In my last post, I detailed the USA’s Motion for Summary Judgment in my ongoing civil rights lawsuit against the USA and several tribal police defendants. In this post, I highlight my legal team’s response to the USA’s motion.
To make a long story short, our opposition to the USA’s Motion for Summary Judgment can be summarized as follows:
- Contrary to the U.S. Attorney’s assertion, Arizona law as opposed to federal law should apply regarding the determination of probable cause in this case. The defendant’s operated under color of state law when they arrested and cited me so state law should govern regarding whether or not probable cause existed to make the arrest.By law, if probable cause existed then there was no malicious prosecution. We allege there was no probable cause according to state law so the subsequent actions of the defendants were malicious in nature
- By their very nature, roadblock or checkpoint stops inherently lack probable cause. As such, the U.S. Attorney was wrong to cite case law that relied upon the existence of probable cause PRIOR TO a traffic stop in order to evaluate the existence of probable cause during a suspicionless checkpoint stop. One might as well compare apples and oranges…
- By their own testimony and previous court rulings, the tribal officers were not Arizona Peace Officers during the time frame they stopped, questioned and detained me. As such, they lacked probable cause under state law to arrest and cite me for alleged violations of Arizona traffic laws
- The defendant’s either knew or should have known I was not guilty of failing to have a valid drivers license since the defendants took my license from me at the scene in order to run a general wants and warrants check. The check came back clear but Detective Traviolia maliciously charged me anyway.To make matters worse, Traviolia refiled the charge six months later in retaliation to a Notice of Claim I served on him. The ‘detective’ had six months to review the statute in question to determine whether it applied in my case but, either from spite or failure in due diligence, ignored the clear wording of the law. Perhaps he assumed his tribal affiliation would make him immune to any legal repercussions for his misconduct. Only time will tell…
- Finally, the defendants initiated criminal proceedings against me and then obstructed my defense by refusing to obey a judicial subpoena for the production of documentation and records in my defense. It was this willful act on the part of the tribal officers that resulted in the judge dismissing all charges against me with prejudice which in turn made this lawsuit possible.
If Judge Roll decides in favor of the defendants regarding the Motion for Summary Judgment, our only legal option will be to take it up on appeal at a later date. Conversely, if the judge rules in our favor, a trial regarding this aspect of the lawsuit will go forward sometime later this year.
It should be noted that this issue is separate and distinct from other aspects of the lawsuit. Whether or not my right to privacy and civil rights were violated by the defendants will be decided separately from whether or not the defendants maliciously prosecuted me in accordance with the federal torts claim act.