Stover v. Moist et al
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS re 8 Report and Recommendations. Plaintiff's claims against Defendants Booher, Threet, Ardemagni, and Reynolds are Dismissed With Prejudice. Plaintiff's claims against Defendant Pirani are Dismissed Without Prejudice Signed by Honorable P. K. Holmes, III on July 10, 2015. (rg) Modified on 7/10/2015 (rg).
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
Case No. 5:15-CV-05095
DETECTIVE CHRISTOPHER MOIST, 4th Judicial
Drug Task Force (DTF); DETECTIVE CAMERON
CRAFTON, DTF; DETECTIVE REX FREDRICK,
DTF; DETECTIVE THORSON, DTF; CHREEA
STANIMIROVIC BOOHER, Deputy Prosecuting
Attorney, Washington County; GLENA ARDEMAGNI.
Notary, Washington County Prosecuting Attorneys’
Office; JUDGE RAY REYNOLDS; TONY PIRANI,
Public Defender; and PROSECUTING ATTORNEY
Currently before the Court are the findings and recommendations (Doc. 8) of the Honorable
Erin L. Setser, United States Magistrate for the Western District of Arkansas. Also before the Court
are Plaintiff’s objections (Doc. 11). No response to the objections was filed by Defendants. The
Court has conducted a de novo review as to all specified proposed findings and recommendations
to which Plaintiff raised objections. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
The Magistrate recommends that all claims against Defendants Chreea Stanimirovic Booher,
John Threet, Glenda Ardemagni, Judge Ray Reynolds, and Tony Pirani, as well as any claims for
malicious prosecution be dismissed. The Magistrate reasoned that Booher, Threet, and Ardemagni
were absolutely immune from suit; Judge Ray Reynolds was judicially immune; Pirani was not
acting under color of state law in his role as public defender; and the Eighth Circuit has held that
malicious prosecution, by itself, does not allege a constitutional injury.
Plaintiff filed objections arguing that Booher, Threet, and Ardemagni are not entitled to
prosecutorial immunity, alleging in part that Booher was acting outside of her role as a prosecutor
in initiating the prosecution against Plaintiff in bad faith, in reviewing an affidavit for warrant of
arrest prepared by Detective Moist, and in allegedly forging Detective Moist’s signature on the
affidavit. The Court disagrees. A prosecutor is absolutely immune from suit for any conduct
undertaken in his or her role as advocate for the state. Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409 (1976).
Absolute prosecutorial immunity protects the prosecutor as a key participant in the criminal justice
process, such that the prosecutor need not be inhibited from performing his or her functions by a
constant fear of retaliation. Id. at 428. This is true no matter the underlying motive of the prosecutor
or the propriety of the actions taken. Myers v. Morris, 810 F.2d. 1437, 1446 (8th Cir. 1987) (finding
that allegations that a prosecutor proceeded with a prosecution based on an improper motive did not
defeat absolute prosecutorial immunity); Schenk v. Chavis, 461 F.3d 1043, 1046 (8th Cir. 2006)
(“Actions connected with initiation of prosecution, even if those actions are patently improper are
immunized.” (internal quotation omitted)). Booher, Threet, and Ardemagni are entitled to the
protections of absolute immunity, and Plaintiff’s objections as to those Defendants are overruled.
Plaintiff argues that Judge Reynolds was acting outside the scope of his judicial duties in
approving the arrest warrant based on Detective Moist’s affidavit. Again, the Court disagrees. The
Eighth Circuit has specifically held that claims against a judge for issuing an arrest warrant are
barred by judicial immunity. Denoyer v. Dobberpuhl, 208 F.3d 217 (8th Cir. 2000) (unpublished
per curiam) (citing Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11-12 (1991) (per curiam)). The Court finds that
the reasoning of the Magistrate on this issue is sound, and Plaintiff’s objections as to Judge Reynolds
Throughout his objections, Plaintiff argues that he has adequately pleaded a civil conspiracy
claim against all Defendants. A civil conspiracy claim will not deprive immune defendants of their
immunity. See Reasonover v. St. Louis County, Mo., 447 F.3d 569, 580 (8th Cir. 2006) (“a
prosecutor is absolutely immune from a civil conspiracy charge when his alleged participation in the
conspiracy consists of otherwise immune acts”). While a public defender may not be immune from
§ 1983 liability if the defender conspired with other state actors to violate a plaintiff’s constitutional
rights, Plaintiff has not sufficiently pleaded any involvement by Pirani in a civil conspiracy that
would support an inference of conspiracy. Deck v. Leftridge, 771 F.2d 1168, 1170 (8th Cir. 1985)
(“Allegations that a public defender has conspired with judges to deprive [a plaintiff] of federally
protected rights may state a claim under § 1983. However, allegations of a conspiracy must be
pleaded with sufficient specificity and factual support to suggest a meeting of the minds.” (internal
citation and quotation omitted)). Plaintiff’s objections that the Defendants recommended for
dismissal were involved in a civil conspiracy such that they should not be dismissed are therefore
Having reviewed the objections, the Magistrate’s report, and the record as a whole, the Court
finds that any other objections stated by Plaintiff, or that the Court might construe, are likewise
Therefore, the Court, being well and sufficiently advised, finds that the report and
recommendations (Doc. 35) is ADOPTED IN ITS ENTIRETY. For the reasons stated herein and
in the report and recommendations, IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff’s claims against Defendants
Booher, Threet, Ardemagni, and Reynolds are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE, as the claims are
against defendants who are immune from suit. Plaintiff’s claims against Defendant Pirani are
DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE as they fail to state claims upon which relief may be granted.
Any malicious prosecution claims brought under federal law pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 are also
dismissed with prejudice for failure to state a claim.
IT IS SO ORDERED this 10th day of July, 2015.
/s/P. K. Holmes, III
P.K. HOLMES, III
CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
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