposely fostered information vacuum with specific intent to prevent line prosecutors from learning this information, and thus be required to disclose.



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