Bramhall v. Gill

Decision Date31 January 2023
Docket Number2:19-cv-00477
PartiesEARL E. BRAMHALL, Plaintiff, v. SIMARJIT S. GILL, Defendant.
CourtU.S. District Court — District of Utah


EARL E. BRAMHALL, Plaintiff,
SIMARJIT S. GILL, Defendant.

No. 2:19-cv-00477

United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division

January 31, 2023

Robert J. Shelby Chief District Judge


Daphne A. Oberg United States Magistrate Judge

Pro se plaintiff Earl E. Bramhall brought this action against Salt Lake County District Attorney Simarjit S. Gill and other defendants in 2019.[1]Mr. Bramhall claims his constitutional speedy trial rights were violated in a criminal case in which he was acquitted at trial nearly nine years after being charged.[2] Mr. Bramhall's only remaining claim is a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Mr. Gill based on the alleged speedy trial violation.[3]Mr. Gill has moved for summary judgment on this claim.[4]

As explained below, Mr. Gill is entitled to qualified immunity because, based on the undisputed facts, Bramhall cannot demonstrate his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial was


violated. Therefore, the undersigned[5]recommends the chief district judge grant the motion and enter summary judgment in favor of Mr. Gill on Mr. Bramhall's remaining claim.


Summary judgment may be granted only where “the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”[6]“A fact is material if, under the governing law, it could have an effect on the outcome of the lawsuit.”[7]“A dispute over a material fact is genuine if a rational jury could find in favor of the nonmoving party on the evidence presented.”[8]In evaluating a motion for summary judgment, the court views “the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmovant and draw[s] all reasonable inferences in the nonmovant's favor.”[9]But “where the non moving party will bear the burden of proof at trial on a dispositive issue that party must go beyond the pleadings and designate specific facts so as to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case in order to survive summary judgment.”[10]

A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed on summary judgment must support the assertion by:

(A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only) admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials; or
(B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.[11]

Because Mr. Bramhall proceeds pro se, the court construes his filings liberally and holds them “to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.”[12]Nonetheless, he must “follow the same rules of procedure that govern other litigants.”[13]


The facts set forth below are based on court records from Mr. Bramhall's criminal case which Mr. Gill filed in support of his motion for summary judgment.[14] Mr. Bramhall raised no


valid objection to these records, and he failed to offer or cite to evidence contrary to these records. Therefore, these facts are considered undisputed.

A. Procedural History of the Criminal Case, 2008-2011

Mr. Bramhall was arrested on July 23, 2008.[15]On July 28, 2008, the Salt Lake County

District Attorney's Office filed criminal charges against Mr. Bramhall for aggravated robbery and “terroristic threat.”[16]A trial was scheduled for January 6 through 8, 2009.[17]At a final pretrial conference on November 17, 2008, Mr. Bramhall's counsel informed the court that evaluations of Mr. Bramhall's mental health were being conducted.[18]

On December 22, 2008, Mr. Bramhall's counsel moved to continue the trial because the mental health evaluation was ongoing, stating counsel had “significant concerns” about Mr. Bramhall's competency.[19]The trial was rescheduled for February 10 through 12, 2009, but it was vacated when Mr. Bramhall's counsel filed a petition to determine Mr. Bramhall's


competency to stand trial.[20]On April 14, 2009, Mr. Bramhall's counsel withdrew and conflict counsel was appointed.[21]

On May 11, 2009, the court found Mr. Bramhall incompetent to stand trial based on an expert evaluation.[22]The court ordered that Mr. Bramhall be transported to the Utah State Hospital for restoration services, and set a competency review hearing for August 3, 2009.[23]In response, Mr. Bramhall filed several pro se requests to stay his transport for mental health treatment.[24]On June 1, the court ordered that any motions by Mr. Bramhall be signed by counsel, but Mr. Bramhall continued filing pro se challenges to the transport order.[25]At the time of the August 3 competency review hearing, Mr. Bramhall still had not been transported to the Utah State Hospital.[26]The court again ordered his transport.[27]The next competency review hearing, set for November 2, was continued “based on stipulation of counsel,” reset for December 21, then continued again “on [Mr. Bramhall's] motion.”[28]


