Franklin v. Meredith, No. 9451.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtMURRAH, , and JONES, and HILL, Circuit
Citation386 F.2d 958
Docket NumberNo. 9451.
Decision Date24 November 1967
PartiesSammie J. FRANKLIN, Jr., Appellant, v. Charles MEREDITH, John G. Ralston, and Edward J. Keating, Appellees.

386 F.2d 958 (1967)

Sammie J. FRANKLIN, Jr., Appellant,
v.
Charles MEREDITH, John G. Ralston, and Edward J. Keating, Appellees.

No. 9451.

United States Court of Appeals Tenth Circuit.

November 24, 1967.


J. Lawrence Hamil, Denver, Colo., for appellant.

Duke W. Dunbar, Atty. Gen., Frank E. Hickey, Deputy Atty. Gen., and George E. DeRoos, Asst. Atty. Gen., Denver, Colo., for appellees.

Before MURRAH, Chief Judge, and JONES,* and HILL, Circuit Judges.

386 F.2d 959

HILL, Circuit Judge.

The appeal is from an order entered by the trial court in an action brought by appellant against appellees for the alleged violation of his civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and § 1985(3). The order appealed from sustained the motion of the appellees to dismiss the action for failure to state a cause of action and by such dismissal denied an application, on behalf of appellant, to convene a three-judge court, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2281, for the purpose of testing the constitutionality of a Colorado statute, § 39-8-4(5), C.R.S. 1963, under which appellant alleged he was being confined in the Colorado state penitentiary.

The pertinent facts leading up to the alleged deprivation of civil rights are undisputed and must be examined before we reach the legal issues presented. Appellant, in 1960, was charged by information in the State District Court in and for the City and County of Denver with the crimes of burglary, larceny, receiving stolen property and larceny by bailee. To these charges appellant entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, was tried to a jury and found to be insane at the time of commission of crimes charged. Pursuant to a Colorado statute1 appellant was then committed to the state mental hospital at Pueblo. Thereafter and pursuant to the same statute, appellee Keating, as a state district judge, held a hearing after certification by appellee, Meredith, as superintendent of the state mental hospital, determined that appellant was no longer insane and placed him on probation for five years. About four months later Judge Keating revoked the probation and appellant was returned to the custody of Dr. Meredith, as hospital superintendent. Appellant was transferred to the state penitentiary at the direction of Dr. Meredith. About a year and a half later Judge Keating conducted another sanity hearing for appellant, found him to be insane and ordered him recommitted. An appeal from that order is now pending in the Colorado Supreme Court.

Appellant sought damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and § 1985(3) against appellee Keating, who is a Colorado state district judge, appellee Meredith, who is Supervisor of the Colorado State Hospital, and appellee Ralston, who is a Staff Psychiatrist in the Colorado State Hospital. The district court granted the appellees' motion to dismiss the complaint against them on the grounds that the complaint failed to state a claim. The basis of this decision was the court's finding that all three of the defendants were protected by governmental immunity against such a suit for damages. For purposes of testing the validity of the district court's actions the facts alleged by appellant in his complaint must be assumed true.2 Essentially the allegations of the complaint are as follows: In May of 1964, thirty days after appellant was found to be sane, appellee Judge Keating placed him on a five year probation pursuant to § 39-8-4(5), C.R.S. 1963. In June of 1964, appellee Keating caused appellant to be arrested and entered an order recommitting him to the state hospital in Pueblo, Colorado. Appellee Keating, acting in conspiracy with the other appellees, contacted appellee Meredith, superintendent of the state hospital, and stated that he wanted appellant to be imprisoned in the state penitentiary. Appellee Meredith then had appellant transferred to the penitentiary. Appellee Ralston, who was a psychiatrist at the state hospital, believes that appellant is actually sane but he still refuses appellant's request to ask appellee Meredith to transmit a letter to the committing court so that he might have a sanity hearing. All of the appellees are thus acting in conspiracy to deprive appellant of rights guaranteed him by the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, and he is being confined in a penal institution among insane persons and felons, even though he has not been

386 F.2d 960
convicted of any crime and is completely sane

The district court first found Judge Keating shielded from liability by judicial immunity. This decision was made without the benefit of a recent Supreme Court decision, Pierson v. Ray, 386 U.S. 547, 87 S.Ct. 1213, 18 L.Ed.2d 288, but the district court's opinion is in accord with the Supreme Court's reasoning in Pierson.

