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Johnson v. City of Warner Robins Georgia

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

February 28, 2018




         Plaintiff Timothy R. Johnson filed this action alleging he was wrongfully arrested, prosecuted, and imprisoned for murder in 1');">1984, and subsequently, after the Georgia Supreme Court overturned his murder conviction in 2006, he was maliciously re-prosecuted, and confined to administrative segregation for four and a half years awaiting his retrial, until a jury acquitted him of the charges in 201');">13, and he was released. Plaintiff asserts claims against the City of Warner Robins and various individual Defendants employed by the Warner Robins Police Department and the Houston County Sheriff's Office under 42 U.S.C. § 1');">1983 and Georgia tort law centered around his alleged unlawful arrests and malicious prosecutions of the 1');">1984 and 2006 murder charges and his lengthy confinement in administrative segregation awaiting his re-trial.

         Specifically, Plaintiff asserts claims against the following Defendants: the City of Warner Robins, Georgia, (the “City”) and the following officers of the Warner Robins Police Department (“W.R.P.D.”) individually and in their official capacities as officers of the W.R.P.D.: Detective Deborah D. Miller; Lieutenant Malcolm H. Derrick, Jr.; Captain H.D. Dennard; Lieutenant R.G. West; Detective Brad Mules; and Captain Stephen D. Lynn (collectively referred to as the “City Defendants”); Houston County Sherriff Cullen Talton; Margaret Hays, a deputy of the Houston County Sheriff's Office; and General Granville, a detention officer at the Jail in 1');">1984.

         Before the Court are the City Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. 47]; Defendants Sheriff Talton and Deputy Hays's Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. 53]; and Defendant Granville's Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. 52]. After fully considering the record, the parties' arguments, and the relevant law, the Court finds Defendants are entitled to summary judgment on all of Plaintiff's claims except Plaintiff's substantive due process claim against Defendant Margaret Hays. Thus, the City Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and Defendant Granville's Motion for Summary Judgment [Docs. 47 and 52] are GRANTED; and Defendants Talton and Hays' Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. 53] is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART. Specifically, that Motion is GRANTED on all of Plaintiff's claims against Defendant Sheriff Talton; it is GRANTED on Plaintiff's procedural due process claim against Defendant Margaret Hays; and it is DENIED on Plaintiff's substantive due process claim against Defendant Hays.


         Summary judgment is proper if the movant “shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”[1');">1" name="FN1');">1" id="FN1');">1">1');">1] The moving party “always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, which it believes demonstrates the absence of a genuine issue of material fact” and that entitles it to a judgment as a matter of law.[2] If the moving party discharges this burden, the burden then shifts to the nonmoving party to go beyond the pleadings and present specific evidence showing that there is a genuine issue of material fact.[3]

         The Court must view the facts, and any reasonable inferences drawn from those facts, in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion.[4] “The inferences, however, must be supported by the record, and a genuine dispute of material fact requires more than ‘some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.'”[5] In cases where opposing parties tell different versions of the same events, and one is “blatantly contradicted by the record, so that no reasonable jury could believe it, a court should not adopt that version of the facts.”[6] A disputed fact will preclude summary judgment only “if the dispute might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law.”[7]“The court many not resolve any material factual dispute, but must deny the motion and proceed to trial if it finds that such an issue exists.”[8]


         Plaintiff's claims raise issues of whether the officers had probable cause to arrest and prosecute him in 1');">1984 and in 2006, and whether his due process rights were violated by being confined in administrative segregation awaiting re-trial. Thus, the following facts, taken in the light most favorable to Plaintiff as the nonmoving party, chronicle the police investigation leading to Plaintiff's arrest and subsequent murder charges in 1');">1984; the police investigation leading to Plaintiff's 2006 murder charges and re-trial in 201');">13 after the Georgia Supreme Court overturned his 1');">1984 conviction; and the conditions surrounding Plaintiff's confinement as a pretrial detainee in administrative segregation while confined at the Houston County Jail awaiting his retrial.

