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Williams v. Ponder

September 30, 2009

GARY D. WILLIAMS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
OFFICER VINCE PONDER; ROBERT R. AUMAN ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY SOUTHER JUDICIAL CIRCUIT, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Pollak, J.

MEMORANDUM

PlaintiffGary Williams brought suit against Detective Vince Ponder of Thomasville, Georgia and Robert Auman, Assistant District Attorney for the Southern Judicial Circuit of Georgia. Williams asks the court to grant relief for violations of his Fourth Amendment rights arising from the issuance of an allegedly defective arrest warrant in Thomas County, Georgia and the issuance of an allegedly improper request for his extradition from Pennsylvania to Georgia. Before this court and ripe for disposition is defendant Ponder's motion to dismiss (docker no. 15) for lack of personal jurisdiction, improper venue, and failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and defendant Auman's Motion to dismiss (docket no. 10) for the same reasons and for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Williams has failed to file an answer to the motions despite having been given ample time to respond.

I. BACKGROUND

The Plaintiff, Gary Williams, acting pro se, filed a complaint alleging that his Fourth Amendment rights have been violated and named Vince Ponder and Robert Auman as defendants. Williams seeks damages in the amount of $150,000. Compl. ¶ 7.

Williams' filings imply that defendant Ponder signed an affidavit of probable cause for an allegedly invalid warrant for Williams' arrest in Thomas County, Georgia on January 18, 2005. Compl. ¶ 1; Statements of Facts, Attachment 4 labeled "Criminal Warrant", appended to Motion to Request Counsel Filed May 11, 2009 (hereinafter Statement of Facts).*fn1

Williams alleges he was first arrested due to this outstanding warrant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on October 22, 2005. Compl. ¶ 2.*fn2 He claims that because Georgia did not request extradition, he was released after 120 days in prison. Compl ¶ 3.

Williams asserts that, on February 12, 2006, he was arrested by a police officer in Huntington County, New Jersey. Compl. ¶ 4. Williams alleges that because his friend, the driver, was unable to show identification, Williams was asked to provide his identification. Statements of Facts, page 1. Williams asserts that the unidentified police officer then arrested him because of outstanding warrants against him from Lawrence Township, New Jersey, Thomas County, Georgia, and Sylvester, Georgia. Id. Williams alleges that he was unjustly held for a period of four months, due to errors in both the New Jersey and the Georgia warrants.*fn3 Compl. ¶ 4.

Williams asserts that he was later arrested in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 17 of 2007,*fn4 based on two warrants issued in Georgia. Compl.¶ 5; Statements of Facts, page 1. Williams states that after this arrest an extradition request was issued by the State of Georgia. Statement of Facts at page 4. Williams submitted the Pennsylvania "Governor's Warrant" that commenced extradition proceedings, the "Requisition Demand" by Georgia, and an "Application for Governor's Requisition" signed by defendant Robert Auman. Statement of Facts at page 4 and attached documents labeled Attachment 4. Documents provided by Williams indicate that Auman, as the Assistant District Attorney acting as the prosecuting attorney for Thomas County, signed an application requesting that the Governor of Georgia ask that Williams be extradited to Georgia. Statement of Facts, Attachment #4, Documents entitled "Application for Governor's Requisition" and "Cross-Certification Form." Williams asserts he was confined for ninety days at which point the extradition proceedings were either dismissed or voluntarily withdrawn. Compl. ¶ 6, Statement of Facts, page 4.*fn5

Williams claims that the warrants against him in both New Jersey and Georgia were erroneously issued because the National Association of Bunco Investigators, Inc had disseminated photographs of another man labeled with Williams' alias of "Frank Smith, Jr." Statement of Facts, page 5 and Attachment 8.

On March 23, 2009, defendant Auman filed a motion to dismiss (docket no. 10) alleging lack of subject matter jurisdiction, lack of personal jurisdiction, improper venue, and failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. On April 1, 2009, defendant Ponder also filed a motion to dismiss (docket no. 10) for lack of personal jurisdiction, improper venue, and failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

Williams has not filed an answer to either motion to dismiss. Since the filing of the motion to dismiss, Williams attended a pretrial conference with Magistrate Judge M. Faith Angell (docket no. 18), and filed a motion to have counsel appointed (docket no. 21), which Magistrate Judge Angell denied. Appended to Williams' motion was a statement of facts about his claims that elaborated on the factual allegations in his complaint. At the pretrial conference, Williams indicated that he was willing to voluntarily dismiss the complaint. Judge Angell's Order of April 30th, 2009 (docket no. 20). Following the pretrial conference, Williams filed a motion for reconsideration of the denial of his motion for appointment of counsel, with the same statement of facts and additional argument attached. See Motion for Reconsideration Filed June 22, 2009 (docket no. 23). In this document, Williams withdrew his consent to a voluntary dismissal. Id. at 1.

II. ANALYSIS

A. Williams' Failure to Respond to Johnson's Motion to Dismiss

Despite Williams' failure to specifically answer defendants' motions to dismiss, the merits of the motion will be considered. Local Rule 7.1 provides that, with the exception of a motion for summary judgment, "[i]n the absence of a timely response, [a] motion may be granted as uncontested." E.D. Pa. R. 7.1(c). However, the Third Circuit has held that a motion to dismiss should not be granted merely because the non-movant has failed to file a timely answer. Stackhouse v. Mazurkiewicz, 951 F.2d 29, 30 (3d Cir. 1991). Instead, the court should consider the merits of the motion using what filings it has available. Id. Generally, in ruling on a motion to dismiss, a district court relies on the complaint, attached exhibits, and matters of public record. Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, ...


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