Two Texas Troopers who are being sued in a federal civil rights lawsuit have filed a brief claiming 'harassment' and are seeking a protective order against the plaintiff, in order to avoid disclosing information in the discovery phase of the trial. The Texas Attorney General's office, led by Greg Abbott, is representing the troopers in the suit at taxpayer expense.
Plaintiff Martin Hill filed the U.S.C. 42 Section 1983 lawsuit in September 2012 against troopers Yolanda Aguinaga and Kevin Marmor. The suit stems from a November 2010 incident in which the troopers illegally demanded ID from Hill under threat of arrest, with no probable cause.
What's interesting is that when the incident actually occurred, on the dark roadside in the middle of nowhere, Trooper Marmor menaced Hill with the threat of "I'm the one with the badge and the gun," after Hill protested and claimed they had no right to demand his ID. But once called on their behavor in a court of law and in the public sphere, the troopers aren't as brave and bold anymore, instead absurdly claiming victimhood.
The plaintiff launched a website DontWakeMeUp.org in April 2013 which has received wide acclaim and is regularly visited by law enforcement and city, state, county and federal government agencies as well as universites, law firms, and trucking groups. In addition to being featured on a wide variety of alternative media outlets, the case has been featured in major trucking magazines including both the print and online edition of Overdrive Online. Hill was also a guest on the top-rated Dave Nemo trucking radio show on SiriusXM Radio radio to discuss the case.
In reality, allowing police to engage in violations of the 4th Amendment via ID checks and warrantless automobile searches has only worsened the situation and lead to greater offenses. TX DPS Troopers have been shown to regularly conduct illegal searches and ID checks throughout the state as a matter of policy during trafic stops, and a number of cases have revealed that troopers have even been raping women on the roadside across the state with impunity, and getting hired back after the fact.
Hill's case is also unique because the trooper's employer, the Texas Department of Public Safety, has already admitted wrongdoing. When the incident originally occurred, both officers were recorded by the plaintiff with his cell phone and and the Texas Department of Public Safety admitted wrongdoing in writing only one month after an internal affairs complaint was filed against the officers in November 2010. The admission letter, dated December 20, 2010 and signed by Captain Kenneth Plunk of the Waco Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, stated that "corrective action was needed" against both officers and that "additional training has been taken." [Here is the postmarked envelope the letter came in.] The driver, Martin Hill, then filed a 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit against the troopers for damages, permanent injunction, and to dissuade them from continuing this blatantly illegal practice. One of the documents released in initial disclosures revealed that the Texas Troopers officially admitted that "The passenger is under no obligation to comply with request" for ID.
Another interesting point about this case is that most federal civil rights lawsuits don't get anywhere near the discovery phase and are tossed out in the early stages. Some notable examples of this are the lawsuits filed by Congressman Ron Paul and Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura. [You can see Ventua discuss his case with Andrew Napolitano here: 'America Better Damn WAKE UP!' Jesse Ventura On His Lawsuit Against The TSA Being Thrown Out.] However, in Hill's case, which the plaintiff has filed 'pro per' without an attorney, has proceeded without impediment.
Both parties of the suit exchanged documents in the early stages of discovery and then each submitted a list of demands to the other party. Hill responded to the defendant's July 11th ten-page 'Request for Production of Documents' on July 22nd, including such items that the defendants requested such as pay stubs, articles he has written on the case, and a hard copy of the videos which appeared on youtube. But when Hill filed his discovery request of the plantiffs, they refused to answer a single item, claiming that the requests were burdensome and harassing.
Among the information Hill asked for was data on any citizen complaints filed against the officers, any criminal records or lawsuits filed against the officers, personel records, and a list of groups who train officers on protocol and the 4th Amendment/ ID requirements.
The Plaintiff and defendants are entitled to disclosure of evidence in lawsuits. This helps to discover information such as the character of the parties, prior bad acts, inconsistent prior statements, etc. Information sought during discovery does not have to be admissible at trial. Rules for discovery requests are different from rules of evidence. If a request is "reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence," it is allowed under Rule 26(b)(1) Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which states in part, "Parties may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the claim or defense of any party...Relevant information need not be admissible at the trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence."
Hill vowed from the beginning of this case to seek both a legal remedy as well as to publicize the case. In his initial November 18, 2010, official complaint to the TX DPS, he wrote "This is not a small issue. It is an extremely grave and serious one which will be addressed legally, as well as in the public realm. Your officer's and department's violation of the Constitution is abhorrent and will not be tolerated. As a Roman Catholic Constitutionalist, I will stand publicly for the rule of law and more importantly, God's law which encompasses the dignity of all human beings."