         1');">1984 Arrest and Prosecution

         On September 1');">14, 1');">1984, the Kwickie Food Store on Wellborn and Wall Streets in Warner Robins was robbed, and the clerk, Taressa Stanley, was shot and later died from her injuries. Two detectives in the Warner Robins Police Department, Malcom Derrick, a lieutenant in the Criminal Investigations Division (and a Defendant in this case), and James Miller[9] (now deceased), investigated the armed robbery and murder. Miller was the lead investigator, and Defendant Derrick supervised and assisted Miller in the investigation.

         Officer Dawn Bowser was the patrol officer who first responded to the call that a suspect had robbed the Kwickie Store and shot the clerk with a small-caliber weapon. The case was assigned to Miller. Miller and Lieutenant Derrick both arrived at the Kwickie Store around 9:00 p.m. Upon arrival, Defendant Derrick went inside to observe the scene, which included an open door to the cooler where beer was kept and blood on the floor behind the counter.

         Derrick had been at the store about 20 minutes when a citizen named Mark Davis voluntarily approached Officer Bowser, who was outside the store. Davis asked Officer Bowser if someone had been shot, and, if so, whether a small-caliber weapon had been used. Officer Miller then went outside to speak with Davis. Davis told Miller he believed Timothy Johnson (Plaintiff) had committed the crime because Davis had heard Plaintiff plan the crime and had seen a .22 pistol in Plaintiff's possession. Miller relayed to Defendant Derrick the information Davis gave.[1');">10" name="FN1');">10" id="FN1');">10">1');">10]

         Defendant Derrick then went outside and personally spoke with Davis. Davis told Derrick that a week before, Davis had driven Plaintiff to the area where the Kwickie Store was located and let him out. Davis saw Plaintiff go down the path towards the store, and then Plaintiff got back in the car. Davis took Plaintiff home, and Plaintiff told him to wait. Plaintiff then came out of the house with a long barrel, small-caliber revolver with the handle wrapped in black tape, and said, “I'm going to hit that store, ” or words to that effect.

         Davis volunteered all of this information to the officers, with no payment or favor from the officers. In addition, Derrick was personally familiar with Davis. Derrick knew that the Houston County Sheriff's Office (“H.C.S.O.”) had used Davis as an informant on prior occasions, and the information Davis had given the H.C.S.O. had proven to be truthful. Moreover, Davis had directly provided Derrick with truthful information in the past. Defendant Derrick, however, did not run a criminal history check on Davis, who had an extensive criminal history, and Derrick did not take any other steps at that time to corroborate Davis's tip regarding Plaintiff's involvement in the crime. At that time in 1');">1984, the W.R.P.D. did not register or keep files on confidential informants, and it did not train or require officers to run criminal history checks, register, or maintain files on confidential informants.

         Based on the information provided by Davis at the Kwickie Store, Defendant Derrick told Miller to find a justice of the peace to determine whether they could obtain an arrest warrant for Plaintiff. Miller executed a warrant affidavit, which stated in its entirety:

Personally came Detective Jimmy Miller, W.R.P.D., who on oath says that to the best of his knowledge and belief, William [sic] Johnson did on the 1');">14th day of September, in the year 1');">1984, in the county aforesaid, commit the offense of Armed Robbery in said county, between the hours of 8:40 P.M. and M., on the 1');">14th day of September 1');">1984. The place of occurrence of said offense being Houston County, Georgia Kwickie Food St. #29, corner of Wellborn Rd. & Wall St., Warner Robins and against the laws of the State of Georgia. Said offense being described as Accused allegedly robbed Kwickie Food St. #29 by use of an offensive weapon, a pistol. An undetermined amount of money was taken from the cash register. The clerk on duty was Teresa Stanley.[1');">11');">1" name="FN1');">11');">1" id="FN1');">11');">1">1');">11');">1]

Miller presented the affidavit to a magistrate, who issued an arrest warrant for Plaintiff.

         While Miller secured an arrest warrant, officers continued to search the scene for evidence. The store manager reported that approximately $1');">137.00 was missing from the cash register. Officer Bowser found coins and a dollar bill behind the store, as well as a 1');">12-pack of Budweiser. The carton was torn open, but the beer cans were unopened, and they were still cool to the touch even though it was a warm night. The beer and carton were secured into evidence by the crime scene investigator.

