On Tuesday, August 4, 2022, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana found that Judicial Immunity barred claims by Marshall Cobb Sr. against Stephen R. Heimann, judge of the Circuit Court of Bartholomew County, and 2 other judges, Richard L. Young and Nancy H. Vaidik, for civil rights violations. The case is styled as ‘Cobb v. State of Indiana et al’ with case number #1:22-cv-00307-SEB-DML.

Judicial Immunity protects judges and others employed by the judiciary from liability resulting from their judicial actions. In the United States, courts have found the immunity to be absolute when the actions were those taken by judges generally, even if given no authority to take the specific actions in question.

The Court stated that:

“To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law.”

The order reads:

“Mr. Cobb’s claims against Judges Heimann, Vaidik, and Young are barred by the doctrine of judicial immunity. “[G]enerally, a judge is immune from a suit for money damages…. Exceptions apply only to “nonjudicial actions, i.e., actions not taken in the judge’s judicial capacity,” and to “actions, though judicial in nature, taken in the complete absence of all jurisdiction.” Mr. Cobb does not assert that either of these exceptions applies here – and the Court finds that they do not.”

The court also notes:

“Judicial immunity is a well-settled, long-standing legal doctrine that Mr. Cobb is aware of based on his previous filings before this Court…. A judge will not be deprived of immunity because the action he took was in error, was done maliciously, or was in excess of this authority…. Judicial immunity also applies despite any claims that the judges conspired with any non-immune persons.”

Judge Heimann earned a law degree from Wayne State University in 1986.

Judge Heimann retired from the bench on December 31, 2016.

Please contact AbusiveDiscretion for access to a copy of this filing.