958 F.2d 92 (5th Cir. 1992), 91-1951, Johnson v. Moore

Docket Nº:91-1951
Citation:958 F.2d 92
Party Name:Glenn JOHNSON, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. D. Rook MOORE, III, et al. Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:April 10, 1992
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
 
FREE EXCERPT

Page 92

958 F.2d 92 (5th Cir. 1992)

Glenn JOHNSON, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

D. Rook MOORE, III, et al. Defendants-Appellees.

No. 91-1951

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

April 10, 1992

        Jim Waide, Tupelo, Miss., for plaintiff-appellant.

        Gary E. Friedman, William I. Gault, Jr., Phelps, Dunbar, Marks, Claverie, Sims, Jackson, Miss., for defendants-appellees.

Page 93

        Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi.

        Before KING, EMILIO M. GARZA and DeMOSS, Circuit Judges.

        KING, Circuit Judge:

        Glenn Johnson appeals from the district court's dismissal of his § 1983 complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Johnson sued the city of Holly Springs and D. Rook Moore, its municipal court judge, alleging that he had been the victim of the city's policy of sentencing indigent criminal defendants to jail without benefit of counsel and without a knowing and intelligent waiver of the right to counsel. The district court held that Johnson had failed to allege the existence of a municipal policy, thereby precluding the recovery of damages. The court further held that Johnson lacked standing to seek declaratory and injunctive relief against Judge Moore in his individual capacity. As the district court's decision is grounded in firmly decided precedent, we affirm the dismissal.

       I. BACKGROUND

        Glenn Johnson sued D. Rook Moore, III, a municipal court judge, and the city of Holly Springs, Mississippi on October 3, 1990. He alleged that his constitutional rights were violated when Moore sentenced him to jail "numerous times," including a three-day jail term on July 25, 1988, and a five-day jail term on July 16, 1990, without representation of counsel or waiver of his right to an attorney. Johnson complained that Judge Moore's actions committing him to jail without counsel was part of an official municipal policy of the city of Holly Springs.

        From the city and from Moore in his official capacity, Johnson asked for damages for mental anxiety and stress, as well as for loss of income, which he allegedly suffered when he was committed to jail without assistance of counsel. From Moore in his individual capacity, Johnson sought declaratory and injunctive relief to prevent him from being incarcerated without counsel in the future.

        The defendants moved to dismiss Johnson's complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). They argued that Johnson's claims against Moore in his official capacity and against the city should be dismissed because Johnson had not identified a municipal policy that caused his injuries. They also argued that Johnson's claim for declaratory and injunctive relief should be dismissed because no case or controversy existed. The district court granted the motion on August 27, 1991. Johnson filed a timely notice of appeal.

       II. ANALYSIS

  1. Municipal Liability

            Johnson complains that the court erred when it did not hold the city liable for its unconstitutional act. In reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal, we accept "all well pleaded averments as true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Rankin v. City of Wichita Falls, 762 F.2d 444, 446 (5th Cir.1985). The dismissal will not be upheld "unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Id. (quoting Conley v....

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP