Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Law Student Prosecutor Immune From Civil Suit

A third-year law student intern who prosecuted an assault case under a student practice rule is entitled to immunity from a civil suit filed by the defendant, according to a recent decision of the Montana Supreme Court. The attorney who authorized the representation also was absolved of liability.

The court affirmed a lower court dismissal of the suit:

Spreadbury asserts on appeal that summary judgment was inappropriate because (1) an unlicensed law student may not act as a lawyer in a criminal proceeding; (2) prosecutorial immunity is not available to the law student and her supervisor; (3) the District Court erred in ignoring his claim of criminal contempt based on Wetzsteon’s violation of the Student Practice Rule; and (4) Corn, as Wetzsteon’s supervisor, was personally liable under the Student Practice Rule in the event Wetzsteon is found to be in violation of the Rule.

In granting Wetzsteon and Corn’s motion for summary judgment, the District Court, without analysis, concluded Wetzsteon and Corn had prosecutorial immunity from all of the claims raised by Spreadbury. The court further concluded that Spreadbury presented no facts creating a material question; rather, he merely set forth speculative and conclusory statements. As such, the District Court ruled Wetzsteon and Corn were entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law. The court dismissed Spreadbury’s complaint with prejudice.

Reviewing the record in this case and the relevant provisions of the Student Practice Rule, we conclude neither Wetzsteon nor Corn violated the Rule. Additionally, had Wetzsteon or Corn failed to strictly comply with the Rule, Spreadbury has presented no legal authority to support his argument that such lack of compliance deprives a student prosecutor or the supervising prosecutor of prosecutorial immunity.

The defendant was charged with assault. He was convicted in absentia when he failed to appear for trial after the case had been continued over his objection. The conviction was overturned on appeal based on a speedy trial violation (Mike Frisch)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2011/04/law-student-prosecutor-immune-from-civil-suit.html

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Comments

This law student did not have a supervisor in the courtroom. The Supreme Court decision is supposed to be unpublished and uncitable. Montana ranks 48/48 for justice. Wetzsteon broke rules of discovery, student practice, hounded a witness on the stand. Spreadbury was represented by counsel, and was not eligible for arrest, but no law pertains to protected attorneys (protected by public funds & the Attorney General Bullock, Columbia Law Grad). The Prosecutor, George Corn was voted out of office; makes NC prosecutor Mike Nifong look like the candyman. Spreadbury was a decorated FEMA officer tried in absentia as he was deployed to a national disaster.

He has been disabled from work due to the trauma of this and other unconstitutional events in Hamilton Montana. Irma Russell, Dean of UM law refuses to meet with Spreadbury, and heads the 172/200 "approved" law school in the country. Your ABA is worthless, and has no standards; President Zack, Chicago queried about unauthorized practice--UM was recently granted credentials.

Enjoy your profession. This is the ultimate result.

Posted by: Plaintiff | Apr 21, 2011 10:57:45 AM

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