“When a judge knows that he lacks jurisdiction, or acts in the face of clearly valid statutes expressly depriving him of jurisdiction, judicial immunity is lost.” Rankin v. Howard, (1980) 633 F.2d 844, cert den. Zeller v. Rankin, 101 S.Ct. 2020, 451 U.S. 939, 68 L.Ed 2d 326,
Where there is no jurisdiction, there can be no discretion, for discretion is incident to jurisdiction.” Piper v. Pearson, 2 Gray 120, cited in Bradley v. Fisher, 13 Wall. 335, 20 L.Ed. 646 (1872)
A judge must be acting within his jurisdiction as to subject matter and person, to be entitled to immunity from civil action for his acts. Davis v. Burris, 51 Ariz. 220, 75 P.2d 689 (1938)
Generally, judges are immune from suit for judicial acts within or in excess of their jurisdiction even if those acts have been done maliciously or corruptly; the only exception being for acts done in the clear absence of all jurisdiction. Gregory v. Thompson, 500 F2d 59 (C.A. Ariz. 1974)
Judges have Judicial Immunity from civil actions for all acts when acting in their official capacity even if it is determined to be violation of the person’s civil rights. However, as with all rules there are exceptions. If the Judge acted outside his judicial capacity or acted in the absence of all jurisdiction, then the Judge is not immune for that act. See Stump v. Sparkman, 435 US 349 (1978) and Mireles v. Waco, 502 US 9 (1991).
When a judge knows that he lacks jurisdiction, or acts in the face of clearly valid statutes expressly
depriving him of jurisdiction, judicial immunity is lost. Rankin v. Howard, (1980) 633 F.2d 844, cert
den. Zeller v. Rankin, 101 S.Ct. 2020, 451 U.S. 939, 68 L.Ed 2d 326.
In Rankin v. Howard, 633 F.2d 844 (1980) the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed an Arizona
District Court dismissal based upon absolute judicial immunity, finding that both necessary immunity
prongs were absent; later, in Ashelman v. Pope, 793 F.2d 1072 (1986), the Ninth Circuit, en banc ,
criticized the “judicial nature” analysis it had published in Rankin as unnecessarily restrictive. But
Rankin’s ultimate result was not changed, because Judge Howard had been independently divested of
absolute judicial immunity by his complete lack of jurisdiction.
Some Defendants urge that any act “of a judicial nature” entitles the Judge to absolute judicial
immunity. But in a jurisdictional vacuum, (that is, absence of all jurisdiction) the second prong
necessary to absolute judicial immunity is missing. Stump v. Sparkman, id., 435 U.S. 349.
“Where there is no jurisdiction, there can be no discretion, for discretion is incident to jurisdiction.”
Piper v. Pearson, 2 Gray 120, cited in Bradley v. Fisher, 13 Wall. 335, 20 L.Ed. 646 (1872)
A judge must be acting within his jurisdiction as to subject matter and person, to be entitled to
immunity from civil action for his acts. Davis v. Burris, 51 Ariz. 220, 75 P.2d 689 (1938)
Generally, judges are immune from suit for judicial acts within or in excess of their jurisdiction even if
those acts have been done maliciously or corruptly; the only exception being for acts done in the clear
absence of all jurisdiction. Gregory v. Thompson, 500 F2d 59 (C.A. Ariz. 1974)
There is a general rule that a ministerial officer who acts wrongfully, although in good faith, is
nevertheless liable in a civil action and cannot claim the immunity of the sovereign. Cooper v.
O’Conner, 99 F.2d 133
When a judicial officer acts entirely without jurisdiction or without compliance with jurisdiction
requisites he may be held civilly liable for abuse of process even though his act involved a decision
made in good faith, that he had jurisdiction. State use of Little v. U.S. Fidelity & Guaranty Co., 217
Miss. 576, 64 So. 2d 697.
“… the particular phraseology of the constitution of the United States confirms and strengthens the
principle, supposed to be essential to all written constitutions, that a law repugnant to the constitution is
void, and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument.” Marbury v. Madison,
1 Cranch 137 (1803).
“No judicial process, whatever form it may assume, can have any lawful authority outside of the limits
of the jurisdiction of the court or judge by whom it is issued; and an attempt to enforce it betond these
boundaries is nothing less than lawless violence.” Ableman v. Booth, 21 Howard 506 (1859).
“The courts are not bound by an officer’s interpretation of the law under which he presumes to act.”
Hoffsomer v. Hayes, 92 Okla 32, 227 F 417.
A Judge is not immune for tortious acts committed in a purely Administrative, non-judicial capacity.
Forrester v. White, 484 U.S. at 227-229, 108 S.Ct. at 544-545; Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. at 380, 98
S.Ct. at 1106. Mireles v. Waco, 112 S.Ct. 286 at 288 (1991).
The Illinois Supreme Court has held that “if the magistrate has not such jurisdiction, then he and those
who advise and act with him, or execute his process, are trespassers.” Von Kettler et.al. v. Johnson, 57
Ill. 109 (1870)
Under Federal law which is applicable to all states, the U.S. Supreme Court stated that if a court is
“without authority, its judgments and orders are regarded as nullities. They are not voidable, but simply
void; and form no bar to a recovery sought, even prior to a reversal in opposition to them. They
constitute no justification; and all persons concerned in executing such judgments or sentences, are
considered, in law, as trespassers.” Elliot v. Piersol, 1 Pet. 328, 340, 26 U.S. 328, 340 (1828)
The Illinois Supreme Court held that if a court “could not hear the matter upon the jurisdictional paper
presented, its finding that it had the power can add nothing to its authority, – it had no authority to make
that finding.” The People v. Brewer, 128 Ill. 472, 483 (1928). The judges listed below had no legal
authority (jurisdiction) to hear or rule on certain matters before them. They acted without any
When judges act when they do not have jurisdiction to act, or they enforce a void order (an order issued
by a judge without jurisdiction), they become trespassers of the law,and are engaged in treason.
Whenever a judge acts where he/she does not have jurisdiction to act, the judge is engaged in an act or
acts of treason. U.S. v. Will, 449 U.S. 200, 216, 101 S.Ct. 471, 66 L.Ed.2d 392, 406 (1980); Cohens v.
Virginia, 19 U.S. (6 Wheat) 264, 404, 5 L.Ed 257 (1821)
The Court in Yates v. Village of Hoffman Estates, Illinois, 209 F.Supp. 757 (N.D. Ill. 1962) held that
“not every action by a judge is in exercise of his judicial function. … it is not a judicial function for a
judge to commit an intentional tort even though the tort occurs in the courthouse.” When a judge acts as
a trespasser of the law, when a judge does not follow the law, the judge loses subject-matter jurisdiction
and the judges orders are void, of no legal force or effect.
The U.S. Supreme Court, in Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 94 S.Ct. 1683, 1687 (1974) stated that
“when a state officer acts under a state law in a manner violative of the Federal Constitution, he “comes
into conflict with the superior authority of that Constitution, and he is in that case stripped of his
official or representative character and is subjected in his person to the consequences of his individual
conduct. The State has no power to impart to him any immunity from responsibility to the supreme
authority of the United States.” [Emphasis supplied in original]. By law, a judge is a state officer. The
judge then acts not as a judge, but as a private individual (in his person).