Ninth Circuit ruled no immunity for Ashcroft

On September 4, 2009, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that former attorney general John Ashcroft was not entitled to immunity when he used the federal material witness statute to detain and investigate terrorism suspects without probable cause. In the case at issue, Al-Kidd v. Ashcroft, Ashcroft was being sued by US citizen Abdullah Al-Kidd who claimed that he was unlawfully detained. The court rejected Ashcroft's dual claims that he was entitled both to absolute immunity as a prosecutor and qualified immunity as an attorney general, upholding an earlier decision from the US District Court for the District of Idaho.

Learn more about the laws governing qualified immunity and the legal controversy over the detention of suspected terrorists from the JURIST news archive.


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