         A BOLO (be on the lookout) was issued for Plaintiff, stating that warrants for his arrest had been issued. In the early morning hours of September 1');">15, 1');">1984, police dispatch notified officers that Plaintiff had been seen entering a residence at 1');">130 Vickie Lynn Drive, which was the address of his girlfriend Shirley Brown where he was staying. Defendants Captain Dennard and Leiutenant West, two W.R.P.D. patrol officers, responded to that address.

         At 2:46 a.m. on September 1');">15, 1');">1984, Captain Dennard identified Plaintiff as Timothy Johnson and arrested him for armed robbery and aggravated assault. Other than asking his name, Dennard did not ask Plaintiff any questions. Dennard drove him to the police station, booked him, and placed him in a holding cell. Lieutenant West accompanied Dennard. After Plaintiff was booked, Dennard and West returned to patrol.

         At 3:40 a.m., Detectives Miller and Derrick interviewed Plaintiff at the police station. Plaintiff told the officers he had been at home, at his girlfriend's house, all day and night. He said he did not rob the store or shoot anyone. When asked if he would submit to a polygraph test, Plaintiff asked for a lawyer. The interview stopped, and Miller returned Plaintiff to his cell. Miller then began to look for Mark Davis, the informant who identified Plaintiff as the perpetrator, to “question him more extensively to either consider [Davis] a suspect or dismiss him as a suspect.”[1');">12" name="FN1');">12" id= "FN1');">12">1');">12] Plaintiff states that after he returned to his cell, Lieutenant Derrick came to his cell and attempted to pressure him to confess to the crime or he “was going to make sure [Plaintiff] got fried.”[1');">13" name="FN1');">13" id= "FN1');">13">1');">13] That night, Miller and Derrick went to Plaintiff's girlfriend's house to seek to permission to search the home, but she did not answer the door.

         On September 1');">16, 1');">1984, the clerk, Taressa Stanley, died. After attending the autopsy, Miller and Derrick returned to the Kwickie Store, and they, together with Defendants Captain Dennard and Detective Stephen Lynn, searched for the bullet that had killed the clerk. They removed all items from the shelves, inspecting each item for the bullet. After Dennard suggested moving the shelving, he found the bullet at 1');">10:1');">10 p.m., and it was secured into evidence.

         The next day, on September 1');">17, 1');">1984, Miller and Defendant Derrick interviewed Plaintiff's stepfather, Tilman Densley, who Plaintiff stated was the only father he ever knew.[1');">14" name="FN1');">14" id= "FN1');">14">1');">14] Densley told the officers he knew nothing about the crime, but he did tell them that Plaintiff's girlfriend, Shirley Brown, had called his wife and Plaintiff's mother, Gladys Densley, and asked Gladys to come to her house because Plaintiff was in trouble.[1');">15" name="FN1');">15" id= "FN1');">15">1');">15]

         Miller and Derrick then swore out a warrant against Brown for the offense of Party to a Crime (armed robbery) alleging she had information about the crime and was intentionally avoiding them. After obtaining the warrant, they again went to Brown's house. Miller found Brown with her mother entering the back door, and he placed Brown under arrest. After Miller explained to her that they were going to return with a search warrant, Brown gave consent to search her home and signed a consent-to-search waiver.

         Brown walked to a closet and retrieved a black trash bag, which she gave to the officers. She said it contained Plaintiff's clothes, and she had nothing else of his. She explained that she had given the clothes to Plaintiff's mother to keep, but his mother returned them in case the police searched her home. Brown told the officers she had not seen any money, but she exhibited nervous behavior, and her statements were inconsistent.

         The officers took Brown to the station, read her rights, and interviewed her. As a result of the inconsistent statements she gave, the officers stopped the interview, so she could be placed in a cell. When Miller took Brown to booking, he found a wad of crumpled one-dollar bills in her pocket. Miller then took her back to the interview room and in front of Defendant Derrick, counted 39 one-dollar bills that Brown had removed from her pocket.

         Meanwhile, Sergeant Noll processed the evidence that had been collected. He found a latent print on the beer carton that was found behind the store. That latent print matched Plaintiff's left palm print.

