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The parents of a six-year-old American boy charged with sexual assault after being caught "playing doctor" are suing the prosecutors.
Their lawsuit, filed last week, accuses officials in Grant County, Wisconsin, of violating their own and their son's civil rights, the Chicago Tribune reports.
They are seeking US$12 million in damages.
The boy — who reportedly has a developmental disability — was charged with first-degree sexual assault last year.
He had been discovered playing doctor with a five-year-old girl and her brother by the girl's mother.
The lawsuit alleges the investigation was biased because the girl's father is a well-known political figure in the area.
The suit names a district attorney, a social worker and a former sheriff.
He had been discovered playing doctor with a five-year-old girl and her brother by the girl's mother. The lawsuit alleges the investigation was biased because the girl's father is a well-known political figure in the area.
A prosecutor manufactures evidence in order to win a conviction. After the convicted serves 25 years in prison, exculpatory evidence pointing to another perpetrator surfaces. The convicted is released. Should he be able to sue the prosecutor who concocted the false evidence used to convict him?
In Imbler, the Supreme Court determined that a prosecutor who knowingly uses false testimony and withholds exculpatory evidence is immune from damages, even in cases where his misdeeds result in a wrongful conviction. The Court determined that subjecting prosecutors to the possibility of such suits would affect their judgment in determining what cases to bring. In another case involving a falsely convicted man attempting to bring a lawsuit, the Court extended absolute immunity to include district attorneys who poorly supervise their subordinates.
Hrvol and Richter contend that prosecutorial immunity gives government officials the right to coerce witnesses to lie, withhold evidence pointing to a suspect's innocence, and work with police to manufacture false evidence of guilt, then use that evidence to win false convictions that send two men to prison for 25 years. Their motivation for making this argument is obvious; they'd rather not pay for their misconduct. But they're supported in amicus briefs filed by the U.S. Solicitor General, the National District Attorneys Association, and the attorneys general of 27 states and the District of Columbia. Notably, Cook County, Illinois, home to a number of wrongful convictions, also filed its own brief in support of the prosecutors.
They said authorities even raised the prospect that the boy be evaluated as a potential sexual predator and suggested he not be allowed to have any unsupervised contact with children.