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Armstrong v. Brotherton

United States District Court, D. Arizona

February 5, 2014

Andre William Armstrong, Plaintiff,
v.
Brotherton, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

DAVID G. CAMPBELL, District Judge.

Plaintiff Andre William Armstrong, who is confined in the Maricopa County Fourth Avenue Jail, has filed a pro se civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. 1), an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Doc. 2), and a Motion to Appoint Guardian Ad Litem (Doc. 5). The Court will dismiss the Complaint with leave to amend and appoint counsel.

I. Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis and Filing Fee

Plaintiff's Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis will be granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). Plaintiff must pay the statutory filing fee of $350.00. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). The Court will assess an initial partial filing fee of $10.00. The remainder of the fee will be collected monthly in payments of 20% of the previous month's income each time the amount in the account exceeds $10.00. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2). The Court will enter a separate Order requiring the appropriate government agency to collect and forward the fees according to the statutory formula....

II. Statutory Screening of Prisoner Complaints

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or an employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if a plaintiff has raised claims that are legally frivolous or malicious, that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2).

III. Complaint

Plaintiff names the following Defendants in the Complaint: Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Brotherton; Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio; and Officers of the Court J.S. Jed. and O.E. Smith.

Plaintiff raises two claims for relief. In Count One, Plaintiff claims his Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated when, on May 20, 2013, Defendant Brotherton ordered Defendants Jed and Smith to "jump on [Plaintiff] in the hallway... after [Plaintiff] informed the clerk that... [he] was having a medical problem." Plaintiff claims that he called 911 and the Defendants "jumped on [him] and dragged [him] into the court room." Plaintiff claims that he started crying and blacked out and that "they took [his] bond money." In Count Two, Plaintiff alleges the same facts and claims Defendants Jed and Smith used excessive force against him in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief and money damages.

The Maricopa County Superior Court docket indicates that on May 20, 2013, the Maricopa County Superior Court revoked Plaintiff's release conditions and remanded Plaintiff to the custody of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. On July 2, 2013, the Maricopa County Superior Court found Plaintiff criminally incompetent and incompetent to refuse treatment and committed Plaintiff to the Maricopa County Correctional Health Services Restoration Program.[1]

IV. Failure to State a Claim

A. Defendant Brotherton

Judges are absolutely immune from § 1983 suits for damages for their judicial acts except when they are taken "in the clear absence of all jurisdiction." Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 356-357 (1978); Ashelman v. Pope, 793 F.2d 1072, 1075 (9th Cir. 1986). An act is "judicial" when it is a function normally performed by a judge and the parties dealt with the judge in his or her judicial capacity. Stump, 435 U.S. at 362; Crooks v. Maynard, 913 F.2d 699, 700 (9th Cir. 1990). In this case, Plaintiff's only allegation regarding Defendant Brotherton is that he directed Defendants Jed and Smith to bring Plaintiff ...


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