United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment (Qualified Immunity Raised) (Motion). (Doc.
21). Having reviewed the parties' briefing (Docs. 28, 30)
and considered the applicable law, the Court GRANTS the
August 2016, Plaintiff brought this action in New
Mexico's First Judicial District, asserting violations of
the New Mexico Tort Claims Act (First Cause of Action) and
constitutional violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Second
through Fourth Causes of Action). (Doc. 1-1), Ex. A.
In October 2016, Defendants removed the case to this Court.
See (Doc. 1). On January 20, 2017, Defendants moved
for summary judgment as to all of the causes of actions.
(Doc. 21). On March 17, 2017, the parties voluntarily
stipulated to the dismissal of the Third Cause of Action
(Claims Against Defendant Rodella for Supervisory Liability
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983) and the Fourth Cause of Action
(Claims Against the County Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983).
(Doc. 27). Hence, only the First and Second Causes of Action
remain. The Second Cause of Action alleges violations of the
Fourth Amendment (unreasonable seizures and use of excessive
force) and the Fourteenth Amendment (denial of procedural and
substantive due process, and equal protection).
Court notes that Defendant Deputies do not argue in the
instant motion that they are entitled to summary judgment on
the Fourteenth Amendment claims, which are apparently
premised on the alleged unlawful search of the home and
Plaintiff's restraint in handcuffs as described below.
Moreover, Defendant Deputies do not argue that they are
entitled to summary judgment on the claims brought under the
New Mexico Tort Claims Act in the First Cause of Action.
Consequently, the Court does not address herein the
Fourteenth Amendment claims or the claims brought against
Defendant Deputies under the New Mexico Tort Claims Act.
approximately 10:00 p.m. on Monday, August 25, 2014, Charles
Canada, who lives at 6 Chicoma Avenue in Abiquiu, New Mexico,
noticed an unfamiliar motor vehicle drive by his house and
proceed to a neighbors' home. See (Doc. 21-1),
Declaration of Charles Canada at Exhibit 1, sub-exhibit A.
Mr. Canada estimated the distance to the neighbor's home
is about one quarter mile. See Id. Mr. Canada
observed what he considered suspicious activity at the home
for a period of time, so he called 911. Id.; see
also (Doc. 21-2) 911/Dispatch recordings at Exhibit 2
with corresponding transcript, p. 2:1 - p. 5:17.
Canada identified himself to the 911 operator and told the
operator where he resided. (Doc. 21-2) at p. 2:2-16. He
advised that he had observed a person or persons walking
around a neighbor's home with flashlights. Id.
at p. 2:4-11. He also explained that the people who owned the
home lived in New York; they were not at home at the time; it
was 10:00 p.m.; and no one should have been at that
residence. Id. at p. 2:18 - p. 4:20. Mr. Canada also
advised that the neighborhood was gated so whoever was at the
residence must have the gate code. Id. at p. 3:22-p.
4:10. Mr. Canada concluded his call by providing the operator
with his phone number and the gate code. Id.
Canada then placed a second call to 911. He advised the
operator this time that something “very wrong”
was going on at the neighbor's residence. Id. at
p. 5:19 - p.8:2. The operator dispatched Rio Arriba County
Sheriff's office Lieutenant Randy Sanches, and Deputies
Brandon Archuleta, J. War, and Pete Chavez to the call.
See (Doc. 21-3) Declaration of Randy Sanches as
Exhibit 3, ¶¶'s 1-6; see also (Doc.
21-4) Declaration of Brandon Archuleta at Exhibit 4,
¶¶'s 1-3. Lieutenant Sanches and the deputies
were advised that a neighbor reported suspicious behavior at
a neighbor's residence, a “possible breaking and
entering in progress.” (Doc. 21-2 p. 8:3-14; (Doc.
21-3) ¶ 6; see also (Doc. 21-5) Espanola/Rio
Arriba E-911 “10” codes.
Canada placed a third call to 911 and inquired as to the
whereabouts of the deputies. He advised the operator that he
was still observing a person or persons walking back and
forth at the neighbor's residence with flashlights. (Doc.
21-2) p. 11:1 - p.12:6.
Canada called 911 a fourth time. He advised the operator that
he saw the deputies arrive, but they were proceeding in the
wrong direction. Id. at p. 14:17 - p. 19:25. Mr.
Canada provided the operator with information to reroute the
deputies to the correct location, and he stated that the
person or persons he had been observing were still at the
subject residence. Id. He explained that the subject
residence was toward the end of the road on the left and
illuminated with a blue light. Id. at p. 14:17 - p.
18:25. Dispatch relayed the updated information to Lieutenant
Sanches and the deputies, who then proceeded to the correct
location. Id. at p. 15:20 - p. 20:11; (Doc. 21-3)
Sanches and the deputies arrived at the residence and
conducted a perimeter search. They noted several windows were
open at the residence and that there were two large dogs
inside. (Doc. 21-3) ¶¶ 8-11. Lieutenant Sanches and
the deputies further observed that the lights were on.
See (Doc. 28-1) ¶ 2; (Doc. 1-1), ¶ 21.
Additionally, they did not find any persons moving around
with flashlights. See (Doc. 28-1) ¶ 2; (Doc.
1-1), ¶ 21; see also (Doc. 21), ¶ 25;
(Docs. 21-3, 21-4). Lieutenant Sanches and the deputies also
did not find broken windows, busted screens or damaged doors.
(Doc. 28-1) ¶ 2; (Doc. 1-1), ¶ 21.
Sanches then proceeded to the back of the residence. (Doc.
21-3) ¶¶ 10-12; (Doc. 21-4) ¶ 7. While in the
backyard, he heard voices at the front of the home.
Id. He proceeded to the front of the home and
observed Deputy Archuleta and Deputy Chavez speaking to an
African American female, later identified as Plaintiff
Charlene Carroll, who had come out to speak with the
did not have her identification when they initially made
contact with her. The deputies spoke with Plaintiff, and
radioed back to dispatch noting “Everything seems to be
10-4, (Doc. ...