[The Sandra Day O’Conner Courthouse in Phoenix, AZ]
Update: Oral argument took place as scheduled. Links to the archived video are available here and here. Additionally, the video has been embedded below– 07 February 2023:
Oral argument in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for my ongoing civil rights lawsuit is scheduled for February 7, 2023 at the Sandra Day O’Conner Courthouse in Phoenix, AZ. The court session starts at 0900 but several other cases are being heard the same day so it’s unclear exactly what time the hearing in my case will begin. Most likely it will be sometime around 1000 or so. For those who would like to watch the hearing live, it will be available here.
Each side has been allocated approximately 10 minutes to respond to questions from the court and otherwise make their case. The briefs & documentation that make up the record before the court can be found here. It consists of our opening brief along with approximately 900 pages of supporting documentation, the federal defendant’s answering brief, the county defendant’s answering brief and our reply to the defendant’s answering briefs.
A previous update regarding this case that discusses it’s genesis in greater detail is available here & here. Links to additional posts related to the lawsuit appear below:
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.
On May 25th, 2018, Patrick Eddington with Just Security posted an article regarding Checkpoint USA’s recently filed civil rights lawsuit & federal tort claim. For those who aren’t already familiar with the legal action, the lawsuit was filed against the Pima County Sheriff’s Department & various Customs & Border Protection agents in their individual capacities while the tort claim was filed against Customs & Border Protection. Just Security is an online forum for the rigorous analysis of U.S. national security law and policy and is maintained by the New York University School of Law.
The article summarizes some of the sixteen year history leading up to the present lawsuit, discusses how the Operation Stonegarden federal grant program is playing a role in the legal action and links the underlying issues with similar legal action taking place in areas like Arivaca, AZ.
As such, I recommend the article for the broader context it provides regarding these issues. It can be found online at:
The lawsuit is the result of ongoing harassment I’ve been the subject of for years by Pima County Sheriff Deputies and U.S. Border Patrol agents at the SR-86 CBP roadblock located near milepost 146.5:
The last straw leading up to the lawsuit was an incident that took place at the roadblock on April 10, 2017 involving, amongst others, Pima County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Roher and U.S Border Patrol Agent T. Frye.
By the time everything was said and done, Deputy Roher had arrested me on a state charge of highway obstruction. This despite the fact that I was being detained against my will in front of two stops signs in the lane of traffic at a federal roadblock by an armed federal agent who had refused to let me leave while investigating me possible violations of federal law he had no reasonable basis to believe I had violated. I fought the charge in court for eleven months before it was finally dropped by the prosecutor based in part on testimony given by Deputy Roher in a deposition from earlier this year.
While defending against the charge, I filed a Notice of Claim with Pima County in October of 2017. After the charge was finally dropped, I filed a Federal Tort Claim with Customs & Border Protection in March followed by the legal complaint in April of this year.
Updated information regarding this incident and the ongoing lawsuit will be made available on this blog and the following page(s):
While I have much to say about Rick Rynearson’s treatment at the hands of jack-booted Border Patrol thugs at internal suspicionless roadblocks and black-robed judicial thugs in the judicial system, I’ll let Rick speak for himself….
“It is an issue that affects millions of American motorists: Can border patrol agents detain you simply because they believe you are being difficult? Last year, a federal court concluded that it was “reasonable” for border patrol agents performing citizenship checks to detain Richard Rynearson at an immigration checkpoint for 23 minutes after he offered the agents both his military and personal passports, without any suspicion of criminal activity. In rejecting Rynearson’s Fourth Amendment claims, the court brushed aside compelling evidence—captured on video—that the agents deliberately prolonged Rynearson’s detention because he dared to question the propriety of some of their questions and instructions.”
I recently received an email from Joe Williams regarding his ongoing legal battles over suspicionless roadblocks in Atlanta, Georgia. Joe sends word that he will be in court on Wednesday February 10, 2016 over bogus charges filed against him by Atlanta checkpoint cops who prefer policing for profit.over protecting and serving.
For past posts regarding Joe’s principled stands at suspicionless checkpoints, follow this link.
For current information regarding the state of policing for profit in Atlanta Georgia along with Joe’s status, read his recent update below and consider supporting him in court along with his efforts in general however you can:
On March 18, 2010 Major Richard Rynearson, an active duty air force pilot, was illegally detained for over 34 minutes at an internal immigration checkpoint near Uvalde, Texas despite answering all immigration related questions and showing multiple forms of identification to Border Patrol agents. Agents who were far more interested in harassing Mr. Rynearson than verifying his immigration status. Instead of disciplining his subordinates for violating Border Patrol legal guidance, violating the law and violating Mr. Rynearson’s rights, Chief Patrol Agent Robert Harris (depicted below) doubled down by writing a letter to Rynearson’s command complaining about Rynearson actually exercising some of those rights Harris is responsible for protecting.
As regular readers of this blog know, on April 30, 2014 I was illegally detained in the lane of traffic at a suspicionless DHS roadblock by Border Patrol Agent J. Tackett near mile marker 146.5 along SR86 in Southern Arizona. Agent J. Tackett threw a spike strip down in front of my vehicle within about 30 seconds of the stop for daring to ask him a few questions. Tackett’s unlawful detention was furthered by his supervisor G. Serrano who continued the detention while dispatching another agent to call over Pima County Sheriff Deputy Avila under the false pretense that I was blocking traffic while failing to inform him that Agent Tackett’s spike strip & detention were the actual cause of the blockage.
As previously indicated, the state charge against me for honking my horn at a federal Border Patrol checkpoint setup along a state highway inside the country while being illegally detained in the lane of traffic by federal agents has been dismissed in Pima County Justice Court after an hour-long hearing on July 11, 2014.
As part of my testimony during the hearing, I read from a fourteen page written statement along with ten supporting exhibits. That statement and the exhibits have been re-created below. Additionally, I’ve requested a copy of the audio record of the hearing from the court and will post it once it becomes available. I’m also planning on uploading video footage of the encounter in the near future.
Below appears the text of the written statement I read in court along with applicable links. For those who follow the checkpoint issue closely, you’ll probably find several of the exhibits I presented in court interesting. These would include recent ACLU complaints and a FOIA lawsuit regarding internal Border Patrol checkpoints, information regarding Operation Stonegarden where local cops collect overtime pay for assisting Border Patrol agents in the field and a recent Border Patrol law bulletin informing agents they can’t legally detain people for not answering questions or because they don’t like their attitude.