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Crist v. Officer Jared Nix

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

August 24, 2017

EDWARD BRIAN CRIST, Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICER JARED NIX, OFFICER TOMMY GONZALEZ, OFFICER JOHNNY GARCIA, SANDIA PUEBLO POLICE DEPT., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          ROBERT C. BRACK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Prisoner's Civil Rights Complaint (“Complaint”) filed by Plaintiff, Edward Brian Crist, on October 28, 2016. (Doc. 1.) The Court will dismiss the Complaint for failure to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Also pending before the Court are several motions filed by Plaintiff Crist. The Court's disposition of the motions is set out in part II, below.

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Edward Brian Crist is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis. He has three pending civil rights cases in this Court.[1] Edward Brian Crist v. Detective Joe Lopez #5425 was filed by Crist on August 22, 2016. (CV 16-00950 MV/LF, Doc. 1.) Edward Brian Crist v. Detective Joe Lopez #5425 was initially filed in New Mexico state court on August 22, 2016 and was removed to this Court by the Defendant on October 6, 2016 (CV 16-01107 MV/KRS, Docs. 1 and 1-1.) This case, Edward Brian Crist v. Officer Jared Nix, et al., was filed in this Court by Crist on October 28, 2016. (CV 16-01190 RB/KBM, Doc. 1.)

         Plaintiff Crist has a lengthy history of criminal charges and convictions in the state courts of New Mexico. See State of New Mexico cause nos. D-101-CR-1992-00253, D-101-CR-1992-00394, D-202-CR-1993-01119, D-101-CR-1995-00100, D-202-CR-1999-03699, D-202-CR-2000-01166, D-202-CR-2000-01537, D-202-CR-2001-01810, D-202-CR-2004-01213, D-202-CR-2013-01260, and D-202-CR-2016-01969.[2] The allegations in all three of Plaintiff Crist's pending cases arise out of the underlying arrest and criminal prosecution of Crist in cause no. D-202-CR-2016-01969. (CV 16-00950 MV/LF, Doc. 1; CV 16-01107 MV/KRS, Doc. 1-1; CV 16-01190 RB/KBM, Doc. 1.)

         The record shows that at approximately 4:42 pm on June 8, 2016, Albuquerque Police Department (“APD”) officers were dispatched to the Blake's Lottaburger at 6215 San Mateo Dr. NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico, in reference to an armed robbery. Victims told police officers that a male subject pointed a shotgun at them and demanded money. Based on a surveillance video, the suspect was described as wearing prescription eyeglasses, white hoodie, black and white shorts, maroon “van” type shoes, a white jersey with the number 19 on it, a ring on his left hand, a bandana over his face, and tattoos on his right lower leg. (CV 16-1107 MV/KRS, Doc. 11 at 6.) A witness reported seeing the male suspect get into a white vehicle bearing New Mexico license plate 910TNB. New Mexico Motor Vehicle Department records indicated the vehicle was registered to Brian Edward Crist and was a white 2004 Buick four-door sedan. (CV 16-1107 MV/KRS, Doc. 11 at 6.)

         At approximately 8:42 pm on June 8, 2016, APD officers were dispatched to the Pizza Hut located at 2640 Carlisle Blvd. NE in Albuquerque in reference to an armed robbery. A female employee reported that a male suspect pointed a shotgun at her and demanded cash from the register. A female customer stated that she saw two subjects enter the store. She described the first male as tall, about 6-feet, skinny, and wearing a gray zip up hoodie, shades, and a black and white bandana covering his face. She said that, on entering, the male ordered everyone on the ground and racked the shotgun, chambering a round. She felt someone moving things in her purse and, after the incident, noticed her wallet, containing her identification documents and bank/debit cards, was missing. (CV 16-1107 MV/KRS, Doc. 11 at 7.)

         At around 1:19 am on June 9, 2016, Sandia Pueblo Tribal Officer Jerade Nix was dispatched to the Sandia Resort and Casino located at 30 Rainbow Road, Sandia Pueblo, New Mexico, in reference to a “firearms exchange” on the fourth level of the parking structure. Security Officer Johnny Garcia informed Officer Nix that he had reviewed video surveillance footage and had observed the driver of a red colored Honda passenger car make a firearm exchange with the owner/operator of a white vehicle. The video surveillance showed that a shotgun or long rifle was placed in the trunk of a white, four-door vehicle bearing New Mexico plate 910TNB. Officer Nix, Officer Garcia, and Officer Tommy Gonzales made their way to the fourth level and, by the white four-door vehicle bearing plate 910NTB, located the subject shown on the video placing the firearm in the trunk. The subject was identified as Edward Crist through his New Mexico Driver's License. Officers reported that Mr. Crist stated he is a convicted felon and that there was a shotgun in the trunk of his car. During a pat-down search, a glass pipe and three small baggies of a black substance, suspected to be black tar heroin, were located in Mr. Crist's right front pocket. The license plate on the vehicle was run by the officers and returned as registered to Edward Crist. Dispatch also notified Officer Nix that APD had run the plate on the vehicle approximately ten times earlier that night and APD stated that the vehicle was involved in two armed robberies in Albuquerque earlier in the night. With Mr. Crist's permission, the officers opened the trunk and retrieved a 12 gauge model 88 Maverick shotgun, loaded with six shotgun shells, and a military flak jacket. (CV 16-1107 MV/KRS, Doc. 11 at 11-12.)

