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Prosecutor Immune from Suit Where Charges Dropped on Appeal

The plaintiff was prosecuted and convicted of assault on a staff member and sentenced to an additional eight months in jail; on appeal the charges were dropped. The plaintiff sued the prosecutor and those who brought the charges.

The prosecutor is absolutely immune. There is no claim under the Fifth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. If there were a claim, it would be foreclosed under the PLRA by the lack of injury and the plaintiff's abuse of the judicial process. The plaintiff was not injured because his sentence was vacated before he served any of it, and his claim is barred by the mental or emotional injury provision of the PLRA. The court also concludes that his claim is malicious based on his prior history of litigation and his own admissions concerning his prison misconduct. At 1137:

The surprising frequency with which Cain's actions have proceeded to trial, rather than evincing the merit of his claims, corroborates Judge Larkins' observation "that after enough practice, almost anyone can learn how to get past the pleading stage and further if they are willing to stretch the truth sufficiently." (Citation omitted)

The court notes that this is the fourth claim the plaintiff has had dismissed as frivolous, malicious or failing to state a claim without specifically invoking the three strikes provision. See: Cain v. Commonwealth of Virginia, 982 F.Supp. 1132 (E.D.Va. 1997).

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Related legal case

Cain v. Commonwealth of Virginia