United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR
C. YARBROUGH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Anthony Kapinski shot and killed two people during a
late-night altercation in a church parking lot. Two of the
church's surveillance cameras recorded the entire
incident. The lead detective investigating the case,
Defendant Terra Juarez, viewed the surveillance footage but
swore out an affidavit in support of an arrest warrant that
only described eyewitness accounts and did not mention the
videos. Defendant Juarez later testified before the grand
jury, which issued a true bill charging Plaintiff with both
murders. At trial, Plaintiff presented a self-defense
argument and a jury acquitted him. Plaintiff then filed the
current lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendant
Juarez alleging that, in violation of his Fourth Amendment
rights, she failed to provide information that led to his
false arrest and imprisonment (Count I) and malicious
prosecution (Count II). In addition, Plaintiff asserts a
claim against Defendant City of Albuquerque under the New
Mexico Tort Claims act for failure to properly train and
supervise Defendant Juarez (Count III). All of
Plaintiff's claims are premised on his argument that the
videos demonstrate that he acted in self-defense and, had
Defendant Juarez accurately conveyed the information on these
videos, the lack of probable cause would have been evident
and Plaintiff never would have been arrested or charged.
Juarez moves for qualified immunity on the basis that no
reasonable officer would have known that she had to include
the information about self-defense Plaintiff claims she
deliberately and recklessly omitted from her search warrant
affidavit and grand jury testimony. Doc. 17. Defendant City
of Albuquerque also moves for summary judgment on the state
tort claim against it. Id. Because probable cause
existed to support at least one of the murder charges and
because, even if it did not, Plaintiff has failed to cite
clearly established law that would have put Defendant Juarez
on notice that her alleged omissions were unlawful, qualified
immunity shields her from civil liability. Therefore, the
Court grants summary judgment on the federal claims. The
Court also declines supplemental jurisdiction over the state
filed suit on July 26, 2018. Doc. 1. On August 25, 2018, he
filed a First Amended Complaint (“FAC”). Doc. 5.
The FAC brings causes of action under § 1983 against
Defendants City of Albuquerque and Terra Juarez for False
Arrest and Imprisonment (Count I) and Malicious Prosecution
(Count II). FAC ¶¶ 36-45. It also brings a claim
against the City of Albuquerque under the New Mexico Tort
Claims Act (“NMTCA”) for negligent training and
supervision (Count III). FAC ¶¶ 46-52. Defendants
filed their Answer on September 10, 2018. Doc. 6.
Rule 16 scheduling conference, Plaintiff clarified that the
federal claims are brought solely against Defendant Juarez,
not against both Defendants collectively. Doc. 14 at 1
(Clerk's minutes). After the conference, the Magistrate Judge
entered a scheduling order requiring Defendants to file a
dispositive motion in the next thirty days. Doc. 15. On
November 28, 2018, Defendants filed the instant Motion For
Summary Judgment On Qualified Immunity And Other Grounds.
Doc. 17. While the parties were briefing that motion, they
stipulated to a stay of discovery. Docs. 19, 20.
motion is fully briefed and ready for decision. Docs. 17, 21,
25, 26. Under 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), all parties consented
to the undersigned to conduct any or all proceedings and to
enter an order of judgment. Docs. 8, 9, 10.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) and Local Rule 56.1, a
movant seeking summary judgment must “set out a concise
statement of all of the material facts as to which the movant
contends no genuine issue exists.” The party opposing
summary judgment must “contain a concise statement of
the material facts cited by the movant as to which the
non-movant contends a genuine issue does exist.”
D.N.M.LR-Civ. 56.1(b). “Each fact in dispute must be
numbered, must refer with particularity to those portions of
the record upon which the non-movant relies, and must state
the No. of the movant's fact that is disputed.”
Id. Most importantly, “[a]ll material facts
set forth in the Memorandum will be deemed undisputed unless
specifically controverted” in this fashion.
Id. Plaintiff disputes only Defendants' fact 21,
which alleges that the “videos from the surveillance
cameras mirror Ms. Molt's statement set forth in the
arrest warrant affidavit.” Doc. 17 at 6. Otherwise,
Plaintiff does not specifically controvert any of
Defendants' facts. Rather, Plaintiff argues that all of
Defendants' facts are immaterial and offers his own
additional material facts. Doc. 21 at 5. Because Plaintiff
has not disputed Defendants' facts with reference to the
record, the Court deems all but Defendants' fact 21 as
Defendant's Statement Of Undisputed Facts
Saturday, June 2, 2017, at approximately 11:12 p.m.,
Albuquerque Police Department (“APD”) Officer
Emmett Fritz was on patrol when he heard multiple gunshots in
the parking lot of the New Beginnings Church located at 3601
Montgomery Blvd NE in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Doc. 17 at 3
¶ 1. Officer Fritz observed a green Honda Civic leave
the parking lot at high speed. Id. ¶ 2. He
tried to follow the green Honda, but lost sight of it.
Id. ¶ 3. He returned to the parking lot and saw
two young men on the ground who had been shot. Id.
¶ 4. One, Jordan Mucher, was already deceased from a
gunshot wound to the head, and the other, Paul Francia, had a
weak pulse and died shortly after the officer began
administering aid. Id. ¶¶ 5-6. APD
Detective Terra Juarez arrived at the scene to investigate
the shooting. Id. ¶ 7. She conducted and
recorded interviews of the eyewitnesses to the shooting.
Id. ¶ 8.
Manuel Castro reported:
he heard what sounded like a vehicle backfire; looked in the
direction of the sound; noticed a male pointing a gun at
another male; saw the male with the gun shoot twice; and then
saw the male with the gun flee in a green Honda hatchback.
