Ysasi v. Brown

Decision Date28 February 2014
Docket NumberNo. CIV 13–0183 JB/CG.,CIV 13–0183 JB/CG.
Citation3 F.Supp.3d 1088
PartiesManuel YSASI, Plaintiff, v. Deputy Sheriff Kelly BROWN, Deputy Sheriff Chris Rider, individually and in their official capacities as Deputy Sheriffs of Lea County, New Mexico and the Lea County Detention Center, Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — District of New Mexico

OPINION TEXT STARTS HERE

Jon C. Fredlund, Fredlund & Bryan, Hobbs, NM, Max Houston Proctor, Hobbs, NM, Dick A. Blenden, Blenden Law Firm, P.A., Carlsbad, NM, for Plaintiff.

Ronald J. Childress, Elaine R. Dailey, Klecan & Childress, Albuquerque, NM, for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JAMES O. BROWNING, District Judge.

THIS MATTER comes before the Court on: (i) the Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, filed December 16, 2013 (Doc. 43)(“MSJ”); and (ii) the Defendants' Objections to Plaintiff's Proposed Jury Instructions, filed February 14, 2014 (Doc. 68)(“Objections”). The Court held a hearing on February 13, 2014. The primary issues are: (i) whether police officers may, under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, legally enter a person's yard when they do not have probable cause that the person has committed a crime or is destroying evidence, there are no exigent circumstances, there is no consent, but there is reasonable suspicion; (ii) whether, if the New Mexico Magistrate Judge, who is not a lawyer, determines that there is probable cause that a person committed a crime, that determination collaterally estops re-litigation in federal court of the issue of probable cause for that person's arrest, entitling Brown and Rider to summary judgment on the unlawful arrest claim that Ysasi asserts comes under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution; and (iii) whether Plaintiff ManuelYsasi has a claim under the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution if the undisputed evidence shows that he was arraigned four days after being arrested. The Court will grant the MSJ in part and deny it in part. The parties agree that the Court should dismiss all of Ysasi's state-law claims against the Defendants. The Court concludes that, on the facts presented and drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of Ysasi as the non-moving party, (i) Rider and Brown are not entitled to summary judgment on the unlawful entry claim, because there is a dispute regarding whether they had Ysasi's consent to enter his property and reasonable suspicion is not sufficient to enter property when consent has been denied; (ii) cases from the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit indicate that the Court should apply collateral estoppel in this case and bar re-litigation of probable cause for Ysasi's arrest, because he had a full and fair opportunity to litigate that issue at his preliminary hearing for the criminal case; and (iii) the LCDC is entitled to summary judgment on the claims Ysasi has asserted against it, because Ysasi failed to set forth evidence to rebut the Defendants' summary judgment evidence that a Magistrate Judge made a probable cause determination one day after he was arrested, and that he was arraigned four days after he was arrested. The Court will also sustain some and overrule some of the Defendants' objections to the jury instructions.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

This case arises from an incident that occurred on February 25, 2010. See Complaint for Damages for Violation of Civil Rights and Jury Demand ¶ 5, at 2–3, filed February 25, 2013 (Doc. 1)(“Complaint”); Memorandum in Support of Motion for Partial Summary Judgment ¶ 1, at 4, filed December 16, 2013 (Doc. 44)(“MSJ Memo.”)(setting forth this fact); Response to Memorandum in Support of Motion for Particial [sic] Summary Judgment ¶ 1, at 5, filed January 15, 2014 (Doc. 48)(“Response”)(not disputing this fact). On that date, Brown was dispatched to property located at North Evans Street in Hobbs, New Mexico, in response to a 911 call requesting assistance in recovering personal property. See Affidavit of Kelly Brown ¶ 3, at 1, filed December 16, 2013 (Doc. 44–1) (Brown Aff.); Audio of 911 Call and Radio Traffic Recordings, filed December 16, 2013 (Doc. 45)(lodged in Records)(“911 and Dispatch Audio”); MSJ Memo. ¶ 2, at 4 (setting forth this fact).1Brown understood that “there had been an incident implicating possible domestic violence ....” Brown Aff. ¶ 3, at 1.2 The caller was Amber Vega, Thompson's sister; Vega reported to the 911 dispatcher that her sister and her sister's boyfriend got into an argument, and the boyfriend “threw out all her stuff and her baby stuff.” 911 and Dispatch Audio. See MSJ Memo. ¶ 3, at 4 (setting forth this fact).3 Vega reported that she, her husband, and Thompson were going to the North Evans address to retrieve the property, and that Vega was requesting a police escort. See 911 and Dispatch Audio; MSJ Memo. ¶ 3, at 4 (setting forth this fact).4 During the dispatch call, Thompson begged her sister not to get the police involved and stating that the police would only make things worse; when the dispatch operator asked to speak directly to Thompson, she got on the telephone and pleaded with the dispatcher not to send police to the property, refused to give the dispatcher her boyfriend's name, but told the dispatcher that she was seventeen years old. See 911 and Dispatch Audio; MSJ Memo. ¶ 4, at 4–5 (setting forth this fact). 5 The 911 call was a request for assistance to retrieve personal property; Thompson did not tell the dispatcher that it was a domestic violence call. See Affidavit of Heather Thompson ¶¶ 7–9, at 2, filed January 16, 2014 (Doc. 51)(Thompson Aff.); Response ¶ 4, at 6 (setting forth this fact). The dispatcher put out a call for officers to go to the North Evans address, and Brown responded to the dispatch. See Brown Aff. ¶ 2, at 1; MSJ Memo. ¶ 5, at 5 (setting forth this fact); Response ¶ 5, at 6 (not disputing this fact).

