Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Moya v. Garcia

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

April 24, 2018

MARIANO MOYA, LONNIE PETRY, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
ROBERT GARCIA, Santa Fe County Sheriff; MARK CALDWELL, Warden of Santa Fe County Adult Correctional Facility; MARK GALLEGOS, former Warden of Santa Fe County Adult Correctional Facility, in their individual capacities; BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF SANTA FE COUNTY, Defendants-Appellees.

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico (D.C. No. 1:16-CV-01022-WJ-KBM)

          A. Nathaniel Chakeres (Todd A. Coberly with him on the briefs), of Coberly & Martinez, LLLP, Santa Fe, New Mexico, for Plaintiffs-Appellants.

          Brandon Huss of The New Mexico Association of Counties, Santa Fe, New Mexico, for Defendants-Appellees.

          Before MATHESON, BACHARACH, and McHUGH, Circuit Judges.

          BACHARACH, Circuit Judge.

         This appeal involves claims of overdetention by Mr. Mariano Moya and Mr. Lonnie Petry. Both men were arrested based on outstanding warrants and detained in a county jail for 30 days or more prior to their arraignments. These arraignment delays violated New Mexico law, which requires arraignment of a defendant within 15 days of arrest. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 31-1-3; Rule 5-303(A) NMRA.

         The arraignment delays led Mr. Moya and Mr. Petry to sue under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivation of due process, alleging claims against

. Sheriff Robert Garcia, Warden Mark Caldwell, and former Warden Mark Gallegos in their individual capacities under theories of personal participation and supervisory liability and
. the Board of Commissioners of Santa Fe County under a theory of municipal liability.

         The district court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to state a valid claim. We affirm because Mr. Moya and Mr. Petry failed to plausibly allege a factual basis for liability.[1]

         I. Standard of Review

         We engage in de novo review of the dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Albers v. Bd. of Cty. Comm'rs, 771 F.3d 697, 700 (10th Cir. 2014). In engaging in this review, we credit the well-pleaded allegations in the complaint and construe them favorably to the plaintiffs. Thomas v. Kaven, 765 F.3d 1183, 1190 (10th Cir. 2014). To withstand dismissal, the plaintiffs' allegations must "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The claim is plausible only if it contains sufficient factual allegations to allow the court to reasonably infer liability. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         II. Supervisory Liability

         The individual defendants served as the sheriff and wardens of the jail where Mr. Moya and Mr. Petry were detained. These defendants could potentially incur liability under § 1983 if they had acted under color of state law. 42 U.S.C. § 1983. But § 1983 is not always available against individual officials because they enjoy qualified immunity when their conduct does not violate "'clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.'" Cordova v. City of Albuquerque, 816 F.3d 645, 655 (10th Cir. 2016) (quoting Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U.S. 223, 231 (2009)).

         To avoid qualified immunity at the motion-to-dismiss stage, a plaintiff must show that

. "'the defendant's [alleged conduct] violated a constitutional or statutory right'" and
. "the right was 'clearly established at the time of the [violation].'"

Thomas v. Kaven, 765 F.3d 1183, 1194 (10th Cir. 2014) (quoting Archuleta v. Wagner, 523 F.3d 1278, 1283 (10th Cir. 2008)). There are two questions at the first step:

1. whether the plaintiff has adequately alleged the violation of a constitutional or statutory right and
2. whether the defendant's alleged conduct deprived the plaintiff of that right.

See Dodds v. Richardson, 614 F.3d 1185, 1192-94 (10th Cir. 2010) (engaging in this two-part analysis of the first step of qualified immunity).

         The first question is whether Mr. Moya and Mr. Petry have adequately alleged a deprivation of due process. We need not decide this question because of our answer to the second question: in our view, the complaint does not plausibly allege facts attributing the potential constitutional violation to the sheriff or wardens.[2]

         To prevail, Mr. Moya and Mr. Petry must have alleged facts showing that the sheriff and wardens had been personally involved in the underlying violations through their own participation or supervisory control. Dodds v. Richardson, 614 F.3d 1185, 1195 (10th Cir. 2010); see also Brown v. Montoya, 662 F.3d 1152, 1163 (10th Cir. 2011) ("A § 1983 defendant sued in an individual capacity may be subject to personal liability and/or supervisory liability."). The district court rejected both theories of liability. Here, though, Mr. Moya and Mr. Petry rely only on their theory of supervisory liability. For this theory, Mr. Moya and Mr. Petry blame the sheriff and wardens for the delays in the arraignments. In our view, however, the sheriff and wardens did not cause the arraignment delays.[3]

         A plaintiff may succeed on a § 1983 supervisory-liability claim by showing that the defendant

. "promulgated, created, implemented or possessed responsibility for the continued operation of a policy that . . . caused the complained of constitutional harm" and
. "acted with the state of mind required to establish the alleged constitutional deprivation."

Dodds, 614 F.3d at 1199. But the arraignments could not be scheduled by anyone working for the sheriff or wardens; scheduling of the arraignments lay solely with the state trial court.