The Supreme Court, in Pierson v. Ray, certainly put at rest any question as to the application of the common law doctrine of judicial immunity to damage suits brought under § 1983. In that case the Chief Justice said, ...

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35 practice notes
  • Dale v. Hahn, No. 169
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • 19 Febrero 1971
    ...Audio Corp. v. Pious, 392 F.2d 67, 72-73 (2 Cir. 1968); Kletschka v. Driver, 411 F.2d 436, 449 (2 Cir. 1969); Franklin v. Meredith, 386 F.2d 958, 961 (10 Cir. 1967); Birnbaum v. Trussell, 347 F.2d 86, 88-89 (2 Cir. 1965); Jobson v. Henne, 355 F.2d 129 (2 Cir. 1966). 4 See, e. g., Dacey v. N......
  • La Compania Ocho, Inc. v. US Forest Service, Civ. No. 94-0317 JB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • 23 Enero 1995
    ...below. For the purposes of a motion to dismiss, the material allegations of the complaint must be accepted as true. Franklin v. Meredith, 386 F.2d 958, 959 (10th Cir.1967). Dismissal is appropriate only if "it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiffs can prove no set of facts in support of ......
  • Westberry v. Fisher, Civ. No. 10-80.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Court (Maine)
    • 12 Enero 1970
    ...Silver v. Dickson, 403 F.2d 642 (9th Cir. 1968), cert. denied 394 U.S. 990, 89 S.Ct. 1477, 22 L.Ed.2d 765 (1969); Franklin v. Meredith, 386 F.2d 958, 960-961 (10th Cir. 1967); Hoffman v. Halden, 268 F.2d 280, 298-300 (9th Cir. 1959). Cf. Barr v. Matteo, 360 U.S. 564, 573, 79 S.Ct. 1335, 3 L......
  • Smith v. Losee, No. 72-1244.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • 22 Agosto 1973
    ...as the determining factor, see Carter v. Carlson, 144 U.S.App.D.C. 388, 447 F.2d 358, but as we have indicated in Franklin v. Meredith, 386 F.2d 958 (10th Cir.), this is an important factor, but it must be evaluated together with the purposes and need for the rule. This must be done with th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
35 cases
  • Dale v. Hahn, No. 169
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • 19 Febrero 1971
    ...Audio Corp. v. Pious, 392 F.2d 67, 72-73 (2 Cir. 1968); Kletschka v. Driver, 411 F.2d 436, 449 (2 Cir. 1969); Franklin v. Meredith, 386 F.2d 958, 961 (10 Cir. 1967); Birnbaum v. Trussell, 347 F.2d 86, 88-89 (2 Cir. 1965); Jobson v. Henne, 355 F.2d 129 (2 Cir. 1966). 4 See, e. g., Dacey v. N......
  • La Compania Ocho, Inc. v. US Forest Service, Civ. No. 94-0317 JB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • 23 Enero 1995
    ...below. For the purposes of a motion to dismiss, the material allegations of the complaint must be accepted as true. Franklin v. Meredith, 386 F.2d 958, 959 (10th Cir.1967). Dismissal is appropriate only if "it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiffs can prove no set of facts in support of ......
  • Westberry v. Fisher, Civ. No. 10-80.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Court (Maine)
    • 12 Enero 1970
    ...Silver v. Dickson, 403 F.2d 642 (9th Cir. 1968), cert. denied 394 U.S. 990, 89 S.Ct. 1477, 22 L.Ed.2d 765 (1969); Franklin v. Meredith, 386 F.2d 958, 960-961 (10th Cir. 1967); Hoffman v. Halden, 268 F.2d 280, 298-300 (9th Cir. 1959). Cf. Barr v. Matteo, 360 U.S. 564, 573, 79 S.Ct. 1335, 3 L......
  • Smith v. Losee, No. 72-1244.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • 22 Agosto 1973
    ...as the determining factor, see Carter v. Carlson, 144 U.S.App.D.C. 388, 447 F.2d 358, but as we have indicated in Franklin v. Meredith, 386 F.2d 958 (10th Cir.), this is an important factor, but it must be evaluated together with the purposes and need for the rule. This must be done with th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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