On January 25, 2010, the court found Mr. Bramhall competent to proceed based on communications from the Utah State Hospital.[29]A trial was set for March 30 through April 1, 2010.[30]But these trial dates were vacated on March 8 based on Mr. Bramhall's motion for a continuance.[31]A week later, Mr. Bramhall filed a pro se motion to dismiss his appointed counsel.[32]On March 29, 2010, based on a joint request of counsel, the court ordered that Mr. Bramhall's competency be reevaluated “primarily because of the difficulties relating to [his counsel's] attempt to provide adequate representation.”[33]

On May 24, 2010, Mr. Bramhall was again found competent to proceed, and a trial was set for September 14 through 16, 2010.[34] However, these dates were vacated on August 16, 2010, pursuant to a stipulation of counsel that an independent expert should determine Mr. Bramhall's competency-“based primarily on the concerns of [Mr. Bramhall's counsel].”[35]Mr. Bramhall then filed several pro se complaints regarding his counsel with the court and the Utah State Bar, which the court found “effectively automatically terminat[ed]” counsel's ability to represent Mr. Bramhall.[36]


On December 20, 2010, new counsel appeared on Mr. Bramhall's behalf, and a trial was set for April 26 through 29, 2011.[37]But these trial dates were vacated based on Mr. Bramhall's counsel's motion for a continuance and request for a hearing on a motion to suppress evidence.[38]The motion to suppress was resolved by stipulation in June 2011, and the trial was reset for October 4 through 7, 2011.[39]

On September 16, 2011, Mr. Bramhall submitted a pro se letter to the court requesting to represent himself at trial.[40] The October 2011 trial dates were then vacated based on Mr. Bramhall's request to represent himself and his counsel's motion for a continuance.[41]

B. First Motion to Dismiss Based on Alleged Speedy Trial Violations

On December 6, 2011, Mr. Bramhall moved to dismiss the charges pending against him, alleging he had been denied his right to a speedy trial.[42]On December 21, 2011, the court issued a detailed order denying the motion.[43]

The court found “almost all of [the] delay has been caused by either evaluations and assessments of [Mr. Bramhall's] competency to stand trial or has been requested by [Mr. Bramhall] and/or [Mr. Bramhall's] counsel and acceded to by the Prosecution.”[44] The court


noted the first competency evaluation was initiated by Mr. Bramhall's own counsel, and stated: “While [Mr. Bramhall] may not have personally agreed with the efforts to assess his competency, the Court finds those efforts were appropriate and indeed resulted in an initial finding by the Court that Mr. Bramhall was not competent to proceed.”[45]The court also found Mr. Bramhall himself delayed attempts to restore competency by filing pro se motions to stay transport to the Utah State Hospital.[46]The court noted, after Mr. Bramhall was restored to competency, additional competency evaluations were conducted at the request of Mr. Bramhall's counsel.[47]The court found additional trial settings were stricken “either directly because of [Mr. Bramhall's] conduct in dismissing his counsel or otherwise causing the withdrawal [of his counsel], or because of motions filed by [Mr. Bramhall] such as [] the request for self-representation.”[48]And, although prosecutors had stipulated to the competency evaluations and continuances requested by Mr. Bramhall's counsel, the court found the State of Utah had not requested any continuances of trial or caused any of the pretrial delay.[49]Based on these findings, the court concluded Mr. Bramhall's constitutional right to a speedy trial had not been violated.[50]


C. Procedural History of the Criminal Case, 2012-2013

The court rescheduled the trial for January 30 through February 3, 2012.[51]But on January 27, Mr. Bramhall filed a pro se motion to remove his attorneys from the case.[52]The same day, Mr. Bramhall's counsel moved to have Mr. Bramhall's competency reevaluated.[53]The court vacated the trial dates and ordered a competency evaluation.[54]On August 28, 2012, the court found Mr. Bramhall incompetent to stand trial based on the evaluations of two experts and ordered restoration services.[55]

On January 10, 2013, Mr. Bramhall was released from custody to the supervision of pretrial services.[56]On August 5, 2013, Mr. Bramhall's counsel moved to withdraw,[57]and new counsel entered an appearance on August 8.[58]


D. Second Motion to Dismiss Based on Alleged Speedy Trial Violations

On November 1, 2013, the court denied Mr. Bramhall's second motion to dismiss the case for alleged...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT