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Mason v. Clear Creek County Sheriff

United States District Court, D. Colorado

March 4, 2016



Gordon P. Gallagher United States Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff, Jah Frederick Nathaniel Mason, III, resides in Denver, Colorado. Mr. Mason initiated this action by filing a Complaint (ECF No. 1) on the court-approved form, asserting a deprivation of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 28 U.S.C. § 1343. Mr. Mason has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915.

The Court must construe the Complaint liberally because Mr. Mason is not represented by an attorney. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991). However, the Court should not act as an advocate for pro se litigants. See Hall, 935 F.2d at 1110. The Court has reviewed the Prisoner Complaint and has determined that it is deficient. For the reasons discussed below, Plaintiff will be ordered to file an Amended Complaint if he wishes to proceed in this action.

I. The Complaint

Mr. Mason alleges in the Complaint that in October 2008, he received a full favorable disability determination by a United States Magistrate Judge. He states: “The basis of my claim was religious (canonical) in nature. In short, I discovered a positive correlation between the Bible’s description of four Satanic beast, and the images that appear on the seals used by government agencies.” (ECF No. 1 at 3).

Plaintiff alleges that in September or October 2012, he was stopped while driving in Clear Creek County and was ticketed for driving without a license and speeding (Case No. 2012 T976). Due to personal circumstances, Plaintiff missed the court date in Clear Creek County and a bench warrant issued.

Plaintiff further alleges that in December 2012, while he was parked in a rest area in Manitou Springs, Colorado, Defendant John Doe Manitou Springs Police Officer arrested him because of the outstanding warrant in Clear Creek County. Mr. Mason was taken to the El Paso County Jail and then transferred to the Clear Creek County Jail on December 21, 2012. In January 2013, Plaintiff was released on a PR bond. At a pre-trial hearing, Defendant Olguin-Frequez presided, while Defendant Garrett, a deputy district attorney, represented the People, under the direction of Defendant Brown, the Clear Creek District Attorney. Plaintiff argued that there was no probable cause for his arrest. When Mr. Mason failed to appear for the June 25, 2014 trial, another bench warrant issued and he was arrested when he did appear. Mr. Mason was detained at the Clear County Jail until he bonded out on August 25, 2014. On October 21, 2014, the case in Clear Creek County was dismissed because of Plaintiff’s “canonical disability.” (ECF No. 1 at 7).

On December 10, 2013, Plaintiff was issued a citation in Denver, Colorado, for driving without a valid license, without valid plates or insurance, and driving under restraint. Defendant Scott Martinez, a Denver City Attorney requested that Plaintiff be evaluated at the Denver psychiatric unit. A physician concluded that Plaintiff was incompetent to proceed on the basis of his “canonical disability.” The Denver case was thereafter dismissed on March 17, 2015. Mr. Mason asserts that there was no probable cause to maintain the case against him.

Finally, Mr. Mason alleges that in January 2014, he was parked one the street at a meter in in Denver, Colorado, when a passing meter maid stopped and asked him about a sign in the back of his car that read, “Mason v. Obama.” (ECF No. 1 at 7). The meter maid asked Plaintiff why he was suing Obama and wrote him a ticket. She then called the police to tow his car.

Mr. Mason asserts claims against the Defendants for unreasonable search and seizure, false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution, in violation of the Fourth Amendment, as well as First Amendment claims of religious persecution and retaliation for exercising his free speech rights. He requests monetary relief.

II. Analysis

A. Judicial Immunity

Mr. Mason’s § 1983 claims for damages against Defendant Olguin-Fresquez, a state court judge, appear to be barred by judicial immunity. Judges are absolutely immune from a civil rights suit based on actions taken in their judicial capacity, unless they acted in the clear absence of all jurisdiction. See Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11-12 (1991); Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 356-57 (1978); Hunt v. Bennett, 17 F.3d 1263, 1266-67 (10th Cir. 1994). Judicial immunity “is not overcome by allegations of bad faith or malice, ” Mireles, 502 U.S. at 11, or an assertion that the judge acted in error or exceeded his authority, see Stump, 435 U.S. at 1105. Further, a judge acts in the clear absence of all jurisdiction only when he “acts clearly without any colorable claim of jurisdiction.” Snell v. Tunnell, 920 F.2d 673, 686 (10th Cir.1990).

Mr. Mason does not state any facts in the Complaint to indicate that Defendant Olguin-Fresquez was acting ...

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