         The next day, on September 1');">18, 1');">1984, Miller again interviewed Plaintiff's girlfriend. She told the officers she was ready to tell the truth. Brown said she also possessed a roll of coins, which she had placed in a trash can behind her house. When Plaintiff returned home the night of the robbery, he removed a wad of bills and rolled coins from his pockets. He had dirt and leaves in his pockets and told her not to ask questions. Plaintiff put the bills under the mattress and the coins in a drawer, and he acted very nervous, especially when any patrol car went by.

         After their interview with Brown, Miller and Defendant Derrick took out warrants for Plaintiff's mother and stepfather. After Plaintiff's stepfather was arrested and confined, he sent word that he wanted to speak to Miller about the robbery. Plaintiff's stepfather said he knew where to find the gun used in the robbery. He directed Miller and Derrick to the exact location of the gun, which was in a tan bank bag in some bushes behind Northgate Plaza. The officers located the bag and requested Sergeant Noll to come out, take photographs, and process the evidence. When the officers opened the bag, they saw the grip of the gun was wrapped in black electrical tape, indicating a problem with the handle or the grip.

         The next day, on September 1');">19, 1');">1984, Miller interviewed Plaintiff's mother, Gladys Densley, who admitted she had accepted Plaintiff's clothing from Plaintiff's girlfriend Shirley Brown without knowing what Plaintiff had done. Plaintiff's mother drove Brown to Macon, where Brown hid the clothing under an acquaintance's house. After discussing the matter with her husband, Plaintiff's mother returned to Macon, retrieved the clothes, and returned them to Brown. The officers then arrested Plaintiff's mother.

         On the same day, the officers interviewed Willie Roundtree. Roundtree stated that he had given Plaintiff a ride the night of the robbery to pick up some marijuana.

         On September 20, 1');">1984, Miller interviewed the informant Mark Davis. In addition to the information he had already provided the officers at the Kwickie Store on the night of the crime, Davis said that Plaintiff had told him about a prior robbery committed by Plaintiff's cousin, Gil Johnson, where the clerk of a convenience store was shot and wounded. Plaintiff told Davis that his cousin had made a mistake by leaving the clerk alive.

         Miller and Derrick then interviewed Mathis Ward, who said Plaintiff had offered to sell him a .22 revolver before this incident. Ward identified the gun Plaintiff tried to see him as having a long barrel that was missing either one or both sides of the grip.

         Four days later, on September 24, 1');">1984, Plaintiff was transferred from a holding cell at the W.R.P.D. to the Houston County Jail (“Jail). Also on that date, the District Attorney (“D.A.”) interviewed Plaintiff's girlfriend, Plaintiff's stepfather, and informant Mark Davis. They were not in custody and came to the station voluntarily. The interviews were videotaped and transcribed by a court reporter. Lieutenant Derrick was present for the interviews.

         During the interview, Plaintiff's girlfriend told the D.A. that Plaintiff had left home around 7:30 p.m. on the night of the robbery and returned home around 1');">10:00 p.m. in a large yellow car. He then left against with Roundtree to buy marijuana and came back around 1');">10:30 p.m. He acted nervous when patrol cars went by. She was afraid he had done something wrong, but she did not ask him what he had done. She saw him take money out of his pockets, and leaves and dirt came out as he took the money out. Plaintiff hid the money in the house, then took it outside, and then brought it back inside, even though she told him not to. After the police arrested Plaintiff, she called his mother to come get his clothes, which she had put in a plastic bag with the money. She stated she never saw the tan bank bag with the gun. She also explained that she and Plaintiff's mother hid the trash bag in Macon on the Saturday following the crime, but Plaintiff's mother and stepfather returned it to her the next day, Sunday.

         On September 27, 1');">1984, Plaintiff's mother and stepfather and Willie Roundtree were polygraphed. The polygrapher from the Georgia Bureau of Investigations determined that Plaintiff's mother was not deceptive and that Roundtree's results were inconclusive. There was no finding about whether Plaintiff's stepfather was deceptive. The polygrapher noted that Plaintiff's stepfather admitted to going through the trash bag, removing the gun, taking out three bullets and the cartridge that had been fired, and taking $3.00 from the trash bag. Plaintiff's girlfriend and informant Mark Davis were polygraphed the next day. Davis was found to be truthful, but Brown showed signs of deception.

