This Is Why I Hate Qualified Immunity

01 Nov
November 1, 2018

The Innocence Project, known for helping free people who were unjustly convicted is helping a former prosecutor fight to get his job back.

Why was he fired? For not breaking the law.

Eric Hillman was an Assistant District Attorney in Nueces County who unfairly lost his job in January 2014 after he found an independent witness who was not included in police reports from an intoxication assault prosecution. Hillman, who also served as a Harris County (Houston) police officer for 21 years, was ordered by a DA’s Office supervisor to keep the information about the witness to himself, saying it did not have to be turned over to defense lawyers because it came from an independent investigation.

After he was fired for refusing to “follow orders,” Hillman sued to get his job back, arguing that Texas law should protect prosecutors who refuse to break the law and hide evidence that aids the defense. Earlier this year, the Innocence Project and the Innocence Project of Texas urged the Texas Supreme Court to take up Hillman’s case, arguing in a friend of the court brief that these employment protections are critical to ensuring that innocent persons are not wrongly convicted.

He was fired for doing what prosecutors should be doing. What if he had followed orders and the defendant was erroneously convicted? Could Mr. Hillman be sued for violating the defendant’s rights? Nope. He would have qualified immunity.

It’s time to remove that crap. Let prosecutors have to carry malpractice insurance. That will make them more diligent in their duty instead diligent in improving their conviction rate.

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