United States District Court, D. New Mexico
Armijo Magdalena, New Mexico Plaintiff pro se.
Douglas E. Gardner Robles, Rael & Anaya, P.C.
Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorney for Defendants Robert Griego
and Rony D. Hays
P. Lyle Law Offices of James P. Lyle P.C. Albuquerque, New
Mexico Attorney for Defendants Larry Cearly and the Village
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ADOPTING THE MAGISTRATE
JUDGE'S PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDED
MATTER comes before the Court on the United States
Magistrate Judge's Proposed Findings and Recommended
Disposition, filed January 4, 2016 (Doc.
102)(“PFRD”). In the PFRD, the Honorable Carmen
E. Garza, United States Magistrate Judge for the United
States District Court for the District of New Mexico
concludes that Defendant Robert Griego is entitled to
qualified immunity, and, therefore, the Court should grant
his Motion for Summary Judgment on the Basis of Qualified
Immunity, filed November 1, 2016 (Doc.
98)(“Motion”). See PFRD at 12.
Garza notified the parties that written objections to the
PFRD were due within fourteen days. See PFRD at 12.
Plaintiff Simon Armijo has filed Objections to Propossed
[sic] Findings and Recommendation, filed January 18, 2017
(Doc. 103)(“First Objection”), and Objection to
Propossed [sic] Findings and Recommendation, filed January
19, 2017 (Doc. 105) (“Second
Defendant Greigo does not respond to Armijo's Objections,
and the time for doing so has passed. See
D.N.M.LR-Civ 7.4(a). After a de novo review of the record and
the PFRD, the Court adopts Judge Garza's PFRD in whole
and grants Griego's Motion.
case arises from two searches and seizures of Armijo's
property. On April 17, 2012, Defendant Rony D. Hays executed
a search warrant on Plaintiff's property looking for
evidence of marijuana trafficking. See Affidavit for
Search Warrant at 1-3, 5, filed July 1, 2015 (Doc. 43-1).
While executing the warrant, Hays found several deer heads,
deer parts, and a deer carcass sawed in half in a shed.
Affidavit for Search Warrant at 10, filed July 1, 2015 (Doc.
43-2)(“Griego Affidavit”). Hays became suspicious
about the shed's contents and called Defendant Robert
Griego, a New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
(“NMDGF”) officer, for assistance.
Griego arrived, Armijo objected to his presence and told him
he needed his own warrant. See Civil Rights
Complaint at 7, filed April 16, 2014 (Doc.
2)(“Complaint”). Griego continued onto the
property over Armijo's objection. See Complaint
at 7; Defendant Griego's Motion for Summary Judgment on
the Basis of Qualified Immunity at 7, filed November 1, 2016
(Doc. 98). Inside the shed, Griego observed approximately
fifteen to twenty mule deer heads and a deer carcass sawn in
half. See Griego Affidavit at 11. According to
Griego, Armijo said he was a good hunter and that he also had
deer meat in a freezer. See Griego Affidavit at 11.
Armijo denies he told Griego about keeping deer meat in a
freezer. See First Objection at 4.
then examined a tag attached to one of the deer heads and
determined the deer was not lawfully killed based on the
applicable deer hunt dates and the date notched on the tag.
See Griego Affidavit at 11. Griego also noted some
of the deer heads did not have tags attached to them and
noticed deer hair on a hanging gambrel outside the shed.
See Griego Affidavit at 11.
on his observations and alleged conversation with Plaintiff,
Defendant Griego applied for a search warrant. See
Search Warrant at 8-9, filed July 1, 2015 (Doc. 43-2). On the
same day, he received and executed the warrant, seizing
several deer legs, deer heads, packages of deer meat, and
packages of elk meat, along with a golden eagle carcass and
red-tailed hawk feathers. See Return and Inventory
at 12-13, filed on July 1, 2015 (Doc. 43-2). Armijo was
subsequently charged for illegal possession of the golden
eagle carcass and red-tailed hawk feathers. See U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service United States District Court
Violation Notice, at 1 (Doc. 43-4).
then filed the Complaint alleging, in relevant part, that
Griego violated his rights under the Fourth Amendment to the
Constitution of the United States of America to be free from
unreasonable search and seizure. See Complaint at
7-9. In response, Griego filed the Motion. In the Motion,
Griego contends that he is entitled to qualified immunity and
therefore summary judgment, because he did not violate
Armijo's constitutional rights, and even if he did,
Armijo's rights were not clearly established at the time
he violated them. See Motion at 17-25.
considering the relevant law, Judge Garza concluded that
Griego is entitled to qualified immunity, because he did not
violate Armijo's clearly established rights. See
PFRD at 7-9, 12. As Judge Garza noted, Griego is entitled to
qualified immunity unless it is “beyond debate”
that his “particular conduct” violated
Plaintiff's rights. See Ashcroft v. al-Kidd, 563
U.S. 731, 741-42 (2011)(citation omitted). Although Armijo
cited a relevant New Mexico Court of Appeals case,
see Plaintiff's Opposition and Response to
Defendant Griego's Motion for Summary Judgment on the
Basis of Qualified Immunity at 9-12 (Doc. 99)(“MSJ
Opposition”), Judge Garza determined that law is
insufficient to “clearly establish” his rights.
PRFD at 8-9. Accordingly, Judge Garza recommended granting
summary judgment in Griego's favor. See PRFD at
timely objected to Judge Garza's PFRD. See First
Objection at 3-6; Second Objection at 5-10. Griego neither
objected nor responded to Armijo's objections, and the