         On October 5, 1');">1984, Plaintiff appeared for a commitment hearing. Lieutenant Derrick testified about the evidence the W.R.P.D. had collected against Plaintiff, including Davis identifying him as a possible suspect, Plaintiff's stepfather leading officers to a gun reported to belong to Plaintiff, Plaintiff's palm print on the beer carton found behind the store, and an initial report from the G.B.I. that the bullet fired from the gun was the bullet that killed Taressa Stanley. Based on this evidence, the magistrate court found sufficient probable cause existed to present the case to the grand jury.

         At some time in October, Plaintiff contends Defendant Deputy General Granville, a detention officer at the Jail, forced Plaintiff out of his cell and took him to a bridge where other unknown law enforcement officers and Defendant Derrick were waiting. While Derrick and Granville watched, several of the unknown officers grabbed Plaintiff and dangled him over the bridge, yelling at Plaintiff to sign a confession or else they would drop him over the bridge. Plaintiff, terrified, thought he was having a heart attack and asked to be taken to the hospital. The officers took him to the hospital. Plaintiff did not make any confession.

         Also in October, Defendant Deborah Miller, a W.R.P.D. officer, sought the indictment of Plaintiff for an unrelated robbery at a convenient store on July 26, 1');">1984. Miller does not remember interviewing Plaintiff about this robbery.

         On November 1');">13, 1');">1984, the grand jury indicted Plaintiff on charges of armed robbery of the Kwickie Store and murder of Taressa Stanley.

         On December 1');">11');">1, 1');">1984, Plaintiff pled guilty to the September 1');">1984 armed robbery and murder in exchange for the D.A. to not seek the death penalty. At the same time, he pled guilty to the July 26, 1');">1984 armed robbery of a convenient store. Plaintiff states he pled guilty because he feared for his life and the fate of his family members who had been arrested. After he pled guilty, the charges against his family were dropped. Plaintiff was sentenced to serve three consecutive life sentences.

         2006 Prosecution

         On February 1');">13, 2006, the Georgia Supreme Court determined that during the plea hearing, Plaintiff had not been advised of his right to confront witnesses or his right to avoid self-incrimination and vacated Plaintiff's guilty plea and sentence.[1');">16" name="FN1');">16" id= "FN1');">16">1');">16]

         Thus, On March 22, 2006, Plaintiff was transferred from the Georgia State Prison to the Houston County Jail to await re-trial. At booking, Plaintiff was classified as medium maximum security and placed in H-Pod in general population. During the booking process, Captain Johnson, who is now deceased, also placed a restriction on Plaintiff's movement within the facility that he had to be escorted by both a supervisory and a jailer when he moved from his Pod. This restriction was normally placed on a detainee arriving from the Georgia State Department of Corrections with a serious charge or a detainee who is known to be violent or prone to escape.[1');">17" name="FN1');">17" id="FN1');">17">1');">17] Plaintiff states he was the only detainee subjected to this restriction on movement. Being housed in H-Pod, Plaintiff occupied a single-person cell.

         The District Attorney, Kelly Burke, intended to re-indict and re-try Plaintiff for the murder of Taressa Stanley. He asked the W.R.P.D. for all of the evidence related to the original investigation in 1');">1984. Defendant Detective Mules was tasked with locating the evidence, reviewing it, and finding witnesses. In his search through the evidence, Mules discovered that much of the evidence had been destroyed. In addition, the gun and the projectile were missing. He also discovered certain evidence without evidence tags, so he created new ones. This included the envelope containing the latent palm print on the beer carton and negatives of the crime scene, which he sent to a photo shop to be developed. Mules contacted the informant Mark Davis by telephone, but Davis refused to cooperate and would not confirm the statement he gave in 1');">1984. Plaintiff's girlfriend in 1');">1984, Shirley Brown, was suffering from a mental disorder.

         On June 6, 2006, Mules testified about the evidence before a grand jury. Based on his testimony, the grand jury indicted Plaintiff for murder, and the D.A. indicated he would seek the death penalty. Plaintiff remained in the Jail for over seven and a half years, until he was re-tried in December of 201');">13, found not guilty, and released.[1');">18" name="FN1');">18" id="FN1');">18">1');">18]

         Plaintiff's Confinement in Administrative Segregation

         For the first three years of his confinement in the Jail awaiting re-trial, Plaintiff remained in H-Pod as a medium maximum detainee in general population. However, on May 1');">15, 2009, the Pod assignments at the Jail were changed because particular pods, including H-Pod where Plaintiff was housed, were reaching capacity. As part of the restructuring, H-Pod was re-assigned as administrative segregation. Administrative segregation is designed for those detainees who cannot get along with other detainees or are required to be housed by themselves.

