Stonegarden Checkpoint Lawsuit Update – 18 July 2018

[Left to right: CBP Agent T. Frye, PCSD deputy Ryan Roher. Federal and local law enforcement working together at a federal Stonegarden roadblock along SR-86 in Southern Arizona]

On July 2, 2018, the first amended complaint in CPUSA’s ongoing civil rights lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. The biggest changes between the initial complaint and the first amended complaint include a refinement of the factual allegations, a refinement of the law violation counts and the dropping of the Bivens Claim against the individual federal agents. While I was reluctant to do this, it was deemed necessary due to recent court rulings limiting the scope of the Bivens Claim and making a successful Bivens claim in this case unlikely. A federal tort claim is still in the works however and we anticipate rolling such a claim into this complaint at a later date.

In addition to the amended filing, all (current) defendants in the lawsuit were served by a licensed process server in the first two weeks of July.  This included current Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier, former Sheriff’s Christopher Nanos & Clarence Dupnik, Deputy Ryan Roher, Deputy Brian Kunze and the Pima County Board of Supervisors.

For those interested, a link to the summons and affidavit of service for the Pima County Board of Supervisors has been provided below. Nearly identical documents were served on the remaining defendants:

Amended Summons – Pima County Board of Supervisors
Amended Affidavit of Service – Pima County Board of Supervisors

Now we wait for a response to the complaint from the defendants. Additional updates will be posted as new information becomes available. For background information on this lawsuit, see:

Between a Stonegarden & a Hard Place

One final note regarding the Bivens Claim. Given the current state of the law, it’s nearly impossible to hold federal agents accountable for their actions in the federal court system. As such, federal agents have no incentive to modify their abusive behaviour when forcing themselves on the public. Congress, in the mean time, has repeatedly failed to remedy this situation by providing a legal mechanism for accountability.

Given this state of affairs, as the scope of federal interference in our day to day lives continues to increase, so will the questions of legitimacy regarding a federal system that routinely fails to live up to its fundamental responsibilities to society. This lack of accountability at the federal level is ripe for activism and judicial reform but is outside the scope of this legal action. Until some remedy to this injustice is found, we will have to settle on continuing to use existing legal mechanisms to hold local enforcement officers accountable for their actions when they collude with their federal counterparts to deprive individuals of the very rights they are supposed to protect.

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