It’s no slight matter that the legal status of Christians is increasingly under attack and that the immunities of state actors and parties favored by the state are increasing.
Immunity is often in view today with repeated victories by police officers who have killed unarmed people by shooting them in the back or otherwise abusing or injuring them.
They are cleared by juries whose members ignorantly buy defense attorneys’ arguments that the officer acted in good faith, acted according to department policy and thus is immune from the consequences of his acts.
He is not guilty of manslaughter, murder, assault or battery because his immunity is built into the statutory language that defines his job, his guarantees and his protections against claims from the public — language that figures in part of the judge’s final instructions to the jury.
Immunity is in many ways the fodder of political campaigns. Who is immune from the barbs and burdens of the real world? Which group will our party make immune from the pressures of the free market in which some businesses win and other lose depending on price and quality? Many political promises are in the form of immunity from consequence and cost forged by law, favor and subsidy.
Immunity — what is it?
City council issued a subpoena to the district attorney general, Neal Pinkston, after it had taken offense of Mr. Pinkston’s lack of cooperation with its gang program. The question of Mr. Pinkston’s unreachability by the subpoena is that of jurisdiction vs. immunity.
They are similar concepts. The state is not in the general jurisdiction of the city, which is a creation of the state. The creature cannot hold to account the state, nor rebuke it by compelling the attendance of its agent, the attorney general of the district.
Bouvier’s the constitutional dictionary has a brief definition of immunity. “An exemption from serving in an office, or performing duties which the law generally requires other citizens to perform.”
Immunity is an “exemption from penalties, payments or legal requirements, granted by authorities or statutes. Generally there are three types of immunity at law: a) a promise not to prosecute for a crime in exchange for information or testimony in a criminal matter, granted by the prosecutors, a judge, a grand jury or an investigating legislative committee; b) public officials’ protection from liability for their decisions (like a city manager or member of a public hospital board); c) governmental (or sovereign) immunity, which protects government agencies from lawsuits unless the government agreed to be sued; d) diplomatic immunity which excuses foreign ambassadors from most U.S. criminal laws.”
The Wikipedia definition of immunity points out that immunity is granted in a tradeoff to allow the administrative state to operate at will. Legal immunity, or immunity from prosecution, is “a legal status wherein an individual or entity can not be held liable for a violation of the law, in order to facilitate societal aims that outweigh the value of imposing liability in such cases.”
Immunity allows for “societal aims” to outweigh the damage that unmoored, unregulated, uncontrolled and capricious state actors do apart from law. Better to let individual state malefactors escape punishment if, overall, the system maintains itself upon the backs of the people.
Judicial immunity means that a judge can avoid any legal claims against him for violating the constitution. If he is acting in a case, his person cannot be assailed, attached, rebuked or corrected by any member of the public (his victim, perhaps). State actors with “absolute immunity” enjoy a privilege that no other human being in Tennessee enjoys, except perhaps foreign diplomats in Nashville who park their district Columbia limos to take in the Grand Ole Opry.
They are immune from most claims against them, state or private. But judges, who rule from the bench daily, are unreachable through the law.
A religious concept
Immunity is a religious concept. By Christ’s forgiveness sinners obtain absolute immunity from eternal judgment. His blood is the grant of immunity from the just judgment sinners deserve for violating God’s laws while creatures upon the earth. Immunity is part of sovereignty. The sovereign is immune from lawsuit unless he allows it. The sovereign is a deity, a legal corporation that cannot be touched by the masses residing within its borders, unless it consents.
The Roman Catholic church sold immunity through its indulgence system, initiated by friar Tetzel who was confronted by Martin Luther over this misleading practice. Luther said indulgences were licenses to sin, and let people maintain soul-damning errors and practices without personal repentance. The indulgence system also granted greedy lords who entered the crusades against the Moors to have forgiveness in advance for their rapine and pillage.
Immunity appears in many places in Tennessee law. The most shocking forms are of judges, especially in corporation courts (city courts, sessions courts) who do whatever they want upon the hapless and ignorant citizenry who appear before them. Among these sins, according to report, are ex parte communications. Also, the immunity police officers enjoy to operate gangland-style violence against subjects, suspects, defendants and ordinary people who cross their paths.