         Defendant Margaret Hays, who worked at the Jail during this time and became head of the inmate Classification Committee in 201');">10, testified that during the pod restructure, detention officers asked the detainees housed in H-Pod, including Plaintiff, if they would like to go to general population. The detainees would either agree to go to general population, or say they feared for their lives or did not want to be housed in a cell with other inmates to avoid going to general population. Hays testified that Plaintiff told her he did not want to be housed with other detainees because “he'd been in prison, he knew what those children were like, he didn't want to have to deal with the noise and with their foolishness and he wanted a room by himself.”[1');">19" name="FN1');">19" id= "FN1');">19">1');">19] Thus, Plaintiff was allowed to stay in H-Pod.

         Plaintiff, however, disputes this version of the facts. Plaintiff denies ever being asked to go to general population. Moreover, Plaintiff denies he ever told Defendant Hays or anyone else he wanted to remain in H-Pod in administrative segregation. Instead, Plaintiff claims he was classified, placed, and permanently confined in H-Pod in administrative segregation with no notice or opportunity for a hearing, and for no purpose other than punishment for his charged crimes.

         The Jail's classification records do not reflect that Plaintiff voluntarily asked to stay in H-Pod. The records simply list his murder, armed robbery, and aggravated battery charges as the reasons for his placement in administrative segregation.[20]Plaintiff was provided no written notice or statement explaining why he was subjected to administrative segregation, nor was he provided with any opportunity to call witnesses or present evidence on his behalf. However, Plaintiff never complained or protested about remaining in administrative segregation at any time during his seven and half years incarcerated at the Jail.

         Inmate classification reviews at the Jail happened periodically. After H-Pod was designated administrative segregation on May 1');">15, 2009, it appears Plaintiff's classification to H-Pod was reviewed only three times-on March 1');">12, 201');">10, June 1');">16, 201');">10, and January 1');">11');">1, 201');">11');">1.[1');">1" name= "FN21');">1" id="FN21');">1">21');">1] Although Defendant Hays did not initially place Plaintiff in administrative segregation, she was the Chairperson of the Classification Committee and therefore determiner of Plaintiff's classification during the three reviews. During the January 1');">11');">1, 201');">11');">1 review, Defendant Hays deemed Plaintiff's classification in administrative segregation permanent. Defendant Hays listed no reason for the “permanent” designation.[22] Plaintiff's classification was not reviewed for the next three years he remained incarcerated in H-Pod, until a jury acquitted him on December 5, 201');">13, and he was released from prison. In total, Plaintiff remained in segregation for four a half years-from May 2009, until December 201');">13. Plaintiff had no disciplinary charges or issues while housed at the Jail, and he never filed any complaint regarding his confinement in administrative segregation.

         As a detainee in administrative segregation, Plaintiff's cell contained a bed and bedding, a toilet, a desk, and a stool. Plaintiff received writing materials, books, and all of his legal materials. There was a television in the communal area of the pod, although Plaintiff could not see the television from his cell. Plaintiff was allowed visitation and was allowed to serve as a trustee within his pod, helping the detention officer on duty with tasks within the pod. He was also part of the pod workforce, so he served food in the mornings and occasionally served food at lunch and dinner.

         While locked in his cell, Plaintiff could only communicate with other inmates through the vent in the air conditioning system. Plaintiff could only exit his cell to shower and occasionally attend 30-minute yard calls. While on yard calls, Plaintiff was permitted to be outside in the jail yard, but he could not interact with other inmates.

         On December 5, 201');">13, a jury acquitted Plaintiff of all charges, and he was released from jail. On November 9, 201');">15, Plaintiff filed this action asserting claims arising out of his 1');">1984 arrest and prosecution, his 2006 prosecution, and his lengthy incarceration in administrative segregation while awaiting re-trial at the Jail. As discussed in detail below, Defendants are entitled to summary judgment on all of Plaintiff's claims with one exception-Plaintiff's substantive due process claim against Defendant Margaret Hays. Because a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether Plaintiff was permanently placed in administrative segregation as punishment, Defendant Hays is entitled to neither qualified immunity nor summary judgment.


