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Ayers v. Anderson

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville

March 21, 2018




         This matter is before the Court on two motions. The Plaintiff, William Ayers, appearing pro se, moves the court to reconsider the Magistrate Judge's order denying the Plaintiff's Motion to Recuse (DN 34). The Defendants, Tim Anderson (“Anderson”) and Bob Rodriguez (“Rodriguez”) move for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.[1] (DN 30). For the following reasons, the Plaintiff's Motion to Reconsider will be DENIED. The Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment as to the Plaintiff's claims of Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment violations will be GRANTED. The court first will consider the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment before turning to the Plaintiff's Motion to Recuse.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Plaintiff, William Ayers (“Ayers”), appearing pro se, filed a Complaint in this court in September of 2016 against Defendants Tim Anderson and Bob Rodriguez and unnamed Defendants John Doe and Jane Doe.[2] Defendants are all employees of the Kentucky Department of Corrections, Division of Probation and Parole (“Probation”). (DN 1-1, ¶ 1.) Though proceeding pro se, Ayers admits that he is a former attorney. (DN 35, 10.)

         The record being limited, the facts of this case are not altogether clear. However, Ayers admits that he was convicted for a crime in the Commonwealth of Kentucky for failing to file state income tax returns. (DN 35, 1.) Presumably, Ayers was placed on probation and Defendant Anderson was assigned as his probation officer. (Id.) As a condition of probation, he was ordered to pay court costs, a fine, and complete a number of community service hours by September 15, 2015. (DN 30-3; DN 35, 1.)

         On February 20, 2015, Judge Susan Schultz Gibson (“Judge Gibson”) in Jefferson Circuit Court, Kentucky, entered an Order pursuant to a revocation hearing instituted by the Commonwealth's motion to revoke probation.[3] (DN 30-2, 1.) The Order states that Ayers violated conditions of his probation by failing to pay fees and fines, perform community service, and provide verification of his compliance with state and federal tax laws. (Id.) Beyond ordering Ayers to continue to comply with the conditions of his probation, the Court ordered that Probation and Parole could impose graduated sanctions pursuant to KRS 439.553 for violation of probation conditions. (Id. at 2-3.) Ayers was represented by counsel at this hearing. (Id.)

         Apparently, Ayers continued to violate the conditions of his probation. On August 13, 2015 Ayers signed a “Violation Report with Graduated Sanctions” (“Report”) stating that he failed to pay court costs and fines by the deadline as ordered by the Court. The Report states: “Mr [sic] William Ayers has been given a verbal warning at the last report date on July 9, 2015 Nevertheless, the court's Opinion and Order dismissing the Plaintiff's Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment claims are dispositive on these claims in the improperly filed amended complaint. and was told that if he does not abide by the court order then graduated sanctions would be imposed.” (DN 30-3.) The Report further states:

I hereby freely and voluntarily admit violating the conditions of my probation/parole as set forth above. Instead of having a hearing I hereby agree to accept the above sanctions, as recommended by my Probation and Parole Officer… I also agree to resume compliance with all the terms and conditions of my probation/parole and I further understand that should I violate any of the terms and conditions of my probation/parole or should I fail to abide by the above recommended sanctions that I will be subject to arrest and revocation of my probation/parole.

         Ayers does not contest that he signed this Report. He also admits that he failed to satisfy the terms of his probation. Despite these admissions, Ayers alleges that, on or about September 15, 2015, [4] while at the Kentucky Department of Corrections Office on Preston Highway in Louisville, Kentucky, he was illegally arrested by the Defendants acting under color of law. (DN 1-1, ¶ 1.) He then claims he was incarcerated for ten days and that, during his incarceration, the Defendants intentionally gave the jail counselor false information. (Id. at ¶ 3.) His Complaint alleges Assault and Battery when the Defendants “grab[bed] Plaintiff without his permission, and twisted his arms behind his back and placed hand-cuffs on his wrists, and pushed him down onto a chair causing him pain and humiliation.” (Id. at ¶ 1.) He further states claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“Section 1983”) for an unreasonable seizure, due process violation, and cruel and unusual punishment. (Id. at ¶¶ 2- 3.) Lastly, Ayers claims he suffered “Extreme Emotional Distress” and “Defamation Per Se.” The Defendants now move for summary judgment on Ayers' Fourth Amendment seizure and Fourteenth Amendment due process claims.

         II. STANDARD

         A party moving for summary judgment must show that “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party bears the burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Additionally, the Court must draw all factual inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). A genuine issue for trial exists when “there is sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party for a jury to return a verdict for that party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986).


         This case concerns provisions of the Public Safety and Offender Accountability Act (“Act”) enacted by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2011. The intent of the legislature was to adopt a sentencing policy to “maintain public safety and hold offenders accountable while reducing recidivism and criminal behavior and improving outcomes for those offenders who are sentenced.'” Commonwealth v. Andrews, 448 S.W.3d 773, 776 (Ky. 2014) (citing KRS 532.007(1)).

         Pursuant to the Act, the Kentucky legislature passed several new statutes. Among these is KRS 439.3106. This statute sets forth the potential consequences of probation violations: “If a supervised individual violates the terms of probation, there are two possible outcomes: revocation… or the impositions of sanctions ‘other than revocation.'” Id. at 777 (citing KRS 439.3106). On February 20, 2015, Judge Gibson ...

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