United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MARIANO MOYA and LONNIE PETRY, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
ROBERT GARCIA, Santa Fe County Sheriff, MARK CALDWELL, Warden of Santa Fe County Adult Correctional Facility, MARK GALLEGOS, former Warden of Santa Fe County Adult Correctional Facility, in their individual capacities, and BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF SANTA FE COUNTY, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS'
RULE 12(b)(6) MOTION TO DISMISS AND FOR QUALIFIED IMMUNITY IN
LIEU OF AN ANSWER
MATTER comes before the Court on Defendants' Rule
12(b)(6) Motion To Dismiss And For Qualified Immunity In Lieu
Of An Answer (Doc. 7) filed October 17,
2016.Having reviewed the relevant pleadings and the
applicable law, the Court finds Defendants' Motion is
well-taken, and is therefore GRANTED.
a purported class action. The named Plaintiffs, Mariano Moya
and Lonnie Petry, bring suit against Mark Gallegos, former
Warden of the Santa Fe County Adult Correctional Facility
(“SFCACF”), Mark Caldwell, current Warden of
SFCACF, and Robert Caldwell, Santa Fe County Sheriff,
(collectively “Individual Defendants”), as well
as the Board of Commissioners of Santa Fe County (the
“Board”). Plaintiffs claim Defendants violated
their substantive and procedural due process rights under the
Fourteenth Amendment by detaining them for longer than
fifteen days before their arraignment hearings. Plaintiffs
seek enforcement of the Fourteenth Amendment pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiffs sue Individual Defendants in
their individual capacities only, and bring a municipal
liability claim against Board pursuant to Monnell v. New
York Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 694 (1978).
were originally indicted by grand juries on unrelated felony
charges in First Judicial District Court in Santa Fe, New
Mexico (“District Court”). The District Court
scheduled arraignments, but both Plaintiffs failed to appear
at these initially scheduled arraignments.
on August 14, 2014, a Santa Fe County grand jury indicted Mr.
Moya on criminal charges. On August 19, 2014, the District
Court mailed a summons to Mr. Moya ordering him to appear for
arraignment scheduled for August 25, 2014, eleven days after
his indictment. Mr. Moya did not appear for his arraignment,
so the District Court issued a bench warrant for his arrest.
On September 15, 2014, Mr. Moya was arrested and booked into
September 23, 2014, the District Court docket reflects that
the court was notified the arrest warrant was served on Mr.
Moya. On October 27, 2014, a request for a second arraignment
hearing was filed. The following day, the District Court
issued an order setting the second arraignment for November
November 17, 2014, 63 days after his arrest, Mr. Moya was
arraigned. The District Court set Mr. Moya's bond and
entered an order that SFCACF release Mr. Moya from custody
25, 2015, a Santa Fe County grand jury indicted Mr. Petry on
criminal charges. On June 29, 2015, the District Court mailed
a summons to Mr. Petry ordering him to appear for arraignment
scheduled for July 17, 2015, twenty-two days after his
indictment. Mr. Petry did not appear for his arraignment, so
the District Court issued a bench warrant for his arrest. On
July 22, 2015, Mr. Petry was arrested and booked into SFCACF.
31, 2015, the District Court docket reflects that the court
was notified the arrest warrant was served on Mr. Petry. On
August 3, 2015, the District Court issued an order setting
the second arraignment for August 21, 2015.
August 21, 2015, 30 days after his arrest, Mr. Petry was
arraigned. The District Court set Mr. Petry's bond, set
the conditions of release, and entered an order that SFCACF
release Mr. Petry on those conditions.
District Court docket shows that on August 25, 2014, prior to
Mr. Moya's first scheduled arraignment, a public defender
entered an appearance on Mr. Moya's behalf. Likewise, on
July 16, 2015, prior to Mr. Petry's first scheduled
arraignment, an attorney made an appearance on Mr.
II, Section 13 of the New Mexico Constitution provides that
individuals accused of non-capital crimes are entitled to
bail if a court has not entered an order denying bail within
seven days of incarceration after providing notice and an
opportunity to be heard.
NMSA 1978 31-1-5, “[e]very accused shall be brought
before a court having jurisdiction to release the accused
without unnecessary delay.” Section 31-1-4 provides
that “[w]hen a warrant is issued in a criminal action,
it shall be directed to a law enforcement officer, and the
defendant named in the warrant shall, upon arrest, be brought
by the officer before the court without unnecessary
delay.” Section 31-1-3 states that criminal
prosecutions in New Mexico “shall be commenced,
conducted and terminated in accordance with Rules of Criminal
Mexico Rule of Criminal Procedure 5-303(A) provides that a
“defendant shall be arraigned on the information or
indictment within fifteen (15) days after the date of the
filing of the information or indictment or the date of
arrest, whichever is later.” Further, “[a]t
arraignment, upon request of the defendant, the court shall
evaluate conditions of release considering the factors stated
in Rule 5-401 NMRA. If conditions of release have not been
set, the court shall set conditions of release.” Rule
5-401 provides in part that a defendant must generally be
released subject to the least onerous secured bond.