The troopers five page document seeking a protective order from Hill can be found here.
The troopers 23 page 'Objections and Responses to Plaintiff's First Request for Production' in which they seek qualified immunity and seek a protective order can be found here.
Hill's original REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION from the Defendants can be found here.
Below are some of the questions Hill asked the Troopers in Discovery. Also below that is some text of the troopers's response and text from their brief seeking protection.
Another point of interest is that in their latest set of interrogatories to the Plaintiff, the troopers attorney asked Hill about any prior lawsuits and relevant medical records. Ironically, these are two of the very things that Hill had previously requested of the defendants, yet the defendants claimed that the questions were 'burdensome' and 'harassing':
- 4. Have you ever been involved in any (other) legal action, as a party of witness? if so, state the names, addresses and phone numbers of all parties and attorneys to such action, the date and place of where the action was filed, the nature and result of such action, and detailed description of your role in same.
- 7. State the full legal name and address of any clergyman, doctorm physician, medical practicioner, or other person, as well as the name and address of any hospital, clinic, or other entity from which either you have sought counseling or medical treatment in occurrence in question.
- 8. Please state name, address and telephone number for all health care providers you have visited for the last 5 years (2008-2013).
HILL'S REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION FROM DEFENDANTS: [Excerpts]
Request for Production No. 50: Please produce information and listings of any and all nongovernmental agencies and/or nongovernmental law enforcement education organizations that provide or have ever provided writen, verbal, or course training or seminars to Kevin Marmor and Yolanda Aguinaga; and any non governmental groups which have provided writen or verbal, or course training to the supervisors of Kevin Marmor and Yolanda Aguinaga or to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Request for Production No. 51: Please produce copies and full details of any and all training and/or seminars offered to Kevin Marmor and Yolanda Aguinaga by The Anti-Defamation League, The Anti-Defamation League�s Advanced Training School, The Anti-Defamation League�s Advanced Training School (ATS) course on Extremist and Terrorist Threats, The Southern Poverty Law Center, The American Civil Liberties Union, and any and all non governmental agencies, private security companies, and foreign groups or corporations. Include full copies of the curriculum offered in these courses.
Request for Production No. 52: Please produce copies and full details of any and all training and/or seminars and curriculum offered to Kevin Marmor and Yolanda Aguinaga by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Secret Service, The Texas Attorney General, Coast Guard Investigative Service, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Central Intelligence Agency Threat Management Unit, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, Department of the Treasury, Drug Enforcement Administration, Army National Guard, and any other local, state, national, or international governmental agency which has trained Kevin Marmor, Yolanda Aguinaga, and or their superiors at the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Request for Production No. 53: Please produce copies and full details of any and all training and/or seminars ever offered to Kevin Marmor and Yolanda Aguinaga by any law enforcment agency and or non-governmental agency or group which covered the curriculum and topics of the 4th Amendment, Constitutional rights, the 'sovereign citizen' movement, libertarians, white supremacy, anti- government extremism, anti-terrorism, homegrown Islamic extremism, the 9/11 attacks, 9/11 truthers, conspiracy theorists, Ron Paul supporters, Constitutionalists, anti-abortionists, religious extremism, and all related subjects.
Request for Production No. 54: Please produce copies and full details of any curriculum and all training and/or seminars offered to Kevin Marmor and Yolanda Aguinaga by the Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division (ICT) and the Texas Fusion Center. Include their training on ID requirements and the 4th Amendment.
Request for Production No. 55: Please produce copies and full details of any curriculum and all training and/or seminars offered to Kevin Marmor and Yolanda Aguinaga by the Texas Department of Public Safety Law Enforcement Education training program, including the curriculum and all records of Marmor and Aguinaga's completion of at least 40 hours of continuing education every two years, from the years of 2006-2013. Include all evaluations for Marmor and Aguinaga
Request for Production No. 56: Please produce copies and full details of any curriculum and all training and/or seminars offered to Kevin Marmor and Yolanda Aguinaga by the Texas Department of Public Safety Tactical Training Center, including classes and curriculum presented by the Texas Department of Public Safety Employee Development (ED) regarding the 4th Amendment, ID requirements, and curriculum of the Employee Development course "Dealing with Difficult People."
Request for Production No. 46: Please produce records of any and all verbal and written admissions, medical records and documentation that exists of any alcoholism, illicit drug use, drug abuse treatment, alcoholism treatment, mental health treatment, hospitalization, or care received by Kevin Marmor from 2008- 2013.
