Jesse Engebretson v. Mike Mahoney

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Rights § 1983
  • Date Filed: 05-30-2013
  • Case #: 10-35626
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Callahan for the Court; Circuit Judges Nelson and Tashima
  • Full Text Opinion

Prison officials are immune from liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for executing conduct prescribed by facially valid court orders.

Jesse Ebgebretson is a prison inmate who sought relief for what he alleged was an illegal term of probation. Engebretson alleged that Mahoney, the warden where Engebretson was serving a 20-year sentence, and Slaughter, the director of the Montana Department of Corrections, violated his rights by only releasing him to a probationary sentence despite his allegations that the sentence was illegal. Although the Montana Supreme Court later held the sentence was in fact invalid, the district court held that Mahoney and Slaughter were entitled to absolute immunity since they were following a facially valid court order while it was in place. Engebretson appealed. The Ninth Circuit held that prison officials are immune from liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for executing conduct prescribed by facially valid court orders. Since the prison officials here were following facially valid orders to only release Engebretson to a probationary sentence, the district court's dismissal was affirmed. AFFIRMED.

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