How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask ScottyMacEsq Your Own Question
ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 17111
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
19487448
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
ScottyMacEsq is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Can I sue a civil court judge? GA. The Ga Court of Appeals

This answer was rated:

Can I sue a civil court judge?
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: GA
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: The Ga Court of Appeals overturned the judges ruling
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Its a child custody case and my constitutional right was violated
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Last year a judge ruled against me in a family court trial. Ruled that my 18month year old daughter had to live two weeks on two weeks off with me and her father. I appealed the judges decision to the court of appeals and the decision was fully reversed by the court of appeals. The COA found that the judge violated three GA laws protecting me and my child. I had to spend 30K on attorney fees to get the judges decision over turned and now I want to know if she can be held liable for her incompetence.

Thank you for using JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. What specifically did he do that violated your constitutional rights?

You mention GA laws, but you also stated constitutional laws. Can you tell me more about those?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
She was found to have violated my right to due process.
Here are the three GA cases that were sited by the COA to prove she was wrong.
Flannagan v. Cantrell
Ganny v. Ganny
Pray v Pray

Do you have an opinion written by the appellate court?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
They reversed everything and sent it back to her for corrections

I see. Thank you for that additional information. Please give me a few minutes while I type a response. I am still here with you, but it does take a bit of time to type a complete response.

Again, I'm very sorry to hear about your situation. As a general rule, judges cannot be held liable for money damages for acts done in the exercise of his judicial function, within the limits of his jurisdiction, no matter how erroneous, illegal or malicious his acts may be. (48A Corpus Juris Secundum §86) A small minority of decisions have held that if an inferior judge acts maliciously or corruptly he may incur liability. Kalb v. Luce, 291 N.W. 841, 234, WISC 509, but this does not apply to Georgia.

“Judicial immunity shields judicial officers from liability in civil actions based on acts performed in their judicial capacity that are not undertaken in the complete absence of all jurisdiction.” Considine v. Murphy, 297 Ga. 164, 170, n. 4 (3) (773 SE2d 176) (2015) (citations omitted); see also Earl v. Mills, 275 Ga. 503, 504 (1) (570 SE2d 282) (2002). As both this court and the United States Supreme Court have explained, judicial immunity “ ‘applies even when [a] judge is accused of acting maliciously and corruptly[:] it is not for the protection or benefit of a malicious or corrupt judge, but for the benefit of the public, whose interest it is that the judges should be at liberty to exercise their functions with independence and without fear of consequences.’ ” Maddox v. Prescott, 214 Ga. App. 810, 813 (1) (449 SE2d 163) (1994), quoting Pierson v. Ray, 386 U. S. 547, 554 (87 SCt 1213, 18 LE2d 288) (1967). The same immunity also applies to “officers appointed by the court if their role is simply ‘an extension of the court.’ ” Considine, 297 Ga. at 169, n. 4, quoting West End Warehouses v. Dunlap, 141 Ga. App. 333, 334 (233 SE2d 284) (1977) (special masters are entitled to judicial immunity).

It is well-established that whether an act by a judge is “judicial” depends on “the nature of the act itself, i.e., whether it is a function normally performed by a judge, and to the expectations of the parties, i.e., whether they dealt with the judge in his judicial capacity.” Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U. S. 349, 362 (II) (98 SCt 1099, 55 LE2d 331) (1978). The United States Supreme Court has held, however, that judges may not claim absolute immunity for acts taken in an administrative rather than adjudicatory capacity, such as “supervising court employees and overseeing the efficient operation of a court,” because such acts “were not themselves judicial or adjudicative.” Forrester v. White, 484 U. S. 219, 229 (IV) (108 SCt 538, 98 LE2d 555) (1988). If a judge performs "nonjudicial" acts that are administrative in nature, and does so negligently, then that would not be something that the judge could claim immunity for. But if the judge is performing a judicial act (making a determination of law, fact, etc...) then there is absolute immunity and you would not be able to sue the judge for that.

That being said, the judge is still a lawyer. You CAN complain to the State Bar Association and the Judicial Qualifications Committee: http://www.gajqc.com/complaint.cfm. The State Bar says that they refer all claims to the Judicial Qualifications Committee anyway, which could investigate and potentially make a referral to disbar the judge, and could, potentially, order him to pay restitution as a condition of keeping his license. It's not something that you'd have any control over outside of the complaint (so it's unlike a lawsuit) but at least it's something. As far as a lawsuit is concerned, however, I'm afraid that judicial immunity would almost certainly apply, even though the findings were clearly erroneous, negligent, etc... It applies even when the judge is acting maliciously and corruptly, so it certainly applies in case of negligence, incompetence, etc... (unfortunately).

I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but it is the law. I hope that clears things up anyway. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable.

Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (3 or more stars). Look for the stars on your screen (★★★★★). You may need to scroll left/right/up/down to see these stars, but note that the rating is what closes out this question, so it is necessary that you do so.

Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

ScottyMacEsq and 3 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you