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Williams v. Fox

United States District Court, D. Idaho

September 28, 2018

GUARD FOX, Defendant.


          David C. Nye, U.S. District Court Judge.

         Plaintiff Kent Williams, a prisoner in the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction, is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action. At the time of the events giving rise to Plaintiff's claims, Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee incarcerated at the Ada County Jail.

         Plaintiff has been allowed to proceed, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, on two types of First Amendment claims. He asserts that, in January 2016, Defendant Fox violated Plaintiff's (1) right to petition the government for redress and (2) right to be free from retaliation for the exercise of his constitutional rights. (See Dkt. 56, screening the second amended complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 1915A).)

         Now pending before the Court are (1) Plaintiff's “Motion for a Protective Order”[2]and (2) Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. (Dkt. 96, 97.) A dispositive motion (Dkt. 107) is also pending but will be addressed at a later date.

         Having fully reviewed the record, the Court finds that the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented in the briefs and record and that oral argument is unnecessary. See D. Idaho Loc. Civ. R. 7.1. Accordingly, the Court enters the following Order denying Plaintiff's Motions.


         Plaintiff has filed a document entitled “Motion for Protective Order.” (Dkt. 97.) In that Motion, Plaintiff asks “for a protective order shielding him from the defendant making public record and using as evidence in their defense personal correspondence illegally confiscated from plaintiff while he was a pre-trial detainee housed in the Ada County Jail.” (Id. at 1.) However, because Plaintiff's Motion argues that this evidence is admissible, a protective order is not appropriate. Such orders may be utilized to address discovery issues-not the admissibility of evidence.

         Additionally, Plaintiff has submitted no evidence to support his conclusory that the correspondence is forged or otherwise inauthentic. Thus, Plaintiff has not raised a “genuine question” about the authenticity of the correspondence or established that other circumstances would make it unfair for the Court to consider the evidence. Fed.R.Evid. 1003.

         Plaintiff also argues that any consideration of the correspondence would violate the Fourth Amendment. Plaintiff is incorrect. The exclusionary rule is not a personal constitutional right, and it does not apply in civil cases under § 1983; therefore, a governmental official may rely on illegally-seized evidence in defense against such a claim. Lingo v. City of Salem, 832 F.3d 953, 959 (9th Cir. 2016). Therefore, even if the correspondence was obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment-which the Court does not address-they are not subject to exclusion on that basis.

         Plaintiff's other objections-which are essentially arguments as to why the evidence should not be believed or should be considered in a light different from that urged by Defendant-do not go to the admissibility of that evidence. Therefore, Plaintiff's “Motion for a Protective Order” will be denied.


         1. Standard of Law Governing Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment is appropriate where a party can show that, as to any claim or defense, “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). “[T]he mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment ....” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). Rather, a case will survive summary judgment only if there is a genuine dispute as to a material fact. Material facts are those “that might affect the outcome of the suit.” Id. at 248. “Disputes over irrelevant or unnecessary facts will not preclude a grant of summary judgment.” T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pac. Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987).

         Where, as here, the moving party bears the ultimate burden of proof, that party “must come forward with evidence which would entitle it to a directed verdict if the evidence went uncontroverted at trial.” Houghton v. South, 965 F.2d 1532, 1536 (9th Cir. 1992) (internal quotation marks omitted). That is, the moving party “must establish beyond controversy every essential element” of the claim. S. Cal. Gas Co. v. City of Santa Ana, 336 F.3d 885, 888 (9th Cir. 2003). All reasonable inferences which can be drawn from the evidence must be drawn in the light most favorable to the non-moving party-here, Defendant. T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc., 809 F.2d at 630-31.

         2. Standard of Law Applicable to ...

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