42 U.S.C. § 1983 creates a state or federal cause of action for damages arising out of the acts of state officials that violate an individual’s civil rights while acting under color of state law.
In a compact similar in purpose and scope to the Revised ICJ, a court has held that an interstate compact does not create a federally enforceable right under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for those subject to its provisions absent a clear and unambiguous intent by Congress to establish a federal cause of action.
There are two types of public acts:
Discretionary Acts: acts in which the public employee has the freedom to exercise good judgment and care in carrying out an act
Ministerial Acts: actions required by law to fulfill
Things to remember:
- Public employees are immune from liability for discretionary acts
- Conduct cannot violate statute or constitutional rights
- Public employees are NOT immune from liability involving ministerial acts
- Parole and probation officers may enjoy qualified immunity if: their actions further statutory duty; are in substantial compliance with the directives of superiors and relevant statutory or regulatory guidelines; and are reasonable.
To determine whether a state official is liable, consider the following:
- Existence of a special custodial or other relationship
- Foreseeability of a juvenile delinquent's actions
- Negligent hiring and supervision
ICJ Bench Book: Chapter 5 Section 5.1