United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO
E. SELF, III, JUDGE
Waystack, Bradley, and Bushway filed Motions to Dismiss
[Docs. 13, 18] Plaintiff's claims against them. For the
following reasons, the Court GRANTS both
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint [Doc. 4]
Amended Complaint [Doc. 4] sets forth the following facts, which
the Court assumes to be true for the purposes of ruling on
Defendants' Motions to Dismiss [Docs. 13, 18]. See
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007).
Richie Green brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
Defendants Keagan Waystack and Gregory Bushway, former
Assistant District Attorneys for the Ocmulgee Judicial
Circuit, in their official capacity; Defendant Debra Gomez,
Plaintiff's former counsel; and Defendant Stephen
Bradley, current District Attorney for the Ocmulgee Judicial
Circuit, in his official capacity. [Doc. 4, at 2-3].
Plaintiff alleges that all Defendants acted under color of
state law and deprived him of his Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and
Fourteenth Amendment rights by coercing him to accept an
illegal plea agreement. [Doc. 4, at 3, 4, 5].
April 20, 2011, Plaintiff, while awaiting trial in the
Superior Court of Jones County on charges of child
molestation, began negotiating a potential plea agreement
with Defendant Waystack. [Id., at 5]. Plaintiff avers
that his counsel, Defendant Gomez, made several disconcerting
remarks during the negotiation process and encouraged
Plaintiff to accept the proposed plea deal. [Id.].
For example, Defendant Gomez stated that Waystack was
“going thru [sic] a divorce so she is very serious,
” and informed Plaintiff that “the district
attorney said ‘if she has to work on Easter weekend to
prepare for [Plaintiff's] trial she is going to recommend
a sixty years [sic] sentence.' “ [Id.].
Defendant Gomez also explained to Plaintiff, who had
previously suffered a major stroke, that he would not receive
adequate healthcare if incarcerated and thus “would not
survive in prison.” [Id.]. On April 25, 2011,
Plaintiff ultimately accepted a plea deal and pled guilty to
three counts of child molestation in exchange for 15
years' probation under the First Offender program.
See O.C.G.A. § 42-8-60; [Doc. 4, at 5].
March 6, 2013, the Georgia Court of Appeals held that an
individual convicted of a sex offense cannot be sentenced as
a first offender under O.C.G.A. § 42-8-60. Tew v.
State, 739 S.E.2d 423, 426-27 (Ga.Ct.App. 2013).
Tew thus invalidated Plaintiff's sentence,
rendering it illegal. State v. Hamilton, 517 S.E.2d.
583, 584 (Ga.Ct.App. 1999) (holding that the sentence of an
individual who was improperly granted probation under
O.C.G.A. § 42-8-60 was “illegal and therefore
completely void”). Plaintiff learned of this ruling in
November 2015, at which time he sought legal representation
to no avail. [Doc. 4, at 5]. Plaintiff eventually retained
attorney Michael Katz, who submitted an Extraordinary Motion
to Withdraw Plea/Motion to Vacate Conviction/Correct
Sentence. [Doc. 1-5, at 11-13]. The Jones County Superior
Court granted the motion on December 19, 2017, allowing
Plaintiff to withdraw his plea and effectively vacating his
sentence. [Doc. 1-5, at 1-3]. At that time, the Assistant
District Attorney declined to reinstate charges after the
alleged victim submitted an affidavit stating that she would
not assist in further criminal prosecution. [Doc. 1-5, at
the withdrawal of his plea, Plaintiff brought this action,
asserting that he accepted the invalid plea deal under
duress. Plaintiff alleges that “Keagan
Goodrichuse [sic] the threat of sixty years [sic]
imprisonment” to force him to assent to the plea
agreement's “illusory promise.” [Doc. 4, at
4]. Plaintiff contends that Defendant Bradley, as District
Attorney, is equally culpable with regards to the coerced
plea. [Id.]. Finally, Plaintiff argues that
Defendant Gomez, who advised Plaintiff to accept the plea
agreement, was “complaisant [sic] in the fraud and
coercion.” [Id.]. As a result of the plea
agreement, Plaintiff contends he suffered the stigma of being
labeled a sex offender and felon, as well as various
financial losses, and seeks removal of his name from the sex
offender registry and money damages. [Doc. 4, at 6].
Defendants' Motions to Dismiss [Docs. 13,
Defendant Waystack [Doc. 13]
Waystack filed the instant Motion to Dismiss [Doc. 13] on
March 28, 2018. Defendant Waystack argues that the doctrine
of prosecutorial immunity and the Eleventh Amendment bar
Plaintiff's claims against her in her official capacity.
[Doc. 14, at 5-9]. Defendant Waystack also asserts that,
under § 1983, she is not a “person” against
whom Plaintiff may bring a claim, and that, even if the Court
construes Plaintiff's action as an individual capacity
suit, she is still protected by the doctrine of qualified
immunity. [Id., at 9-11].
Defendants Bradley and Bushway [Doc. 18]
thereafter, Defendants Bradley and Bushway filed a similar
Motion to Dismiss [Doc. 18],  raising, inter alia,
Eleventh Amendment immunity. Specific to their respective
Motion to Dismiss [Doc. 18], Defendants Bradley and Bushway
also contend that Plaintiff fails to state a claim for
Defendant Bradley's supervisory liability and fails to
make any factual allegations against Defendant Bushway. [Doc.
18-1, at 6-7].
Plaintiff's Response to Defendant Waystack and
Defendants Bradley and Bushway's Motions to Dismiss [Doc
subsequently filed a Response to Defendants' Motions to
Dismiss [Doc. 24]. Therein, Plaintiff restated many of his
allegations from the Amended Complaint [Doc. 4].
[Id., at 1-2]. Plaintiff also argued that Defendants
Waystack, Bradley, and Bushway are not entitled to
prosecutorial immunity because they fulfilled administrative,
investigative, and legislative functions while negotiating
the plea deal. [Id., at 3]. Finally, Plaintiff
presented new claims that Defendants violated Title II of the
Americans with Disabilities Act and are therefore not
protected from suit in federal court by the Eleventh
Amendment. [Id., at 1, 4].
Defendants' Replies to Plaintiff's Response
[Docs. 26, 29]
Waystack filed a Reply to Plaintiff's Response to
Defendants' Motions to Dismiss [Doc. 29], arguing that
Plaintiff may not further amend his complaint by bringing new
allegations in a responsive brief. [Doc. 29, at 1-2].
Defendant Waystack also refuted Plaintiff's argument that
she performed administrative, investigative, and legislative
activities with regards to the plea agreement. [Id.,
Defendants Bradley and Bushway
Bradley and Bushway submitted their own Reply to
Plaintiff's Response to Defendants' Motions to
Dismiss [Doc. 26], asserting, like Defendant Waystack, that
Plaintiff may not further amend his Amended Complaint [Doc.
4] via subsequent brief, and that Defendants did not act
outside the scope of their prosecutorial roles. [Doc. 26, at
1, 2]. Also in their Reply [Doc. 26], Defendants Bradley and
Bushway maintain that Plaintiff failed to rebut their
arguments regarding the ...