523 F.3d 1278 (10th Cir. 2008), 07-1108, Archuleta v. Wagner

Docket Nº:07-1108.
Citation:523 F.3d 1278
Party Name:Mercedes ARCHULETA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Michelle WAGNER, a detective with the Lakewood Police Department, in her individual capacity; Shayne Butler, an officer with the Colorado Highway Patrol, in his individual capacity; Ted Mink, Jefferson County Sheriff, in his official capacity, Defendants, and D.L. Mandelko, a jailer with the Jefferson Coun
Case Date:April 29, 2008
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

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523 F.3d 1278 (10th Cir. 2008)

Mercedes ARCHULETA, Plaintiff-Appellee,


Michelle WAGNER, a detective with the Lakewood Police Department, in her individual capacity; Shayne Butler, an officer with the Colorado Highway Patrol, in his individual capacity; Ted Mink, Jefferson County Sheriff, in his official capacity, Defendants,


D.L. Mandelko, a jailer with the Jefferson County Jail, in her individual capacity, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 07-1108.

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit.

April 29, 2008

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Colorado (D.C. No. 06-CV-02061-LTB-MJW).

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Timothy MacDonald (Andrew S. Kelley, on the brief), Arnold & Porter, L.L.P., Denver, CO, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Writer Mott, Assistant County Attorney (Ellen G. Wakeman, Acting County Attorney and Patricia W. Gilbert, Assistant County Attorney, on the briefs), Jefferson County Attorney's Office, Golden, CO, for Defendant-Appellant.

Before KELLY, LUCERO, and HARTZ, Circuit Judges.

PAUL KELLY, JR., Circuit Judge.

Defendant-Appellant D.L. Mandelko appeals from the district court's order denying

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her qualified immunity. In this civil-rights action, Plaintiff-Appellee Mercedes Archuleta alleged in pertinent part that Deputy Mandelko violated her Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights by strip searching her. See 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Ms. Archuleta was strip searched pursuant to an incorrect arrest warrant. We have jurisdiction because the district court's order rejecting Deputy Mandelko's assertion of a qualified-immunity defense on a motion to dismiss is a "final decision" under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, Johnson v. Fankell, 520 U.S. 911, 915, 117 S.Ct. 1800, 138 L.Ed.2d 108 (1997), and affirm.


The correct standard for reviewing a motion to dismiss in a qualified-immunity case is the same as for dismissals generally. Moya v. Schollenbarger, 465 F.3d 444, 455 (10th Cir. 2006). The court of appeals is "limited to assessing the legal sufficiency of the allegations contained within the four corners of the complaint" and therefore all of the facts recounted below are taken directly from that document. Jojola v. Chavez, 55 F.3d 488, 494 (10th Cir. 1995); see Aplt. App., tab 1 (Complaint).

On April 18, 2005, police from Lakewood, Colorado responded to a call regarding an altercation between two women at a Walgreens store. Upon their arrival, the alleged victim, Alexandria Silvas, told the police that she had a fight with her girlfriend who was no longer at the scene. Ms. Silvas told the authorities that she did not suffer any injuries, she did not wish to press charges, she had been involved in an intimate relationship with her girlfriend for the past three months, her girlfriend's name was Mercedes Archuleta, her girlfriend was approximately 42 to 43 years old, and she and her girlfriend both had outstanding arrest warrants. Ms. Silvas did not provide any other information. Police later found that there were no outstanding warrants for either Ms. Silvas or "Mercedes Archuleta."

According to a Colorado Bureau of Investigations database, a woman named Phyllis Rivera used the name "Mercedes Archuleta" as an alias. Based only upon the information supplied by Ms. Silvas and upon a call to Ms. Silvas's foster mother who had not heard from Ms. Silvas since November 2004, Detective Michelle Wagner of the Lakewood Police Department swore out an affidavit and obtained an arrest warrant for a "Mercedes Archuleta." This affidavit contained identifying information Detective Wagner found in motor-vehicle records for Plaintiff and Ms. Rivera's criminal history. The Lakewood Municipal Court then issued an arrest warrant for "Mercedes Archuleta" for allegedly violating a municipal ordinance prohibiting "harassment," although it appears from the briefs that the arrest warrant listed "DV-Harassment" as the alleged crime pursuant to Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-6-801.6.1 Aplt. Br. at 15; Aplee. Br. at 5.

On June 12, 2005, Ms. Archuleta--a 46-year-old mother of nine--and some of her children were riding in the family van driven by Ms. Archuleta's husband. They were stopped by Officer Shane Butler because there was an extra child in the back seat. Although Ms. Archuleta's husband was the driver, Officer Butler requested Ms. Archuleta's driver's license in addition to her husband's. Officer Butler took the licenses to his patrol car and, upon returning,

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told Ms. Archuleta to get out of the car, handcuffed her, and frisked her. Officer Butler told her that she was under arrest pursuant to an arrest warrant for domestic violence and took her to the Jefferson County, Colorado Detention Facility.

At the facility, Ms. Archuleta was frisked two more times in the waiting area. She pleaded mistaken identity with Deputy Mandelko, a booking officer on duty. After Deputy Mandelko found the correct file on her computer, it was apparent to her that Ms. Archuleta did not have the moles or tattoos that the computer file stated she was supposed to have because Ms. Archuleta was wearing shorts and a sleeveless blouse. Deputy Mandelko asked Ms. Archuleta "where are your moles and tattoos?" and told a receptionist "this isn't her." Deputy Mandelko continued to process and strip search Ms. Archuleta nonetheless, knowing Ms. Archuleta was the wrong person, was not to be placed in the general prison population, and had not been charged with a crime involving weapons or drugs.

As she was standing naked, Ms. Archuleta began to lactate. Ms. Archuleta tried to cover herself but was told by Deputy Mandelko to put her arms down. Deputy Mandelko told a male jailer to cut a maxi-pad in half for Ms. Archuleta to use. He did so, although neither the male officer nor Deputy Mandelko were wearing gloves while handling the pad. Ms. Archuleta was continually mocked by Deputy Mandelko and the male officer during this incident and Deputy Mandelko told Ms. Archuleta that she knew she was innocent.

Ms. Archuleta was then taken to a holding room before being placed in a cell by herself for several hours. Her husband posted bail and she was released. The charges against her were eventually dismissed.

Ms. Archuleta filed a complaint on October 17, 2006 against Detective Wagner, Deputy Mandelko, Officer Butler, and Sheriff Ted Mink, the Jefferson County Sheriff, seeking a declaratory judgment, compensatory and punitive damages, and attorney fees...

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