An Appeal to Remember

In Atherton v. District of Columbia Office of the Mayor, the Appeals Court for the District of Columbia ruled today that a federal prosecutor and a D.C. Superior Court jury official are not entitled to absolute immunity in a suit filed by a man alleging constitutional violations stemming from his abrupt dismissal from a grand jury. The court remanded the case for findings on whether the two officials are entitled to qualified immunity, but did not rule on whether Atherton had a liberty interest in serving on the grand jury. Atherton was dismissed from grand jury duty after several co-jurors complained about his conduct and officials determined that his behavior was disruptive. Having completed grand jury duty in the D.C. courts and spending a month in the hot, musty jury rooms, I can’t figure out why in the world someone would be upset about being dismissed. I guess Atherton is a better, more diligent U.S. citizen than I.

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