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Calhoun v. Lockette

United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Albany Division

November 28, 2017

APRIL D CALHOUN, Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIE E LOCKETTE, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          LESLIE J. ABRAMS, JUDGE.

         Before the Court are Plaintiff April Calhoun's Motion for Preliminary Certification of Class Action, Doc. 1-3, Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction, Doc. 1-4, Defendants' Motion to Stay Discovery, Doc. 5, and Defendants' Motion to Stay Issuance of the Scheduling Order, Doc. 10.

         For the reasons stated below: Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Certification of Class Action, Doc. 1-3, is DENIED; Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction, Doc. 1-4, is DENIED; and Defendants' Motion to Stay Discovery and Motion to Stay Issuance of the Scheduling Order, Docs. 5 & 10 are GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         This action was originally filed in the Superior Court of Dougherty County and was removed to this Court by Defendants. Doc. 1 at 1. Plaintiff alleges that she was incarcerated as a pretrial detainee in the custody of Defendant Sheriff Sproul, the Sheriff of Dougherty County, on April 22, 2017. Doc. 1-2 at 3. Plaintiff alleges that her Fourth and Sixth Amendment and due process rights under the federal Constitution and her rights under the Georgia Constitution were violated because: (1) from the date of her arrest through the date of filing this action, Plaintiff had no bond set nor was she afforded a bond hearing; (2) “other than a first appearance . . . [Plaintiff] has had no court appearance [ ] since the date of her arrest, including any court of inquiry (also referred to as a ‘preliminary hearing' or a ‘probably cause hearing') pursuant to O.C.G.A. §§ 17-7-20, et seq.;” (3) Plaintiff applied for appointed counsel but “has not had any visits from or communications from any attorney;” (4) Plaintiff requested “a bond hearing or other court hearing since her arrest by asking employees of Defendant Sproul, but was informed . . . that they [cannot] do so, but that any request for a bond hearing or other hearing must come from an attorney;” (5) the magistrates of Dougherty County follow the policy of Defendant State Court Judge Darrisaw “in regards to setting bonds and setting hearings for a court of inquiry (committal hearings);” (6) Defendant Darrisaw has a policy “of refusing to set bonds for pretrial detainees on warrants which charge certain felonies, as in this case, even though they are authorized by law, O.C.G.A. § 17-6-1, to do so;” (7) Defendant Darrisaw has a policy “of refusing to set dates for courts of inquiry, also known as committal hearings or probable cause hearings, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 17-7-20, et seq., unless requested to do so by an attorney at law, ” resulting in the “jailing for weeks and sometimes months of persons who are wholly innocent of the offense, or against him there is no evidence sufficient to establish probable cause to detain them . . . pending a grand jury presentment;” (8) “there is no procedure . . . to obtain a hearing for either setting a bond, reducing a bond, or setting a court of inquiry” without an attorney request; (9) “[w]hen committal hearings are afforded, they have frequently been conducted in derogation of Due Process of Law and in derogation of O.C.G.A. § 17-7-28, by [ ] Defendant Darrisaw;” and (10) Defendant Darrisaw has “refused” to allow criminal defendants “to subpoena witnesses and evidence, . . . present live testimony, . . . and ha[s] bound over [criminal] defendants based on the hearsay testimony of persons . . . whom the court refused to allow the accused to call to the witness stand.” Doc. 1-2 at 3-7.

         Plaintiff asserts that Defendants Superior Court Judge Lockette and Sproul are “not alleged to have committed any transgressions in regard to [Plaintiff], ” but were named to “allow the class to obtain full relief.” Doc. 1-2 at 7-8. Plaintiff seeks a “writ of prohibition, ” a “writ of mandamus, ” an “order supervising inferior court, ” both “preliminary and permanent” injunctive relief, and the release of Plaintiff and the proposed class members from jail. Doc. 1-2 at 9-10.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Motion for Preliminary Class Certification

         The Court first notes that Plaintiff relies on her Motion for Class Certification that she filed in state Superior Court-referencing only Georgia law. This Court, however, will apply federal law. “Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 governs class actions.” Mills v. Foremost Ins. Co., 511 F.3d 1300, 1307 (11th Cir. 2008). To represent a class, Plaintiff must establish that:

(1) the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable; (2) there are questions of law or fact common to the class; (3) the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class; and (4) the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class.

         Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a). “These four requirements are commonly referred to as numerosity, commonality, typicality, and adequacy of representation. Once the Rule 23(a) requirements are met, parties seeking to represent a class must establish at least one of the[ ] three requirements [of] Rule 23(b), ” Mills, 511 F.3d at 1307-08, specifically:

(1) prosecuting separate actions by or against individual class members would create a risk of:
(A) inconsistent or varying adjudications with respect to individual class members that would establish incompatible standards of conduct for the party opposing the class; or
(B) adjudications with respect to individual class members that, as a practical matter, would be dispositive of the interests of the other members not parties to the individual adjudications or would substantially impair ...

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