Reid v. Pautler, No. CIV 13-0337 JB/KBM

CourtUnited States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
PartiesRICHARD REID, Plaintiff, v. SUSAN PAUTLER; GREGORY GARCIA; WES HATLEY; KRISTY MULLER; and FLYSHIA ROSS, all in their individual capacities, Defendants.
Docket NumberNo. CIV 13-0337 JB/KBM
Decision Date31 July 2014

RICHARD REID, Plaintiff,
v.
SUSAN PAUTLER; GREGORY GARCIA; WES HATLEY; KRISTY MULLER; and
FLYSHIA ROSS, all in their individual capacities, Defendants.

No. CIV 13-0337 JB/KBM

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW MEXICO

July 31, 2014


MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER 1

THIS MATTER comes before the Court on: (i) the Defendants' Opposed Motion to Dismiss First Amended Complaint for Violation of Civil Rights, filed August 16, 2013 (Doc. 26)("MTD"); and (ii) the Plaintiff's Opposed Motion to Amend Complaint and Memorandum Brief in Support Thereof, filed May 30, 2014 (Doc. 48)("Motion to Amend"). The Court held a hearing on the MTD on January 17, 2014. The primary issues are: (i) whether Defendant Flyshia Ross, a New Mexico Corrections Department ("NMCD") employee in the Probation and Parole Division, was functionally acting in a judicial capacity when she filled out an Order of Probation, submitted it to the Honorable Ricky D. Purcell, District Judge for the Tenth District Court for the State of New Mexico, and then presented the signed Order of Probation to Plaintiff Richard Reid, and is thus entitled to absolute quasi-judicial immunity; (ii) whether Defendants Susan Pautler, Gregory Garcia, and Wes Hatley, NMCD employees in

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the Probation and Parole Division, were functionally acting in a judicial capacity when they enforced the Order of Probation, which included searching Reid's home, ordering him to submit to urine drug tests, and arresting him for violating the Order of Probation, and are thus entitled to absolute quasi-judicial immunity; (iii) whether Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), bars Reid from bringing any of his claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; (iv) whether the Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity for allegedly violating Reid's due-process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, and rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America; (v) whether Reid sufficiently alleged that Defendant Kristy Muller, an NMCD employee in the Probation and Parole Division, was personally involved in any alleged constitutional violations; and (vi) whether the Court should permit Reid to amend the First Amended Complaint for Violation of Civil Rights, filed July 17, 2013 (Doc. 25)("FAC"), to add two new claims, including a claim that the Defendants subjected him to double jeopardy in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, and a claim that the Defendants denied him the right to counsel in violation of the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. The Court will grant the MTD and will dismiss all of Reid's claims against the Defendants, and it will deny the Motion to Amend. The Court concludes: (i) Ross was not acting in a judicial capacity when she secured the Order of Probation, and is thus not entitled to absolute immunity; (ii) Garcia, Hatley, and Pautler are entitled to absolute immunity for enforcing the Order of Probation, a facially valid court order, but they are not entitled to absolute immunity for falsely stating that Reid repeatedly violated his probation conditions and was a risk to himself; (iii) Heck v. Humphrey bars Reid from asserting

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the procedural due-process claim related to the additional term of probation as well as the Fourth Amendment search claim, because these claims depend on Reid establishing that the Order of Probation was invalid, but the Order of Probation has not been invalidated through the methods listed in Heck v. Humphrey, and Reid was not diligent in seeking to invalidate the Order of Probation; (iv) Ross is entitled to qualified immunity for the Fourth Amendment search and seizure claims against her, and Garcia, Hatley, and Pautler are entitled to qualified immunity for the procedural due process, Fourth Amendment search, and Fourth Amendment seizure claims against them; (v) Reid has not sufficiently alleged that Muller was involved in any of the purported constitutional violations; and (vi) Heck v. Humphrey would bar Reid's proposed additional claims, and, thus, amending the FAC would be futile. The Court will dismiss all of the claims with prejudice, except it will dismiss without prejudice the procedural due-process claim against Ross based on Reid's additional term of probation. The Court will also deny the Motion to Amend.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The Court primarily takes the facts from the FAC. Normally, the sufficiency of a complaint must rest on its contents alone. See Casanova v. Ulibarri, 595 F.3d 1120, 1125 (10th Cir. 2010). There are three limited exceptions to this general principle: (i) documents that the complaint incorporates by reference, see Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S. 308, 322 (2007); (ii) "documents referred to in the complaint if the documents are central to the plaintiff's claim and the parties do not dispute the documents' authenticity," Jacobsen v. Deseret Book Co., 287 F.3d 936, 941 (10th Cir. 2002); and (iii) "matters of which a court may take judicial notice," Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S. at 322. The Defendants

