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Webb v. Thompson

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

March 22, 2016

DAVID WEBB, Plaintiff - Appellee,
v.
TERRY L. THOMPSON, Sheriff for Weber County; ROBERT WEST, Sgt. at Weber County Correctional Facility; ALTON JOHNSON, Sgt. at Weber County Correctional Facility; ANDREW FLATT, Correctional Officer at Weber County Correctional Facility, Defendants-Appellants, and TIMOTHY SCOTT, Police Officer at Ogden City Police Department; FNU MURRAY, Police Officer at Ogden City Police Department; JON GREINER, Chief of Police at Ogden City Police Department; KEVIN MCCLEOD, Undersheriff at Weber County Sheriff's Office; KEVIN BURTON, Captain and Corrections Division Chief Deputy at Weber County Correctional Facility; FNU GATES, Correctional Officer at Weber County Correctional Facility, Defendants.

(D.C. No. 1:11-CV-00128-DB-DBP) (D. Utah)

Before LUCERO, GORSUCH, and McHUGH, Circuit Judges.

ORDER AND JUDGMENT [*]

Carlos F. Lucero Circuit Judge

Terry Thompson, Robert West, Alton Johnson, and Andrew Flatt (collectively, "Weber Defendants") appeal the district court's denial of qualified immunity. Exercising jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, we affirm.

I

In an interlocutory appeal from denial of qualified immunity, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and resolve all factual disputes and reasonable inferences in his favor. Estate of Booker v. Gomez, 745 F.3d 405, 411 (10th Cir. 2014). Viewed in this light, the facts are as follows.

Thompson is the Weber County Sheriff. In that role, he is the sole and final policymaker regarding the management and administration of the Weber County Correctional Facility ("WCCF"). West, Johnson, and Flatt are correctional officers at WCCF. WCCF policy prohibits strip searches for non-violent misdemeanor offenses, absent an individualized determination of reasonable suspicion that the arrestee possesses a weapon, criminal evidence, or other contraband.

On July 20, 2011, an Ogden City police officer arrested David Webb without a warrant following a traffic stop for allegedly driving with a defective license plate light. The arresting officer transported Webb to the WCCF. Although the Weber Defendants do not argue that reasonable suspicion existed that Webb possessed a weapon, criminal evidence, or other contraband, Webb was strip searched while being booked into the WCCF. West facilitated the strip search. Johnson's and Flatt's roles in the strip search are unclear. All three officers were present during at least a portion of Webb's ensuing detention.

Additionally, upon delivering Webb to the WCCF, the arresting officer completed a Weber County form titled "Probable Cause Affidavit" with information pertaining to Webb's arrest (the "Affidavit"). That form states:

The arrestee . . . will be released automatically 48 hours from the time of booking unless a magistrate signs the order and such order is returned to the jail before that time. If the judge has refused to sign the order, the arrestee will be released within a reasonable period of time not to exceed 48 hours.

The Affidavit was placed in a filing receptacle in the WCCF's booking area to await a judge's approval or denial, consistent with the WCCF's process in place at that time. Thompson attested that his deputies were responsible for placing affidavits in the appropriate place, but they were not otherwise responsible for ensuring that an arrestee received a prompt probable cause determination. According to Thompson, a judge would visit the WCCF at least every other day to review the affidavits in the filing receptacle. But the WCCF's process did not include any mechanism to ensure that a prisoner was released if a judge failed to review the form. Thompson contends that before Webb's arrest, the review process had successfully ensured that all prisoners received judicial probable cause determinations within 48 hours of incarceration.

No judge signed off on the Affidavit. Webb remained in the WCCF for five days without receiving a judicial probable cause determination. On July 26, 2011, Webb received a hearing, during which the prosecutor struck all charges. Webb was then released from the WCCF.

Webb filed this pro se action raising claims under 42 U.S.C. ยงยง 1983, 1985, and 1986, and state law. Weber Defendants moved for summary judgment based on qualified immunity. The district court denied qualified immunity to West, Johnson, and Flatt on the illegal strip search claim and denied qualified immunity to all Weber Defendants on the prolonged detention claim. ...


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