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Thompson v. County of Alameda

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Citation. Thompson v. County of Alameda, 27 Cal. 3d 741, 614 P.2d 728, 167 Cal. Rptr. 70, 1980 Cal. LEXIS 196, 12 A.L.R.4th 701 (Cal. 1980)

Brief Fact Summary. The Superior Court of Alameda County (California) granted the County of Alameda’s (Appellees) general demurrer in Appellants’ claims for damages in connection with the murder of their son. Appellants sought review.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. The determination of whether or not to release an offender was a discretionary decision, which is entitled to immunity under Cal. Gov’t Code Section: 820.2, when made by the appropriate authorities. The decision to parole someone, comprises the resolution of policy considerations, entrusted by statute to a coordinate branch of government, that compels immunity from judicial reexamination.

Facts. A juvenile offender, James F., was in the custody of Appellee. The complaint in the instant case alleged that James F. knew he had “latent, extremely dangerous and violent propensities regarding young children and that sexual assaults upon young children and violence connected therewith were a likely result of releasing [him] into the community.” It was further alleged that James F. had stated that if released he would kill a neighborhood child. The county nevertheless released him, temporarily, into his mother’s custody, without warning local police or nearby families. Almost immediately, James F. sexually assaulted and murdered a five year-old boy, Appellants’ son. Appellants brought a wrongful death action against Appellees. The trial court sustained Appellee’s demurrer.

Issue. Whether any action or inaction by Appellee in releasing a known dangerous juvenile offender on temporary release had led to the death of Appellants’ son; and
* Whether Appellee was protected by immunity.

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