What is Judicial Immunity?

Legal Definition
Judicial Immunity is a form of legal immunity which protects judges and others employed by the judiciary from liability resulting from their judicial actions.

An example of applying judicial immunity: a judge is not liable for a slander or libel suit for statements made about someone during a trial, no matter how corrupt that act was.[citation needed]

Judicial immunity is stated as providing "the maximum ability [of judges] to deal fearlessly and impartially with the public". The justification is as follows: because of the likelihood of innocent individuals being convicted in a court of law under false claims, the "burden" of being subjected to a court of law (a trial) would "dampen" the judges "enthusiasm" or "passion". Barr v. Matteo, 360 U.S. 564 (1959). Opponents of judicial immunity argue that this doctrine is not adequately justified. For example, judges could be shielded from any personal capacity liability, and still be subject to official capacity liability so that they may be held accountable for their injurious acts -- thus "balancing" the "evil" to better protect the fundamental rights of victims.

Judicial immunity does not protect judges from suits stemming from administrative decisions made while off the bench, like hiring and firing decisions. But immunity generally does extend to all judicial decisions in which the judge has proper jurisdiction, even if a decision is made with "corrupt or malicious intent." In 1997 West Virginia judge Troisi became so irritated with a rude defendant, he stepped down from the bench, took off his robe, and bit the defendant on the nose. He pleaded no contest to state charges but was acquitted of federal charges of violating the defendants civil rights. He spent five days in jail and was put on probation.

Historically, judicial immunity was associated with the English common law idea that "the King can do no wrong." (Compare Sovereign immunity.) Judges, the King's delegates for dispensing justice, accordingly "ought not to be drawn into question for any supposed corruption [for this tends] to the slander of the justice of the King."
-- Wikipedia
Legal Definition
term that describes the immunity that a judge has from civil liability for actions performed as a judge.