Judicial Immunity Affirmed by Missouri Court of Appeals

Doris Jean Stalnacker sued Judge David Dolan for false imprisonment, seeking $2M in damages. Judge Dolan had presided over a criminal case as a circuit court judge where Stalnacker was charged and placed on probation. Judge Dolan revoked Stalnacker’s probation, and she spent 26 months in the Missouri Department of Corrections before she was eventually ordered to be released. Stalnacker alleged that Judge Dolan “lacked authority and jurisdiction” in denying earned compliance credit. However, the Missouri Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s judgment that judicial immunity barred Stalnacker’s petition against Judge Dolan.

Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District – SD36954

Judicial immunity protects judges from monetary liability in civil court and is important because civil suits could impede judges’ ability to fulfill their duties. Judges’ decisions, rather, are subject to review in appellate courts which can either affirm or reverse previous judgments.

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