United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER STAYING CASE
MATTER is before the Court sua sponte on the Civil
Rights Complaint Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 filed by
Plaintiff Rodolfo Rodriguez on February 8, 2019 (Doc. 1)
(“Complaint”). The Court will stay the
proceedings in this civil case pending final disposition of
the criminal charges in United States of America v.
Rodolfo Rodriguez, Jr., No. CR18-01568 WJ.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Rodolfo Rodriguez is a pretrial detainee in custody at the
Cibola County Detention Center in Milan, New Mexico. (Doc. 1
at 1). Rodriguez is awaiting trial on federal charges of
possession with intent to distribute one or more kilograms of
heroin in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). See
United States of America v. Rodolfo Rodriguez, Jr., No.
CR18-01568 WJ. Rodriguez filed his Complaint on February 8,
2019. (Doc. 1). Also pending before the Court are
Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 5),
Motion for Preservation of Evidence (Doc. 6), and Motion for
Amendment of Complaint (Doc. 7).
civil rights Complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Rodriguez
names Amtrak, Agent Perry. and Agent Chavez as Defendants.
(Doc. 1 at 1-2). Rodriguez claims that Agent Perry and Agent
Chavez are peace officers, task force, security, or D.E.A.
(Doc. 1 at 2). Rodriguez states the nature of his case as
“In a case that involves an unknown agent that I had 4
different run in with all 4 times I would not let the agent
search me, at times I was on the bus or the train. The very
last time I was sleeping on the Amtrak coach car when I was
waken and asked 2 questions, where is my ticket and I.D. All
along Perry & Chaves were standing over me with no badge
or marking IDing them. with there hands on there weapons, in
civilian clothing and working federal property w/civilians
and without Court approval it was intimidating after showing
my I.D. I was told to ‘get up and raise my
hands’. As I started to stand I notice I did not have
any witnesses and I could be killed. At this point I reached
for my cell phone in hopes I could record my last
conversation and this violation of my civil rights and due
process but to no avail one agent pulled his weapon and the
other cuffed me and kidnaped me never saying you are under
arrest or reading my rights.”
(Doc. 1 at 2). Rodriguez requests the following relief:
“Release from custody A.S.A.P. Incarcerate Perry for
threats to me via my criminal attorney Jerry Walz and Sam
Wise. Pay attorney fee’s and $10, 000, 00000/xx USD for
pain and suffering that is quantified [10X] for each count
for a total of 4 counts along with settlement of D.O.J. 2018
against the City of Albuquerque (A.P.D.)”
(Doc. 1 at 5).
RODRIGUEZ’S CLAIMS WILL BE STAYED
Rodriguez does not specify the type of constitutional claim
that he is asserting, based on his allegations that he was
essentially kidnapped by the agents, this Court construes the
Complaint as alleging false imprisonment or false arrest in
violation of the Fourth Amendment. In Wallace v.
Kato, the Supreme Court “held that the limitations
period begins to run on a § 1983 claim alleging an
unlawful arrest [or false imprisonment] under the Fourth
Amendment as soon as the arrestee ‘becomes detained
pursuant to legal process, ’ not when he is ultimately
released.” McDonough v. Smith, 139 S.Ct. 2149,
2159 (quoting Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 397
(2007)). This is because “[a] false arrest claim has a
life independent of an ongoing trial or putative future
conviction – it attacks the arrest only to the extent
it was without legal process, even if legal process later
commences.” McDonough, 139 S.Ct. at 2159.
Thus, in order to avoid timeliness issues, Plaintiff
correctly filed the instant action within two years after his
alleged false arrest/imprisonment.
noted above, however, criminal charges are currently pending
against Rodriguez based on the evidence discovered during the
law enforcement encounter that forms the basis for
Rodriguez’s instant § 1983 motion. Under these
circumstances, where a plaintiff files a false-arrest claim
while criminal charges are pending against him, “it is
within the power of the district court, and in accord with
common practice, to stay the civil action until the criminal
case . . . is ended.” Wallace, 549 U.S. at
393-94; see also Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 487
n.7 (1994) (noting that “abstention may be an
appropriate response to the parallel state-court
proceedings”). In keeping with this precedent, the
Court will exercise its discretion to stay the instant civil
action until the criminal case against Rodriguez has been
resolved. Wallace, 549 U.S. at 393-94.
before the Court are Rodriguez’s Motion for Summary
Judgment (Doc. 5), Motion for Preservation of Evidence (Doc.
6), and Motion for Amendment of Complaint (Doc. 7). The Court
will stay these pending motions until after the criminal case
against Rodriguez has been resolved.
IS THEREFORE ORDERED that this action and the
motions pending therein, namely, Plaintiffs Motion for
Summary Judgment (Doc. 5), Motion for Preservation of
Evidence (Doc. 6), and Motion for Amendment of Complaint
(Doc. 7), are STAYED ...