         The Court first addresses several claims Plaintiff brought in his Complaint that he abandoned on summary judgment and several claims that are barred by the applicable statute of limitations. The Court then addresses Plaintiff's remaining claims on the merits.

         I. Abandoned Claims

         “When a non-moving party fails to address particular claims in the moving party's motion for summary judgment but responds to other arguments, the non- moving party abandons these claims.”[23] Plaintiff alleged claims in his Complaint, failed to respond to Defendants' arguments regarding those claims on summary judgment, and therefore abandoned the following claims: (1');">1) all claims against Defendant Stephen Lynn; (2) his official capacity claims against Defendants Dennard, West, Derrick, Miller, and Mules[24]; (3) any failure to intervene claim against Defendant Derrick; (4) all claims against Defendant Granville except a substantive due process claim regarding the attempted coercive confession; and (4) all claims for false arrest under Georgia law.

         II. Claims Barred by Statute of Limitations

         Plaintiff asserts several claims that are barred by the applicable statute of limitations. “Federal courts apply their forum state's statute of limitations for personal injury actions to actions brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1');">1983.”[25] The statute of limitations for a Section 1');">1983 claim in Georgia is two years.[26] Federal law, however, determines when the statute of limitations begins to run.[27] Generally, “the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the facts which would support a cause of action are apparent or should be apparent to a person with a reasonably prudent regard for his rights.”[28] “[T]he statute of limitations begins to run from the moment the plaintiff becomes aware that he has suffered an injury or has sufficient information to know that he has been injured.”[29]

         An exception to the federal standard for accrual of a claim is the continuing violation doctrine, which the Eleventh Circuit has applied to Section 1');">1983 cases.[30]“Under the continuing violation doctrine, the statute of limitations is tolled for a claim that otherwise would be time-barred where the violation giving rise to the claim continues to occur within the limitations period.”[1');">1" name="FN31');">1" id="FN31');">1">31');">1] In other words, the doctrine “permits a plaintiff to sue on an otherwise time-barred claim when additional violations of the law occur within the statutory period.”[32] “When the violation alleged involves a continuing injury, the cause of action accrues, and the limitation period begins to run, at the time the unlawful conduct ceases.”[33] “The critical distinction in the continuing violation analysis. . . is whether the plaintiff [ ] complain[s] of the present consequence of a one-time violation, which does not extend the limitations period, or the continuation of that violation into the present, which does.”[34] “Where a continuing violation is found, the plaintiff[ ] can recover for any violations for which the statute of limitations has not expired.”[35]

         Applying these standards, the following claims are barred by the statute of limitations.

         A. Any Claim for Unlawful Arrest

         It appears Plaintiff is only pursuing claims for malicious prosecution under Section 1');">1983, and not a specific claim for unlawful arrest. Regardless, any Section 1');">1983 claim for unlawful arrest is barred by the statute of limitations. “False arrest claims brought pursuant to § 1');">1983, where arrest is followed by criminal proceedings, accrue when the claimant is detained pursuant to a legal process.”[36] Here, Plaintiff was arrested in 1');">1984 and then re-arrested in 2006. He did not file this lawsuit until 201');">15, well outside the two-year statute of limitations for both arrests. Thus, any claim for unlawful arrest under Section 1');">1983 is time-barred.

         B. Officer Deborah Miller - Malicious Prosecution for July 26, 1');">1984 Armed Robbery

         Plaintiff's federal and state malicious prosecution claims against Defendant Deborah Miller are also time-barred. Deborah Miller is the officer who investigated the July 26, 1');">1984 armed robbery for which Plaintiff was indicted and pled guilty at the same time he pled guilty to the September 1');">14, 1');">1984 armed robbery and murder of Taressa Stanley. Plaintiff contends Officer Miller maliciously prosecuted Plaintiff for the July 26, 1');">1984 robbery knowing no evidence linked Plaintiff to that crime; instead, she used it simply as a means to pressure Plaintiff to plead guilty for the September armed robbery and murder.