Request for Production No. 45: Please produce a list of any and all fraternal organizations, clubs, groups, and or secret societies, public societies, and law enforcement groups that Yolanda Aguinaga is a member of or has been a member of since working in law enforcement.
Request for Production No. 12: Please produce copies of all Information on any and all civilian complaints of misconduct ever filed against Kevin Marmor while employed by the Texas Department of Public Safety and/or any other employer Marmor worked for in law enforcement.
Below is some of the text of the Defendant's latest brief.
Defendants pled their entitlement to qualified immunity in their answer. [D.E. 18-19]. Defendants now file this motion for protective order based upon that immunity. Plaintiff served 58 request for production upon Defendants (See Exhibit A). Defendants object to any discovery requests by Plaintiffs on the ground that they prematurely require them to engage in discovery before the Court has ruled upon their entitlement to immunity from suit, which includes such incidents to suit as discovery. Harlow ,457 U.S. 800 at 818; Mitchell v. Forsyth, 472 U.S. at 526 (1985). �[T]he issue of qualified immunity is a threshold question, and �[u]ntil this threshold immunity question is resolved, discovery should not be allowed.� �Brown v. Texas A & M Univ., 804 F.2d 327, 333 (5th Cir.1986) (citing Harlow, 457 U.S. at 818 ). See also Jacquez v. Procunier, 801 F.2d 789 (5th Cir.1986). Defendants have already disclosed relevant records and information to Plaintiff in their initial disclosures. (See Exhibit B). Plaintiff�s 58 request for production are overly burdensome and are beyond the scope of discovery. Also, many of Plaintiff�s request are nothing more than pure harassment by the Plaintiff. (See Exhibit A, request for production numbers 44-47, 51-54). For example, Plaintiff requested all verbal and written admissions, medical records and documentation that exists of any alcoholism, illicit drug use, drug abuse treatment, alcoholism treatment, mental health treatment, hospitalization, or care received by Yolanda Aguinaga and Kevin Marmor from 2008-2013 and Plaintiff requested copies of all details of any training Defendants have had pertaining to The Anti-Defamation League, The Anti-Defamation League's Advanced Training School, The Anti-Defamation League's Advanced Training School (ATS) course on Extremist and Terrorist Threats, The Southern Poverty Law Center, The American Civil Liberties Union. (See Exhibit A, request for production numbers 46-47, 51). Requests of this nature are only for harassment and will not lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Also, Defendants have already disclosed documents to Plaintiff pertaining to request for production nos. 1, 7, 9, 17-22. (See Exhibit A). Also, Plaintiff has requested items that are beyond the scope of qualified immunity. For instance, Plaintiff requested timecard/ sign in sheet and documentation of hourly wages of Defendants, Defendants complete criminal records and all organizations that Defendants are members of since they were employed in law enforcement. (See Exhibit A, request for production numbers 24, 25, 38, 39, 44, 45). These request for production are way beyond the scope of discovery and are unlikely to lead to admissible evidence at trial."
Martin Hill is a Catholic paleoconservative and civil rights advocate. His work has been featured in the Los Angeles Daily News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, The Orange County Register, KNBC4 TV Los Angeles, The Press Enterprise, LewRockwell.com, WhatReallyHappened.com, Infowars.com, PrisonPlanet.com, Economic Policy Journal, FreedomsPhoenix, Haaretz, TMZ, Veterans Today, Jonathan Turley blog, The Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show, National Motorists Association, RomanCatholicReport.com, Republic Broadcasting Network, WorldNetDaily, OverdriveOnline.com, Educate-Yourself.org, Dr. Kevin Barrett's Truth Jihad radio show, Strike-The-Root.com, ActivistPost.com, Los Angeles Catholic Lay Mission Newspaper, KFI AM 640, IamtheWitness.com, Redlands Daily Facts, BlackBoxVoting, The Michael Badnarik Show, The Wayne Madsen Report, Devvy.com, Rense.com, The Contra Costa Times, Pasadena Star News, Silicon Valley Mercury News, Long Beach Press Telegram, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, L.A. Harbor Daily Breeze, CopBlock.org, DavidIcke.com, Whittier Daily News, KCLA FM Hollywood, The Fullerton Observer, Pasdena Weekly, Antiwar.com, From The Trenches World Report, BeforeItsNews, 12160.info, and many others. Archives can be found at LibertyFight.com and DontWakeMeUp.Org.
|NOTE 7/28/13: Recently the front page of of my site has become too crowded, so I have created a LibertyFight.com Classics Page. I hope you enjoy perusing the site and reading over the body of work which I have compiled over the years. Thanks for visiting. :-)|