Brown and Rider arrived at Ysasi's house to assist Thompson retrieve personal property; they did not know whether a crime had been committed and did not have any reports that a crime had occurred. See Transcription of Digitally–Recorded Preliminary Hearing at 58:23–59:19 (Reese, Rider), taken April 27, 2010, filed December 16, 2013 (Doc. 44–5), filed January 16, 2014 (Doc. 51–1), filed January 28, 2014 (Doc. 53–1) 6 (“Preliminary Hearing Transcript”); Response ¶ 7, at 6 (setting forth this fact).7 When Brown arrived, he encountered Thompson, Vega, and Vega's husband near a dumpster outside the fenced area of property located at 1502 North Evans; a broken baby bed was by the dumpster. A mobile home was located on the fenced-in property. Rider arrived shortly thereafter to assist Brown. See Brown Aff. ¶¶ 4–8, at 2; MSJ Memo. ¶ 6, at 5 (setting forth this fact); Response ¶ 8, at 6 (not disputing this fact). Thompson was fearful and reluctant to give any informationto the Brown and Rider; she indicated that she did not want to get Ysasi into trouble and was worried that he would be upset by Brown's and Rider's presence. After Brown's, Rider's, and Vega's persuasive efforts, Thompson revealed that the owner of the mobile home was her boyfriend—later identified as the Ysasi—with whom Thompson had a two-year old child. See Brown Aff. ¶¶ 6–8, at 2; MSJ Memo. ¶ 7, at 5 (setting forth these facts); Response ¶ 9, at 6 (not disputing these facts). Rider threatened to take away Thompson's child if she did not tell them her boyfriends' name. See Thompson Aff. ¶¶ 15–17, at 2–3; Response ¶ 9, at 6 (setting forth this fact); Reply at 6 (not disputing this fact). Brown and Rider, aware of the smashed crib, Thompson's fear, and the request for officer assistance, were assessing whether and to what extent any domestic violence had occurred. See Brown Aff. ¶ 8, at 2; MSJ Memo. ¶ 8, at 5 (setting forth this fact).8 Brown and Rider did not tell Thompson that they were assessing a domestic violence situation. See Thompson Aff. ¶ 24, at 3; Response ¶ 10, at 6–7 (setting forth this fact).9

Ysasi exited the mobile home and began yelling at Thompson, Brown, and Rider. See Brown Aff. ¶ 9, at 2; Audio/Video Recording of the Incident on 2/25/10, filed December 16, 2013 (Doc. 45)(lodged in Records)(“Police Video”); MSJ Memo. ¶ 9, at 5 (setting forth this fact); Response ¶ 11, at 7 (not disputing this fact).10 A heated verbal exchange ensued between Ysasi, Brown, and Rider. See Brown Aff. ¶ 10, at 2; Police Video; MSJ Memo. ¶ 10, at 5 (setting forth this fact); Response ¶ 12, at 7 (not disputing this fact). Ysasi yelled obscenities, see Brown Aff. ¶ 10, at 2; Police Video; MSJ Memo. ¶ 10, at 5 (setting forth this fact); Response ¶ 12, at 7 (not disputing this fact); yelled at Thompson, Brown, and Rider, asking why Thompson had asked the police to come to the house, see Police Video; Response ¶ 11, at 7 (setting forth this fact); told Brown and Rider that they could come onto his property, see Police Video; Reply at 5 (setting forth this fact); 11 and also told Brown and Rider that they did not have a right to be on his property and that he did not want them on his property, see Police Video; Response ¶ 12, at 7 (setting forth this fact). Rider wanted to question Ysasi as to what had occurred between Ysasi and Thompson. See Brown Aff. ¶ 10, at 2; MSJ Memo. ¶ 10, at 5–6 (setting forth this fact); Response ¶ 12, at 7 (not disputing this fact). Ysasi refused to come over to the location where Rider was standing. See Brown Aff. ¶ 10, at 2; MSJ Memo. ¶ 10, at 5–6 (setting forth this fact); Response ¶ 12, at 7 (not disputing this fact).

Rider climbed a gate to enter the property and approached Ysasi, who was standing on an elevated platform or porch adjacent to the mobile home's front door. See Brown Aff. ¶ 11, at 3; MSJ Memo. ¶ 11, at 6 (setting forth this fact); Response ¶ 13, at 7 (not disputing this fact).12 When Rider approached Ysasi, physical contact ensued; it is disputed how the physical contact occurred between Ysasi and Rider, but both men ended up...

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