United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division
OPINION AND ORDER
WILLIAM S. DUFFEY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Judge Margot Roberts'
(“Judge Roberts”) Motion to Quash .
Sammy Norris (“Plaintiff”) alleges that, on
November 22, 2014, he stopped at the Hartsfield-Jackson
Atlanta International Airport to get breakfast and to verify
the cost of an airplane ticket to Alabama. (Compl.
¶¶ 16-17). As he walked towards the dining area
inside the airport, Defendant Remero Mason (“Officer
Mason”), a police officer, asked him whether he had a
plane ticket. (Compl. ¶ 20). Plaintiff replied that he
was checking the price of a ticket to Alabama and was about
to buy breakfast. (Compl. ¶ 20). Officer Mason accused
Plaintiff of trespassing, and instructed Plaintiff to follow
him to the Atlanta Police Precinct located inside the
airport. (Compl. ¶ 21). Plaintiff refused to accompany
Officer Mason to the precinct. (Compl. ¶ 22). Officer
Mason instructed Defendant Curtis James (“Officer
James”), another police officer, to detain Plaintiff.
(Compl. ¶ 22). Plaintiff explained he was lawfully on
the property and started walking towards the MARTA station
entrance to leave the airport. (Compl. ¶¶ 24-25).
James and Defendants Victor Marcus (“Officer
Marcus”) Willie Moore (“Officer Moore”),
also police officers, attempted to seize Plaintiff. (Compl.
¶ 26). Plaintiff initially “maneuvered away”
from the officers, but Officers Marcus, Moore and James
eventually apprehended him and “forcefully took”
him to the ground. (Compl. ¶¶ 27-28). Plaintiff
alleges that one of the officers kneed him in the abdomen and
handcuffed him too tightly. (Compl. ¶¶ 31-32).
Plaintiff was transported to the Clayton County Detention
Center, where he lost consciousness. (Compl. ¶ 33). He
was then taken to hospital, treated for injuries, and
arrested by Defendants without a warrant. (Compl.
¶¶ 33-34, 47).
that day, Officer James executed a Warrantless Arrest
Probable Cause Affidavit (the “Affidavit”),
alleging that Plaintiff obstructed or hindered law
enforcement, in violation of O.C.G.A. § 16-10-24. ([1.1]
at 31). The narrative in the Affidavit stated that Plaintiff
resisted apprehension after Officer Mason “recognized
[Plaintiff] trespassing on airport property.” ([1.1] at
31). The following language appeared at the bottom of the
Affidavit, under the heading “Order:”
“After having considered the sworn statement of the
officer set forth above concerning the arrest of this
Defendant, I find that probable cause exists for the
continued detention of this Defendant and ORDER that he/she
be committed to this Court to be dealt with as the law
directs for the offense[s] indicated above.” ([1.1] at
31). On November 23, 2014, Judge Roberts signed the
Affidavit. ([1.1] at 31). She had “no further
dealings” with Plaintiff after that date. ([47.1] at
2). Plaintiff was incarcerated for twenty-one (21) days.
(Compl. ¶¶ 40-42). On March 10, 2015, Judge Linda
S. Cowen, of the State Court of Clayton Judicial Circuit,
dismissed the case against Plaintiff. ([1.1] at 32).
September 9, 2016, Plaintiff filed his Complaint [1.1] in the
State Court of Clayton County. The Complaint asserts federal
claims, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, for unlawful seizure,
deprivation of liberty without due process of law, and
malicious prosecution (Count 5). The Complaint also asserts
state law claims for assault and battery (Count 1), false
imprisonment (Count 2), false swearing (Count 3), malicious
prosecution (Count 4), punitive damages (Count 6), and
attorney's fees (Count 7). On October 21, 2016,
Defendants removed Plaintiff's Complaint to this Court.
4, 2017, Plaintiff issued a subpoena (the
“Subpoena”) to Judge Roberts, commanding her to
testify at a deposition. (). On May 8, 2017, Judge
Roberts filed her Motion to Quash, arguing that the Subpoena
is “unreasonable and oppressive” and should be
quashed. ([47.1] at 1). Plaintiff did not file a response and
the Motion to Quash is thus deemed unopposed. See LR
7.1(B), NDGa (Failure to file a response shall indicate that
there is no opposition to the motion.”).
Rule of Civil Procedure 45 requires a court, on timely
motion, to quash a subpoena that requires disclosure of
privileged or other protected matters. Fed.R.Civ.P. 45(c)(3).
“It is well-settled that the mental processes of a
judge are not the proper subject of compelled
testimony.” Maid of the Mist Corp. v. Alcatraz
Media, LLC, No. 1:09-cv-1543, 2009 WL 10668648, at *2
(N.D.Ga. June 30, 2009); see United States v.
Morgan, 313 U.S. 409, 422 (1941) (stating “a judge
cannot be subjected to such a scrutiny” because
“an examination of a judge would be destructive of
judicial responsibility”). “[J]udges are under no
obligation to divulge the reasons that motivated them in
their official acts; the mental processes employed in
formulating the decision may not be probed.”
Alcatraz Media, LLC, 2009 WL 10668648, at *2;
see Robinson v. Commissioner of Internal
Revenue, 70 F.3d 34, 38 (5th Cir. 1995) (“A judge
may not be asked to testify about his mental processes in
reaching a judicial opinion.”); Grant v.
Shalala, 989 F.2d 1332, 1344 (3d Cir. 1993) (“It
has long been recognized that attempts to probe the thought
and decision making processes of judges and administrators
are generally improper.”). “Courts will only
consider compelling judicial testimony in the presence of
extreme and extraordinary circumstances, such as a strong
showing of bad faith or improper behavior.”
Alcatraz Media, LLC, 2009 WL 10668648, at *2.
Roberts' only involvement with Plaintiff's case was
her approval of the Affidavit. ([47.1] at 2). Plaintiff does
not identify any issue upon which he seeks to depose Judge
Roberts that is not protected from disclosure, and he does
not state any extraordinary circumstances warranting
compelled judicial testimony. Plaintiff does not oppose Judge
Robert's motion to quash the Subpoena, and the Motion to
Quash is granted.
foregoing reasons, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Judge Margot