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have requested that the Court consider a number of documents attached to the Memorandum in Support of Defendants' Opposed Motion to dismiss First Amended Complaint for Violation of Civil Rights, filed August 16, 2013 (Doc. 27)("MTD Memo."), which, they assert, are referenced in the Complaint and are central to Reid's allegations. See MTD Memo. ¶¶ 17-19, at 7-8. At the hearing, Reid initially stated that he did not think the Court should consider the documents, because he could not gain access to the probation department's file for discovery, see Transcript of Hearing at 27:24-28:12 (Frost), taken January 17, 2014 ("Tr."),2 but he did not dispute the documents' authenticity, admitted that he referred to them in the FAC, and then said that he did not see any problem with the Court considering the documents for the MTD and argued that they supported his position, Tr. at 28:13-29:4 (Court, Frost). Because Reid referred to the documents in the FAC, the documents are central to Reid's claims, and the parties do not dispute their authenticity, the Court will also consider the three documents that the Defendants attached to the MTD Memo., without converting the MTD into a motion for summary judgment. Further, Reid submitted to the Court the Stipulated Order on Satisfactory Discharge from Supervised Probation, filed in state court October 17, 2011, filed in federal court June 12, 2014 (Doc. 50-4)("Stipulated Order"). Reid references this document in the FAC, and, additionally, the Defendants do not object to the Court considering it, see Defendants' Response to Minute Order of June 9, 2014 at 3 n.3, filed June 13, 2014 (Doc. 51)("Defendants' Second Supp."), and thus, the Court will also consider the Stipulated Order for the MTD.

On April 19, 2001, Reid pled guilty to criminal charges in three separate cases: (i) Quay County Cause No. D-1010-CR-2000-00137 ("CR-137"); (ii) Quay County Cause No. D-1010-

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CR-2000-00138 ("CR-138"); and (iii) Quay County Cause No. D-1010-CR-2000-00139 ("CR-139"). FAC ¶ 5, at 1-2. The three cases cross-referenced each other, but only the Judgment and Sentence for CR-137 set out Reid's incarceration and probation terms. See FAC ¶5, at 1-2. The Judgment, Sentence, and Commitment, No. CR-00-00139, filed August 16, 2013 (Doc. 27-2)("CR-139 J&S"), states: "The aforesaid sentence shall be consecutive to the sentence imposed in Cause No. CR-00-00137 and CR-00-00138. Defendant has also pled guilty to charges in Cause No. CR-00-00137 and CR-00-00138 and the terms and conditions shall apply to all three cases." CR-139 J&S ¶ 4, at 2. See MTD Memo. ¶ 18, at 7-8. Reid was sentenced to three hundred sixty-four days incarceration at the Quay County Detention Center; upon release, "he was to be transported directly to a residential rehabilitation treatment facility as determined by the Adult Probation and Parole Service," and then placed on supervised probation for five years "with a standard Order of Probation of the Tenth Judicial District." FAC ¶ 6, at 2.

In June, 2002, an Order of Probation was filed in CR-137 requiring Reid to be on supervised probation from May 2, 2002, until May 1, 2007. See FAC ¶ 7, at 2. On May 27, 2004, the court entered an Order of Early Discharge on the suspended sentence, relieving Reid of any further obligations in CR-137. See FAC ¶ 7, at 2. In February, 2006, an Amended Order of Probation was filed in CR-138 and CR-139, requiring Reid to serve probation from March 14, 2002, until March 13, 2007. See FAC ¶ 8, at 2. Reid alleges that, "[u]nder New Mexico law, the total period of probation a defendant can be sentenced in district courts may not exceed five (5) years." FAC ¶ 7, at 2 (citing N.M. Stat. Ann. § 31-20-5(A); State v. Devigne, 1981-NMCA-088, 96 N.M. 56, 632 P.2d 1199).3

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In June, 2007, three months after Reid completed five years of probation in CR-139, Ross "questioned why Plaintiff was no longer on probation." FAC ¶ 10, at 3. "Even though the file and documentation contained therein clearly showed that the Plaintiff's probation had ended on March 13, 2007 and that he could...

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