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Barnett v. Clark

January 22, 2008


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



James A. Barnett ("Plaintiff"), a former Tennessee inmate brings this pro se complaint for damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, contending that he was illegally extradited to Tennessee in violation of his constitutional rights. Plaintiff has been released and now resides in Georgia (Court File # 67). The defendants are Lt. Lenda Clark ("Lt. Clark"), Ken Cox ("Deputy Cox"), Deputy Siler ("Deputy Siler"), Sheriff Billy Long ("Sheriff Long"), and Jim Hart, Chief of Corrections at Hamilton County Jail ("Chief Hart"). Hamilton County District Attorney Bill Cox was dismissed from this litigation by previous Order of this Court (Court File #53).

Plaintiff asserts Defendants violated his constitutional rights when they extradited him from Georgia to Tennessee in absence of a signed Governor's extradition warrant, wavier of extradition rights, or habeas hearing. Plaintiff contends he is entitled to damages for these constitutional violations.

Defendants contend that a violation of the procedures provided in the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act ("UCEA"), codified in Tennessee at Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-9-101 et. seq.*fn1 does not create a cognizable constitutional claim under § 1983 in the Sixth Circuit and the release of Plaintiff in September of 2006 to the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department is governed by the UCEA. Additionally, Defendants contend they had no obligation to ensure the asylum state, Georgia, complied with pre-extradition proceedings and they were justified in relying upon the information given by Georgia authorities that Hamilton County should receive Plaintiff from Georgia custody pursuant to the hold they had placed on him.

Presently before the Court is Defendants' motion for summary judgment (Court File # 68) and Plaintiff's responses (Court File #71 & 75). For the reasons below, Defendants' motion for summary judgment will be GRANTED (Court File # 68) and Plaintiff's complaints (Court File #2, 13, 14, & 19) will be DISMISSED.

I. Standard of Review Under Rule 56

Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c) provides that summary judgment will be rendered if there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The burden is on the moving party to conclusively show that no genuine issue of material fact exists, and the Court must view the facts and all inferences to be drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986); Morris v. Crete Carrier Corp., 105 F.3d 279, 280-81 (6th Cir. 1997); 60 Ivy Street Corp. v. Alexander, 822 F.2d 1432, 1435 (6th Cir. 1987).

When there is no factual dispute, the determination of whether to grant summary judgment is a question of law. An absence of a genuine issue of material fact requires the Court to determine whether the non-movant has submitted significant probative evidence to support his claim, and from which a jury could find for the non-movant. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). When the parties do not dispute the basic facts, the decision turns on a question of law: whether the alleged facts show a violation of clearly established law. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252; Bailey v. Floyd County Bd. Of Educ., 106 F.3d 135, 140 (6th Cir. 1997). If the Court concludes that a fair-minded jury could not return a verdict in favor of the nonmoving party based on the evidence presented, it may enter a summary judgment. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-52; University of Cincinnati v. Arkwright Mut. Ins. Co., 51 F.3d 1277, 1280 (6th Cir. 1995); LaPointe v. UAW, Local 600, 8 F.3d 376, 378 (6th Cir. 1993).

II. Facts

The facts are not disputed for purposes of summary judgment. In 2004, while serving a two-year sentence in Georgia Plaintiff learned that charges were pending against him in Tennessee. The Georgia prison authorities advised Plaintiff that a National Crime Information Center ("NCIC") check revealed pending charges in Tennessee.

Although no detainer had been lodged, Plaintiff initiated the process of disposing of the pending charges in Tennessee under the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act ("IAD"). On May 5, 2005, Plaintiff requested the Georgia Prison Warden to forward the required IAD forms to Hamilton County, Tennessee authorities to have those charges resolved. Thirteen days later, the IAD forms were mailed to Hamilton County Criminal Court Clerk Gwen Tidwell. Tennessee authorities signed IAD Form VII (notice of prosecutor's acceptance of temporary custody offered in connection for disposition of a detainer) (Court File # 14, Exhibit 1) and mailed it to the Georgia authorities. On June 8, 2005, "Agreement on Detainers: Form VI Evidence of Agents Authority to Act for Receiving State" (Court File # 19, Exhibit 12), was sent to Georgia authorities notifying them that Hamilton County authorities would pick up Plaintiff on July 6, 2005. Georgia authorities, however, notified Tennessee authorities, five days afterwards, that because no formal detainer had been lodged, they could not obtain custody of Plaintiff (Affidavit of Susan Roberson (Court File # 14, Exhibit 3a). Hamilton County officials attempted to resolve the problem by filing a formal detainer with Georgia on June 17, 2005. The detainer was lodged and Plaintiff was advised that he must resubmit his IAD forms as they had been submitted prematurely when they were filed before the detainer had been lodged. Plaintiff refused.*fn2 Because of his refusal, Plaintiff was not extradited until he completed serving his Georgia sentence on September 18, 2006.

During the interim, Georgia notified Defendants that Plaintiff's release was imminent and advised them to be prepared to assume custody of Plaintiff.*fn3 On Plaintiff's release date, Deputies Cox and Siler arrived at Scott State Prison in Hardwick, Georgia, for the purpose of taking custody of him and bringing him to Tennessee for prosecution. A proper demand for Plaintiff had not been made in accordance with the UCEA, Tenn.Code Ann. § 40-9-121, which provides the procedures for making a demand for fugitives from this state. Thus, Plaintiff was extradited without an extradition warrant or proper waiver of extradition. Plaintiff informed Deputy Cox he did not have legal authority to extradite him. Deputy Cox telephoned Lt. Clark about the extradition issue and announced Lt. Clark "said for Cox to show the prison folks the warrants for my arrest signed by the Hamilton Co. Judge and that if they give me over to him to take me in spite of the lack of legal extradition papers because she wasnt [sic] wasting a 6-7 hour round trip for nothing and if Barnett does not like it, sue her." (Court File # 14). Deputy Cox then cuffed and shackled Plaintiff and Deputy Siler transported him to Tennessee (Court File # 2). Deputies Cox and Siler took custody of Plaintiff based on the representation of the Georgia authorities that he "was ready for release" (Court File #74, at 7).

III. Law

42 U.S.C. § 1983 Provides in Relevant Part

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress...

To state a viable § 1983 claim, a plaintiff must allege he (1) was deprived of a right, privilege, or immunity secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and (2) the deprivation was caused by a person while acting under color of state law. Flagg Bros. Inc. v. Brooks, 436 U.S. 149, 155-156 (1978); Harbin-Bey v. Rutter, 420 F.3d 571, 575 (6th Cir. 2005); Brock v. McWherter, 94 F.3d 242, 244 (6th Cir. 1996). To state a § 1983 claim, Plaintiff must allege sufficient facts that, if true, would establish the Defendants deprived him of a right secured by the Constitution of the United States while they acted under color of law. See Brock, 94 F.3d at 244.

IV. Analysis

A. IAD ...

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