24/7 call for a free consultation 212-300-5196




When you’re facing a federal issue, you need an attorney whose going to be available 24/7 to help you get the results and outcome you need. The value of working with the Spodek Law Group is that we treat each and every client like a member of our family.

How Immunity Works in Colorado Federal Cases

How Immunity Works in Colorado Federal Cases

Immunity is a complex issue in law, especially when it comes to federal cases in Colorado. There are a lot of moving parts and legal precedents that shape how immunity works. This article will break it down into simple terms so you can understand the basics.

What is Immunity?

Immunity simply means you can’t be held legally responsible for something. There are different types of immunity in law – some protect government agencies and employees, others protect witnesses who testify. Immunity comes from laws passed by legislators or from court rulings that set precedents.

In Colorado, the main immunity law is the Colorado Government Immunity Act. This provides general immunity for government agencies and employees, with some exceptions.

Governmental Immunity

Under the Colorado Government Immunity Act, state and local government agencies are immune from lawsuits and liability in many situations. There are exceptions where immunity is waived – like if a government driver causes a car accident, or if unsafe property conditions injure someone. But in general, suing the government is difficult in Colorado.

Governmental immunity also applies to employees like police officers, sheriff’s deputies, and other government workers. They can’t be held personally liable for actions performed as part of their job. There are exceptions for “willful and wanton” misconduct, but otherwise cops and other employees have broad immunity protections.

Qualified Immunity

Qualified immunity is a federal legal doctrine that shields government employees from lawsuits over civil rights violations. This applies to cases brought under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 alleging constitutional rights violations by government workers. Qualified immunity prevents liability unless the defendant violated “clearly established” law that a reasonable person would know about. This is a very high bar for plaintiffs to overcome.

In 2020, Colorado passed a new law called SB20-217 that eliminates qualified immunity as a defense for Colorado local law enforcement officers accused of violating someone’s civil rights under the Colorado constitution. This was a landmark reform that opened a new avenue for accountability, since qualified immunity still applies to federal civil rights claims in Colorado.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Judicial Immunity

Judges have absolute immunity for actions performed as part of their judicial duties. This comes from common law and promotes independent decision-making. Judges can’t be sued for things like rulings they make, statements from the bench, or sentencing decisions. Judicial immunity does not apply to non-judicial acts like employment decisions.

Prosecutorial Immunity

Prosecutors have broad immunity for actions associated with their prosecutorial function. This includes things like deciding whether to bring charges, presenting evidence at trial, and examining witnesses. The scope of prosecutorial immunity is determined by the nature of the function being performed, not just the prosecutor’s job title.

Legislative Immunity

Members of the Colorado legislature have immunity under the Colorado constitution for legislative acts like voting, speaking on the legislature floor, serving on committees, and drafting bills. However, this does not shield them from criminal prosecution for bribery or other crimes.

Witness Immunity

Courts have the power to grant immunity to witnesses in both civil and criminal cases. This encourages testimony from witnesses who otherwise might invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Prosecutors can make similar grants of immunity in exchange for cooperation. Defense attorneys sometimes request immunity for witnesses who are reluctant to testify but have important information.

Overcoming Immunity

While immunity limits liability in many situations, it is not absolute. Careful plaintiffs can still bring successful claims against the government in certain circumstances. For example:

  • Suing individual employees for misconduct outside their official duties
  • Suing under exceptions to the Colorado Government Immunity Act
  • Bringing state civil rights claims under the new Colorado law eliminating qualified immunity defenses
  • Suing government agencies and employees in federal court to bypass state immunity laws

It’s also possible to overcome immunity by proving it doesn’t apply. For example, showing a government employee’s conduct was willful and wanton, or clearly exceeded the scope of their duties. Or demonstrating prosecutorial misconduct violated ethics rules and constituted non-prosecutorial acts.

Policy Debate Over Immunity

There is significant debate around expanding or limiting immunity in Colorado and nationally. Supporters argue immunity facilitates good governance by shielding officials from harassment and liability. But critics contend it denies justice to victims of government misconduct. There are reasonable arguments on both sides.

Recent Colorado reforms like SB20-217 show the state legislature is willing to incrementally restrict certain immunities. But broader changes seem unlikely in the near future. Immunity remains a controversial issue with compelling points on both sides.

The Bottom Line

Here are some key takeaways about how immunity works in Colorado federal cases:

  • Government agencies have broad immunity under the Colorado Government Immunity Act
  • Law enforcement officers have qualified immunity for federal civil rights claims
  • Qualified immunity was eliminated for Colorado constitutional claims against police
  • Judges, legislators, and prosecutors also possess immunities for official acts
  • Witnesses can receive immunity to compel testimony
  • Immunity is not absolute – creative plaintiffs can still bring successful suits

While immunity limits liability, it is not an impenetrable shield. Understanding the nuances of immunity law in Colorado enables informed evaluation of the policy tradeoffs involved.


[1] Colorado Government Immunity Act overview

[2] Article on Colorado qualified immunity reforms

[3] Judicial immunity explanations

[4] Colorado immunity rules for lawyer disciplinary proceedings

[5] Article on state efforts to restrict qualified immunity

[6] National Conference of State Legislatures qualified immunity overview

Schedule Your Consultation Now