Id. ¶ 9. Eye witness Tyler Schwebke reported:
he arrived at the parking lot with victims Jordan Mucher and
Paul Francia; all three were upset with Plaintiff because he
had stolen vehicle parts from them in the past; and Mr.
Schwebke did not see the shooting but saw Plaintiff leave in
a red Honda Civic. Mr. Schwebke also stated that he had known
Plaintiff for years and identified him from a photograph
provided by detectives.
Id. ¶ 10 (citations omitted). Eyewitness Mariah
she had been dating Paul Francia for about three months;
heard Paul Francia mention that he wanted to talk to
Plaintiff; saw Paul Francia and another male talking with
Plaintiff on the driver's side of a green Honda Civic;
heard Paul Francia say to Plaintiff “you know who the
fuck I am”; saw Paul Francia punch Plaintiff; saw
Plaintiff fall into the driver's seat of the car; saw the
other male that was present begin fighting with Paul Francia;
saw Jordan Mucher get involved in the fight; heard gunshots
and muzzle flashes coming from the car Plaintiff was in; saw
Paul Francia fall over grabbing his chest; and saw Plaintiff
leave in a green Honda Civic.
Id. ¶ 11 (alteration omitted).
between 3:00 a.m. and 3:57 a.m. on June 3, Defendant Juarez
obtained and viewed the surveillance video footage of the
parking lot from the church. Id. ¶ 12. She
discovered that Plaintiff owned a 1991 green Honda Civic, and
viewed his Facebook page, which had, as the profile picture,
a photo of a green Honda Civic. Id. ¶¶
14-15. Defendant Juarez submitted an arrest warrant for
Plaintiff charging one count of homicide, and later amended
it to two counts. Id. ¶ 16, 18. Assistant
District Attorney D. Roberson approved the warrant, and Judge
Nan Nash signed it. Id. The affidavits in support of
the warrant described Defendant Juarez' interviews with
the three eyewitnesses and the substance of their stories.
Doc. 17-3 at 2-3. It did not mention any surveillance videos.
See generally id.
took Plaintiff into custody that same day. Id.
¶ 17. Two weeks later, on June 16, 2017, Defendant
Juarez testified before a grand jury on a two count
indictment charging Plaintiff with two open counts of murder.
Id. ¶ 22. She discussed the surveillance videos
in depth. Id. ¶ 23. The grand jury true billed
both counts of first degree murder. Id. ¶ 24.
The Surveillance Videos
surveillance videos-one which depicts the events from a
camera perched on the rooftop (Exhibit D to Defendant's
Motion), and the other which depicts the events from the
front door of the church (Exhibit E to Defendant's
Motion)-have been submitted to the Court along with
Defendants' motion for summary judgment. See
Doc. 18. When no party disputes the authenticity of a video
and the video is so clear that no reasonable jury could adopt
the nonmoving party's interpretation of the video, the
Supreme Court has instructed that lower courts should
“view the facts in the light depicted by the
videotape” rather than accepting the nonmoving
party's interpretation of the facts. Scott v.
Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378-81 (2007).
rooftop surveillance video depicts a church parking lot after
dark. In the center left of the video, a small dark
car is parked
at an angle, partially taking up a striped area reserved for
a handicapped spot. A man in a light shirt (who Defendant
Juarez identifies as Aiden, Doc. 17-4 at 11) exits a car
parked two spaces away and walks over to the small dark car.
The driver of the small dark car, a man in a dark shirt (who
the parties agree is Plaintiff), gets out of the car. The two
men talk for a while, as cars continue to exit the parking
lot. Plaintiff and Aiden are soon approached by three other
men, one wearing a light shirt and two wearing dark shirts.
Defendant Juarez identifies the man in a light shirt as Paul
Francia, one of the men in a dark shirt as Jordan Mucher, and
the third man as Travis (Doc. 17-4 at 10-13). Other people
also approach but stand several feet away from the parked car
as they watch what appears to start out as a conversation
between Paul and Plaintiff. During this time, Aiden stands
just to the side of Paul while Jordan and Travis stand a few
feet behind Aiden. The crucial events are the few seconds
that then pass from the time Paul punches Plaintiff until the
time Plaintiff shoots Paul and Jordan and then drives away.
The door surveillance video depicts the same events, but from
a different angle. Because the rooftop video is consistent
with the door video, the Court sets forth the crucial events
with time reference only to the door video.
- Paul punches Plaintiff in the face for no apparent
reason and continues to throw several punches.
- Plaintiff sinks back into the driver's seat of
the car out of view of the camera.
- Aiden moves toward Paul.
- Aiden begins punching Paul from behind Paul's
- Jordan jumps on Aiden's back and pulls him away
from Paul. Both Jordan and Paul end up a few feet
from the driver's side door of the car.
- Something light in color emerges from the driver
side door (consistent with Plaintiff's assertion
that this was Plaintiff's shoe).
- Paul turns and backs away from the car. (It is not
clear that Paul has been shot at this point).
- Several people watching the altercation begin to
- Jordan and Aiden continue to fight a few feet away
from the driver's side door of the car.
- Plaintiff stands up with his arms extended (the
video is not clear enough to tell whether Plaintiff
is carrying a gun, but his posture is consistent with
a person pointing a gun).
- Paul hunches over and begins to stumble backwards.
- Plaintiff's hands come down.
- Plaintiff's hands come back up.
- Plaintiff goes back into the car and cannot be seen
from the video.
- There is a flash near the driver's side door of
- Jordan falls to the ground and Aiden backs away.
- Plaintiff then stands up again.
- Plaintiff gets back into the car. Except for
Jordan, who is lying in the street, no one else is in
the immediate vicinity of the car.
- The headlights of the car come on.
- Paul begins to fall to the ground.
- A bright flash comes from the inside of the car.
- Plaintiff drives away.