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Law School Case Brief

Kim v. Walker - 208 Cal. App. 3d 375, 256 Cal. Rptr. 223 (1989)

Rule:

Under Cal. Gov't Code § 845.8, neither a public entity nor a public employee is liable for any injury resulting from determining whether to parole or release a prisoner, or from determining the terms and conditions of his parole or release, or from determining whether to revoke his parole or release.

Facts:

A parolee filed a complaint for damages for defamation against his parole agent, the deputy attorney general representing the parole agent, the deputy county counsel, his ex-wife, the legal services attorney representing his ex-wife, and a policeman. The parolee alleged that defendants defamed him by "publishing accusations" that he molested his daughter. The parolee also filed suit against his parole agent for having made discretionary decisions that led to the revocation of his parole. The trial court sustained, without leave to amend, the demurrers brought by defendants and entered orders of dismissal.

Issue:

Were alleged statements made by parole officers in the course of the official duties that would immunize them from a defamation suit brought against them?

Answer:

Yes

Conclusion:

The appellate court found that defendants, in the course of their official duties or during official proceedings, made the alleged defamatory statements. The court held, therefore, that the statements were absolutely privileged. The court further found that this appeal was but one episode in plaintiff's litigious history of using the court system to harass and intimidate. Thus, the court held that the appeal was frivolous in nature and thereby deserving of sanctions. The court assessed sanctions against plaintiff payable to defendants as part of their costs on appeal.

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