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Barnett v. Clark

April 25, 2007


The opinion of the court was delivered by: R. Allan Edgar United States District Judge



Plaintiff James A. Barnett ("Barnett"), an inmate, presently housed at CCA Silverdale, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, has filed this pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Barnett alleges Lt. Lenda Clark ("Lt. Clark"), Officer Ken Cox ("Officer Cox"), Deputy Siler ("Deputy Siler"), Sheriff Billy Long ("Sheriff Long"), Jim Hart, Chief of Corrections at Hamilton County Jail ("Chief Hart"), and Hamilton County Assistant District Attorney Bill Cox ("District Attorney Cox") are responsible for his alleged illegal extradition. Specifically, Barnett asserts the defendants violated his constitutional rights when they allegedly proceeded in absence of a signed Governor's extradition warrant, wavier of extradition rights, or habeas hearing. Thus, Barnett argues he is entitled to damages for injuries associated with the constitutional and statutory procedural violations.

Barnett claims that on September 18, 2006, Officers Cox and Siler arrived at Scott State Prison in Hardwick, Georgia without an extradition warrant or proper waiver of extradition from him for the purpose of taking custody of him and bringing him to Tennessee for prosecution. Barnett claims Officer Cox telephoned Lt. Clark about the problem and he told Barnett that Lt. Clark ordered him to take custody of Barnett because she was not going to waste a four to five hour trip and Barnett could just sue her. Officer Cox then cuffed and shackled Barnett and Officer Siler transported him to Tennessee (Court File No. 2).

Presently before the Court are several non-dispositive motions and a motion to dismiss by District Attorney Cox. The Court will dispose of the non-dispositive motions before rendering a decision on the motion to dismiss. However, the Court will first address plaintiff's miscellaneous documents.

I. Miscellaneous Documents

Presently before the Court are two letters (Court File Nos. 48 & 49)*fn2 and a request for documents (Court File No. 50) filed by plaintiff. Such writings are an improper communication with the Court which is not permitted. Furthermore, plaintiff cannot expect the Court to take action based on his writing a letter to the Court without filing a proper motion and serving the pleading or motion on the opposing party.

If plaintiff intends to file an amendment to his complaint, he should file a motion to amend and clearly designate any amended complaint as such. If the plaintiff intends to ask the Court to take action and grant him some form of relief, it is necessary, at a minimum, that he file a proper motion with the Court clearly stating the relevant facts and law and making a specific demand for the precise relief he seeks. Any and all such motions must also be served by the plaintiff upon the opposing parties.

Accordingly, any further letters addressed to Judges of this district court will not be filed but will be returned to plaintiff for failure to comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Also before the Court is plaintiff's request for documents addressed to District Attorney Cox (Court File No. 50). To the extent plaintiff filed this document as a motion to compel, it is DENIED as District Attorney Cox is being dismissed from this case (Court File No. 50).

II. Nondispositive Motions

Presently before the Court are plaintiff's motions to appoint counsel, for an emergency hearing, and compel discovery (Court File No. 35); to clarify allegations against defendants (Court File No. 39); for default judgment (Court File No. 42); and leave to amend complaint (Court File No. 44). Also before the Court are defendant District Attorney Cox's motions to dismiss (Court File No. 26), which the Court previously reserved ruling upon (Court Rule No. 34), and his motion to stay discovery (Court file No. 38). The Court will address plaintiff's motions before addressing the motions of defendant District Attorney Cox.

A. Motion to Appoint Counsel, for an Emergency Hearing, and Compel Discovery Plaintiff has essentially filed three motions in one. The Court will address each request separately and for the reasons explained below, the motion will be denied (Court File No. 35).

1. Motion to Appoint Counsel

This is plaintiff's third motion requesting counsel. Plaintiff has previously filed two motions for appointment of counsel, both of which were denied (Court File Nos. 4 & 12). Plaintiff's third motion for appointment of counsel is DENIED for the reasons explained in the Court's previous Order denying his initial request for counsel to be appointed (Court File No. 5). At this time the Court does not find any exceptional circumstances exist which requires the appointment of counsel. Accordingly, plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel is DENIED (Court File No. 35).

2. Motion for an Emergency Hearing

Plaintiff's motion requesting an emergency hearing is his second motion requesting such a hearing. Plaintiff is claiming he is illegally being detained in defendant's custody and has been for approximately six months. Plaintiff is claiming that he should be released because defendants violated the Interstate Detainer Act procedures when they extradited him to Tennessee (Court File No. 35). The record does not contain proof of the authority under which the State of Tennessee obtained custody of plaintiff, thus the record does not demonstrate that plaintiff is being illegally detained. Moreover, it does not appear that procedural defects in obtaining custody of plaintiff impairs Tennessee's power to prosecute plaintiff for underlying criminal charges.

The Supreme Court has previously concluded that the jurisdiction of a trial court over a criminal defendant is not vitiated by the violation of extradition procedures. Lascelles v. Georgia, 148 U.S. 537, 542,544 (1893) ("Neither the constitution nor the act of congress providing for the rendition of fugitives upon proper requisition being made confers, either expressly or by implication, any right or privilege upon such fugitives, under and by virtue of which they can assert, in the state to which they are returned, exemption from trial for any criminal act done ...

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