Moya and Mr. Petry argue that under these rules and statutes,
detainees in New Mexico courts have a liberty interest in
being released pretrial on the least restrictive set of
conditions. This liberty interest is effectuated by state law
entitling them to an arraignment within fifteen days of their
indictment or arrest, at which time the conditions of their
release must be set or reviewed. Plaintiffs claim they were
deprived of this liberty interest when they were detained for
longer than fifteen days after their valid arrests but before
their arraignment hearings.
allege the Sheriff and Warden share responsibility to ensure
that persons detained at SFACF are brought before a district
court within fifteen days of indictment or arrest. Plaintiffs
further allege the Sheriff and Warden share responsibility
for promulgating policies on behalf of Santa Fe County to
ensure detainees be brought before a court within fifteen
days of arrest or indictment. Mr. Moya and Mr. Petry
characterize their claims as “overdetention”
under Dodds v. Richardson, 614 F.3d 1185, 1192 (10th
filed a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion To Dismiss And For Qualified
Immunity In Lieu Of An Answer (Doc. 7) on October 17, 2016.
Plaintiffs filed an Amended Response (Doc. 14) on November
14, 2016. Defendants filed a Reply (Doc. 16) on December 9,
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows a party to move for
dismissal of a case for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted. Rule 8(a)(2), in turn, requires a
complaint to contain “a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Thus, “[t]o survive a motion to dismiss,
a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted
as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible
on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Although a court must accept all
the complaint's factual allegations as true, the same is
not true of legal conclusions. See Id. Mere
“labels and conclusions” or “formulaic
recitation[s] of the elements of a cause of action”
will not suffice. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
“Thus, in ruling on a motion to dismiss, a court should
disregard all conclusory statements of law and consider
whether the remaining specific factual allegations, if
assumed to be true, plausibly suggest the defendant is
liable.” Kan. Penn Gaming, LLC v. Collins, 656
F.3d 1210, 1214 (10th Cir. 2011).
move to dismiss Plaintiffs' Complaint for failure to
state viable claims under Rule 12(b)(6), and in the
alternative Defendants move for qualified
immunity. The Court thus first considers the
viability of Plaintiffs claims. “The better approach to
resolving cases in which the defense of qualified immunity is
raised is to determine first whether the plaintiff has
alleged a deprivation of a constitutional right at
all.” DeAnzona v. City & Cty. of Denver,
222 F.3d 1229, 1234 (10th Cir. 2000) (quoting County. of
Sacramento v. Lewis, 523 U.S. 833, 841 n. 5 (1998)). The
constitutional rights allegedly violated are Plaintiffs'
substantive and procedural due process rights under the
Fourteenth Amendment. More specifically, Plaintiffs state
they have a constitutionally recognized liberty interest in
appearing before a district court within fifteen days of
their arrest in order to have their conditions of release
set. Defendants were responsible for ensuring Plaintiffs were
brought before the court, but caused Plaintiffs to be
unlawfully detained in excess of fifteen days.
sustain a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege
facts showing the “conduct complained of was committed
by a person;” that the person was “acting under
color of state law;” and that “this conduct
deprived [the plaintiff] of rights, privileges or immunities
secured by the Constitution or laws of the United
States.” Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 535
(1981). As to all of Plaintiffs' claims, the parties do
not dispute Defendants are persons who acted under the color
of state law. This case centers on whether Plaintiffs were
deprived of a constitutional right guaranteed by the
Fourteenth Amendment states: “No State shall ...
deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due
process of law.” U.S. Const. amend. XIV. The Due
Process Clause encompasses two distinct forms of protection:
(i) procedural due process, which requires a state to employ
fair procedures when depriving a person of a protected
interest; and (ii) substantive due process, which guarantees
that a state cannot deprive a person of a protected interest
for certain reasons. See, e.g., Lewis, 523
U.S. at 845-46. Plaintiffs allege both substantive and
procedural due process violations. The Court addresses each
argument in turn.
Substantive Due Process
Court first considers whether the facts Plaintiffs have
alleged state a violation of a constitutional right, and
concludes Plaintiffs have not done so. Plaintiffs must allege
facts showing that these specific Individual Defendants,
either through personal participation in the untimely
arraignments or the promulgation of a policy, violated
Plaintiffs' Fourteenth Amendment rights. See Brown v.
Montoya, 662 F.3d ...