         Plaintiff's plea to the July 26, 1');">1984 robbery charge was overturned on February 1');">13, 2006, and Plaintiff was not re-indicted on that charge. Thus, Plaintiff had two years from February 1');">13, 2006, to file a malicious prosecution suit against Defendant Miller.[37] Plaintiff did not file suit until 201');">15, well outside Georgia's two-year statute of limitations. Thus, this claim is time-barred.

         C. Substantive Due Process Claim Related to Defendant Granville's Attempted Coercive Confession

         For the first time in any of Plaintiff's trials, appeals, hearings, motions, and habeas proceedings, [38] Plaintiff asserts that Defendant Granville, a detention officer at the Jail in 1');">1984, continually pressured Plaintiff to confess to Taressa Stanley's murder, and in October 1');">1984, Granville forced Plaintiff out of his cell and took him to a bridge where other unknown law enforcement officers and Detective Derrick were waiting. While Derrick and Granville watched, several officers grabbed Plaintiff and dangled him over a bridge, yelling at him to confess or he would be dropped. Plaintiff contends Defendant Granville violated his substantive due process rights by attempting to coerce him to confess.

         Plaintiff's claim, however, is barred by the statute of limitations. The alleged attempted coercion occurred in October 1');">1984. Plaintiff filed his claim in 201');">15, over 30 years after the conduct occurred. The continuing violation doctrine does not save Plaintiff's claim. Even assuming, for purposes of summary judgment, the coercion played a role in Plaintiff's decision to plead guilty, his conviction as a result of that plea was overturned in 2006. Thus, he would have had until 2008 to file suit.

         Plaintiff's remaining claims are not barred by the statute of limitations and thus are addressed on the merits below.

         III. Section 1');">1983 Claims

         Section 1');">1983 provides a private cause of action against those who, under color of law, deprive a citizen of the United States of “any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws.”[39] A plaintiff may bring a § 1');">1983 claim against a governmental entity or person in his individual or official capacity.[40] Here, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants, through their various acts performed under color of law, maliciously prosecuted him in 1');">1984 and 2006, and deprived him of substantive and procedural due process in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Accordingly, Plaintiff must prove that (1');">1) Defendants acted “under color” of law as defined by § 1');">1983 and cases interpreting that language, and (2) Defendants' actions deprived them of a constitutional right. There is no dispute Defendants were acting under color of law. Thus, the issue before the Court is whether, through Defendants' conduct, Plaintiff suffered a deprivation of a clearly established constitutional right.

         Plaintiff brings individual liability claims for malicious prosecution against Defendant W.R.P.D. officers Dennard, West, Derrick, and Mules; individual liability claims against Defendants Margaret Hays and Sheriff Talton for violation of Plaintiff's substantive and procedural due process rights while confined in administrative segregation; and a municipal liability claim against the City of Warner Robins for failure to implement adequate policies and failure to train officers on using confidential informants. As set forth in detail below, all Defendants are entitled to summary judgment on all of Plaintiff's claims except Plaintiff's substantive due process claim against Defendant Margaret Hays. The Court will begin its discussion with Plaintiff's individual capacity claims.

         A. Individual Capacity Claims and Qualfied Immunity

         In response to Plaintiff's individual liability claims, Defendants all argue that they enjoy qualified immunity and are therefore shielded from suit and liability. “Qualified immunity offers complete protection for government officials sued in their individual capacities if their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.”[1');">1" name="FN41');">1" id= "FN41');">1">41');">1] Indeed, qualified immunity offers complete protection for “all but the plainly incompetent or one who is knowingly violating the federal law.”[42] In order to receive qualified immunity, the officer “must first prove that ‘he was acting within the scope of his discretionary authority when the allegedly wrongful acts occurred.'”[43] Once a defendant proves that he was performing a discretionary function, the burden shifts to the plaintiff to show that the grant of qualified immunity is unmerited.[44]

         Here Plaintiff does not dispute that Defendants were acting with discretionary authority. Thus, Plaintiff must establish he suffered a violation of his constitutional rights and, if so, that the illegality of Defendants' actions was “clearly established” at the time of the alleged violation.[45] The question need not be answered in a particular order.[46]

         1');">1. Malicious Prosecution Claims Regarding 1');">1984 ...

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