Attacking the "immunity" issue
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court will consider whether prosecutors have to face a lawsuit from two men whose convictions for killing a retired police officer were set aside.
The justices said Monday they'll hear an appeal in the fall from former Pottawattamie County, Iowa, prosecutors.
They are being sued by Curtis W. McGhee Jr., and Terry Harrington, who were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison in 1978 for the death of retired police officer John Schweer.
The men were released from prison after 25 years. Evidence showed police and prosecutors had failed to share evidence that pointed to another man as a possible suspect in Schweer's slaying. Some witnesses also recanted their testimony.
McGhee and Harrington filed lawsuits against the former prosecutors, including former County Attorney Dave Richter and his assistant Joseph Hrvol. They claimed authorities were eager to charge someone and that they were targeted because they are black. They also sued current County Attorney Matt Wilber after he suggested the right men had been convicted.
Richter and Hrvol argued that they were immune from lawsuits because they were acting within the scope of their job. Federal courts, however, rejected their motions to dismiss the lawsuits, saying the immunity did not extend to them.
The case is Pottawattamie County v. McGhee, 08-1065.