Torts And Damages De Leon.pdf
the judge, however, is not the mere organ of the court. he is not a mere moderator of the court. he is not to decide the law or the facts of the case. he is not to decide upon the measure of damages. he is not to decide upon the liability of the parties to the suit. he is not to decide upon the measure of damages that should be awarded.
like the common law of libel, the common law of torts has long and widely recognized a general immunity for those who, in the course of their official duties, must make certain kinds of decisions. thus, in o’shea v. littleton, 414 u. s. 488 (1974), the court held that a prosecutor was absolutely immune from damages liability for directing the filing of criminal charges, even if his decision was erroneous. in reaching this result, the court acknowledged that a judge was not immune for directing the filing of a criminal charge when that charge was known to be groundless. however, the court felt that absolute immunity for prosecutors was necessary because of the threat that such suits would undermine the prosecutor’s effective performance of his duties in the judicial process. similarly, in butz v. economou, supra, the court stated that because of the need to encourage public service and the effective performance of official duties, “congress has provided absolute immunity from liability for those parts of the decisionmaking process of federal executive officials, like a prosecutor’s decisions to initiate or continue a criminal prosecution and his decisions as to what evidence is to be presented and whether and how to resist a motion for summary judgment, that are closely associated with the judicial process..” id., at 516. in each of these cases, the decision to bring an action or to litigate a position was considered one intimately related to the judicial process.