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Pope v. Montgomery

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division

February 20, 2018

JACOB W. POPE PLAINTIFF
v.
SHERIFF JOHN MONTGOMERY, Baxter County, Arkansas; DANIELLE CAMPFIELD, Jail Administrator for the Baxter County Detention Center; and BAXTER COUNTY, ARKANSAS DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          TIMOTHY L. BROOKS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Currently before the Court is the Report and Recommendation ("R&R") (Doc. 52) of the Honorable Mark E. Ford, United States Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Arkansas, submitted in this case on September 5, 2017, regarding a Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 44) filed by Defendants Sheriff John Montgomery, Jail Administrator Danielle Campfield, and Baxter County, Arkansas. The Magistrate Judge recommends granting Defendants' Motion. Plaintiff Jacob W. Pope filed objections to the R&R on October 26, 2017. (Doc. 57).[1]

         The Court has conducted a de novo review as to all proposed findings and recommendations to which Mr. Pope has raised specific objections. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). As explained herein, the objections are OVERRULED, and the R&R is ADOPTED AS MODIFIED below.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The events at the heart of this case began on Wednesday, December 12, 2012, when Plaintiff was arrested without a warrant on charges of terroristic threatening in Mountain Home, Arkansas. (Doc. 46-3, p. 17). An ex parte probable cause determination for the arrest was made by a judicial officer on December 13, 2012. Id. at 7-8. On December 14, 2012, the following things occurred: (1) bond was set at $50, 000.00, (2) a criminal information was filed for the charge of terroristic threatening, and (3) a bench warrant issued. Id. at 6. The arrest warrant was executed and returned on December 18, 2012. Id. at 10. On December 19, 2012, Plaintiff filed a motion for a writ of habeas corpus (Doc. 48-1, p. 13) and a motion for bond reduction. Id. at 15. Plaintiffs initial appearance did not take place until December 19, 2012, and the amount of his bond was reduced at that time. Plaintiff posted bond that same day.

         At the time of Plaintiff's arrest in 2012, General Order No. 13 "was in existence and being used as a guideline" in Baxter County even though it was not formally adopted by Sheriff Montgomery until 2013. (Doc. 46-2, p. 1). General Order No. 13 states the following County policy as to first appearances:

1. Every person arrested with or without a warrant who is not released by citation or other lawful manner is entitled to physically appear before a judicial officer without unnecessary delay so that the person can: i) have the charges read, ii) be told of his right to remain silent, iii) be told of his right to an attorney, and iv) ask for release. Rule 8.1 of the Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure shall apply.
2. Unless a judicial officer orders otherwise, "without unnecessary delay" shall mean not more than seventy-two (72) hours and the jail staff shall attempt to have each person arrested brought before a judicial officer within seventy-two (72) hours of the arrest for a Rule 8.1 First Appearance Hearing.
3. If a person is not taken before a judicial officer within seventy-two (72) hours after being detained, the Sheriff, Chief Deputy, or Jail Administrator is to be notified so that a Rule 5.2 "Sheriffs Citation" release decision can be made and/or a Court Order can be obtained to permit the jail to continue to hold the detainee past seventy-two (72) hours without a Rule 8.1 Hearing.

(Doc. 46-4, pp. 1-2).

         Plaintiff alleges in his Complaint that the seven days he was detained prior to his first appearance violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. (Doc. 31). Plaintiff claims that Sheriff Montgomery, Jail Administrator Campfield, and Baxter County are jointly responsible for these due process violations. He further maintains that Defendants' failure to properly train and supervise their subordinates deprived him of his constitutional rights. Lastly, he alleges that his bond was unreasonably high in violation of his Eighth Amendment and due process rights. Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 44) requesting that all of Plaintiffs claims be dismissed.

         The Magistrate Judge conducted a summary judgment hearing on April 13, 2017, to allow Plaintiff the opportunity to orally respond to the Motion for Summary Judgment and present any evidence he desired. Following the hearing, the Magistrate Judge issued an R&R in which he concluded that, in the totality of the circumstances, Plaintiff's extended detention prior to his initial appearance did not violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Additionally, the Magistrate Judge determined that Sheriff Montgomery could not be held liable for a failure to train or supervise his subordinates concerning extended detentions. Finally, the Magistrate Judge found that because Defendants were not involved in setting Plaintiffs bond, they were entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiffs excessive bond claim. (Doc. 52, pp. 13).

         II. OBJECTIONS

         Plaintiff raised several objections to the Magistrate Judge's R&R. These objections fall into three categories: (1) objections relating to the format of the summary judgment hearing; (2) factual objections; and (3) objections relating to the substantive legal arguments.

         Beginning with Plaintiffs objections concerning the format of the summary judgment hearing, he complains that: (1) the hearing was held over 100 miles from his home; (2) he was not informed that he had to pay for parking; (3) he was not allowed to bring his smart phone into the hearing; (4) the hearing was set up in a question/answer format as opposed to narrative form; and (5) the Magistrate Judge ...


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