         Mr. Moya and Mr. Petry disagree, relying on Wilson v. Montano, 715 F.3d 847 (10th Cir. 2013). There two sheriff's deputies arrested Mr. Wilson without a warrant. Wilson, 715 F.3d at 850. He was taken to jail and detained for eleven days without the filing of a complaint or an opportunity for a probable-cause determination. Id. Mr. Wilson sued the sheriff and the warden, alleging that they (1) had routinely allowed deputies to make arrests without warrants and (2) had failed to file criminal complaints or bring the arrestees to court. Id. at 851. The Wilson court upheld supervisory liability, reasoning that under New Mexico law the sheriff and the warden were responsible for running the jail and ensuring prompt probable-cause determinations. Id. at 856-58.

         Wilson differs from our case on who controlled the situation causing the overdetention. In Wilson, the sheriff and the warden were in control because (1) deputy sheriffs had arrested Mr. Wilson and (2) the warden's staff had detained Mr. Wilson without a warrant. These facts proved decisive because (1) New Mexico law requires the sheriff to "diligently file a complaint or information, " N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 4-37-4, 29-1-1, and (2) the sheriff's staff had never filed a complaint against Mr. Wilson. Wilson, 715 F.3d at 851, 853. Without a complaint, the court could not make a probable-cause determination. By preventing a probable-cause determination, the sheriff impeded the criminal-justice process; and the warden exacerbated the delay by detaining Mr. Wilson for eleven days without a court order. Id. at 857-59.

         In contrast, the court was firmly in control here. Grand juries indicted Mr. Moya and Mr. Petry, and both individuals were arrested based on outstanding warrants issued by the court. And after these arrests, jail officials notified the court that Mr. Moya and Mr. Petry were in custody.

         The arrests triggered New Mexico's Rules of Criminal Procedure, which entitled Mr. Moya and Mr. Petry to arraignments within fifteen days. Rule 5-303(A) NMRA. Compliance with this requirement lay solely with the court, for an arraignment is a court proceeding that takes place only when scheduled by the court. See People v. Carter, 699 N.E.2d 35, 38 (N.Y. 1998) ("Responsibility for scheduling an arraignment date and securing a defendant's appearance lies with the court, not the People.").

         The court failed to comply with this requirement, resulting in overdetention of Mr. Moya and Mr. Petry. These overdetentions were caused by the court's failure to schedule and conduct timely arraignments rather than a lapse by the sheriff or wardens. See Webb v. Thompson, 643 Fed.Appx. 718, 726 (10th Cir. 2016) (unpublished) (Gorsuch, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part) ("[T]he only relevant law anyone has cited to us comes from state law, and it indicates that the duty to ensure a constitutionally timely arraignment in Utah falls on the arresting officer- not on correctional officers.").

         Mr. Moya and Mr. Petry argue that the sheriff and wardens could have mitigated the risk of overdetention by keeping track of whether detainees had been timely arraigned, requesting arraignments for those who had been overdetained, or bringing detainees to court prior to a scheduled arraignment. But the sheriff and wardens did not cause the overdetention. At most, the sheriff and wardens failed to remind the court that it was taking too long to arraign Mr. Moya and Mr. Petry. But even with such a reminder, the arraignments could only be scheduled by the court itself. See Estate of Brooks ex rel. Brooks v. United States, 197 F.3d 1245, 1248 (9th Cir. 1999) (holding that the county did not cause the overdetention, reasoning that the county could only ask for federal help and that the county lacked the "ability itself to bring the prisoner before the appropriate judicial officer").[4]

         The plaintiffs rely in part on Armstrong v. Squadrito, 152 F.3d 564 (7th Cir. 1998), and Oviatt ex rel. Waugh v. Pearce, 954 F.2d 1470 (9th Cir. 1992). In those cases, a clerical error prevented the court from discovering the arrests and the need to schedule arraignments.[5] But here, Mr. Moya and Mr. Petry do not allege a failure to tell the court of their arrests in sufficient time to conduct the arraignments within fifteen days.

         Mr. Moya and Mr. Petry also rely on Jauch v. Choctaw County, 874 F.3d 425 (5th Cir. 2017), and Hayes v. Faulkner County, 388 F.3d 669 (8th Cir. 2004). But the conclusions in Jauch and Hayes are not precedential, pertinent, or persuasive.

         In Jauch, the sheriff's office adopted a procedure of holding defendants in jail without any court proceeding until the reconvening of the circuit court that had issued the capias warrants. Jauch, 874 F.3d at 430, 435. This procedure resulted in detention for 96 days, with jail officials rejecting the defendant's requests to be brought before a judge. Id. at 428. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the sheriff could incur liability for the institution of this unconstitutional policy. Id. at 436-37.[6]

         In our view, Jauch bears limited applicability. Jauch rested on Mississippi law and the jailers' authority to release detainees when they had been detained too long without an opportunity for bail. Id. In interpreting Mississippi law, the court pointed to Sheffield v. Reece, 28 So.2d 745, 748 (Miss. 1947), which had required sheriffs to prevent detention "'for an unreasonable length of time.'" Jauch, 874 F.3d at 437 (quoting Sheffield, 28 So.2d at 748). As Jauch pointed out, Sheffield had recognized the responsibility of the sheriff to release an arrestee who has been detained too long without bail. Id. at 437.

         Here, however, Mr. Moya and Mr. Petry have not alleged that they could have been released. To the contrary, they expressly disavowed this theory in their opening brief:

[The district court] . . . noted that the [county jail] was legally prohibited from releasing detainees without a valid court order.
Yet Mr. Moya and Mr. Petry never argued that Defendants should have unconditionally released them from jail, so the fact that the [county jail] may have been prohibited from ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.