         At 3:12 am on June 9, 2016, Detective Lopez met with Edward Crist and read him his Miranda rights. Detective Lopez described Crist as wearing black, white, and grey plaid shorts, a pink shirt, red shoes with a white sole, and prescription glasses. Lopez stated Crist had tattoos on his lower right leg. Detective Lopez reported that Officer Nix had informed him Sandia police officers had located a shot gun, hand gun, and methamphetamines in the vehicle during their inventory of the vehicle and that the vehicle was going to a secure lot at Duggar's Towing. Officer Nix arranged to have the vehicle released by Duggar's Towing to APD pending a search warrant. (CV 16-01107 MV/KRS, Doc. 11 at 39-40.)

         On June 10, 2016, Officer Nix filed a Criminal Complaint in the State of New Mexico, County of Bernalillo, Metropolitan Court relating to the detention and arrest on June 9, 2016. (CV 16-00950 MV/LF, Doc. 10 at 6.) The Criminal Complaint was docketed as case no. T-4-FR-2016-003073. For unknown reasons, the case caption identified the Defendant as “Kirksey, Robert.” (CV 16-00950 MV/LF, Doc. 10 at 6.) However, the Complaint listed the 704 Glacier Bay St SE address for Edward Crist, and the body of the Complaint identified Edward Crist as the suspect who was detained, arrested, and transported to the Metropolitan Detention Center. The Complaint charged the Defendant with possession of a firearm or destructive device by a felon and possession of a controlled substance. (CV 16-00950 MV/LF, Doc. 10 at 6.) Metropolitan Court Judge Victor Valdez made a determination on June 10, 2016, that there was probable cause a crime had been committed, but no probable cause that the crime was committed by the wrongly-named Defendant, Robert Kirksey. Based on the wrongly-named defendant, the Judge ordered that Crist be released. (See T-4-FR-2016-003073.)

         Also on June 10, 2016, Detective Joe Lopez filed a Criminal Complaint-Arrest Warrant Affidavit in the Metropolitan Court. (See CV 16-01107 MV/KRS, Doc. 11.) The Complaint-Arrest Warrant Affidavit was docketed as Metropolitan Court case no. T-4-FR-2016-00310. The Complaint-Arrest Warrant Affidavit states:

“06/09/2016 0200 HRS
I was notified by APD dispatch that Officers with the Sandia Pueblo were out on a shots fired call and they were with a male subject who was in the vehicle bearing NM 910 NTB. I asked dispatch to give my contact information to the officer handling the case with Sandia Pueblo. Officer Jared Nix of Sandia pueblo called me and informed me he was out with a male who they had in custody for shooting at another vehicle. Officer Nix informed me the male had a shot gun during the incident. Officer Nix described the male they had in custody as 6'01” 214 pounds wearing brown and grey plaid shorts and an orange shirt and provided the name of Edward Crist. I informed Officer Nix the male matched the description of robberies that had taken place on 06/08/2016 and asked if I could interview him at their office.”

         (CV 16-01107 MV/KRS, Doc. 11 at 7-8.) Case T-4-FR-2016-00310 was transferred to the State of New Mexico, Second Judicial District Court, for presentment of the criminal charges to a grand jury.

         The case was docketed in the Second Judicial District Court as D-202-CR02016-01969, and Grand Jury proceedings were held in CR-2016-01969 on June 23, 2016. Both APD Detective Joe Lopez and Defendant Edward Crist testified before the Grand Jury. (CV 16-01107 MV/KRS, Doc. 17.) Detective Lopez testified, in pertinent part, that he was contacted by officers from the Sandia Pueblo Police Department around 2:00 am on June 9, 2016. They advised him that they were with a male subject that was in a vehicle bearing New Mexico plate 910-MTB and that APD dispatch had informed them the vehicle was connected to an armed robbery earlier in the day. They advised him the subject, named Edward Crist, was approximately 6'1, 214 pounds and was wearing brown and grey plaid shorts with an orange shirt. Mr. Crist was then transferred over to the custody of Detective Lopez. The vehicle was turned over to Detective Lopez on June 10, 2016. Detective Lopez obtained a search warrant for the car and located several shotgun rounds, handgun rounds and a handgun, a bandana with black and green camouflage, and a black and white bandana with two ends tied together. (CV 16-01107 MV/KRS, Doc. 17 at 8-18.)

         The Grand Jury indicted Crist on three counts of armed robbery (firearm enhancement), six counts of aggravated assault (firearm enhancement), one count of conspiracy to commit armed robbery and/or aggravated assault, one count of child abuse, and two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon, including one count arising out of the June 9, 2016 incident at the Sandia Resort and Casino. (CV 16-01107 MV/KRS, Doc. 11 at 15-18.)

         On March 6, 2017, the State of New Mexico filed a nolle prosequi in D-202-CR-2016-01969 on the grounds that the case was being referred for federal prosecution. A federal Grand Jury Indictment was filed against Crist on November 15, 2016, and ...


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