LAW OFFICE OF FRANCES CROCKETT IN THE NEWS
Click on a link below to read articles and case information featuring Attorney Frances Crockett.
Estate of Sarah Circle Bear v. Brown County
South Dakota Public Radio – Feb. 11, 2021
Aberdeen News (Aberdeen, SD) – July 30, 2020
Aberdeen News (Aberdeen, SD) – March 10, 2020
Aberdeen News (Aberdeen, SD) – November 15, 2019
Aberdeen News (Aberdeen, SD) – November 8, 2018
Aberdeen News (Aberdeen, SD) – May 5, 2018
Indian Country Today – August 18, 2015
WIBG – July 29, 2015
2016 – Estate of V. Wood v. City of Albuquerque – Police Shooting
2016 – Estate of Daniel Tillison v. City of Albuquerque – Police Shooting
2015 – Mark Martinez v. Bernalillo County Detention Center – Taser case
2014 – Estate of Kenneth Ellis v. City of Albuquerque – Police Shooting
ABQ Journal – Oct. 6, 2016
ABQ Journal – March 16, 2013
ABQ Journal – March 15, 2013
ABQ Journal – March 15, 2013
ABQ Journal – March 14, 2013
ABQ Journal – March 13, 2013
ABQ Journal – March 12, 2013
ABQ Journal – March 9, 2013
ABQ Journal – March 8, 2013
ABQ Journal – March 8, 2013
The Alibi – Aug. 18, 2011
ABQ Journal – April 5, 2011
The Alibi – Jan. 13, 2011
2013 – Dr. Mark Walden/Corizon Medical Services and GEO Private Prison – Prison Sexual Abuse
2012 – Lundstrom v. Romero, 616 F.3d 1108, 1118 (10th Cir. 2010)
CASE SUMMARY: Civil Rights Section 1983: Warrantless Entry, Illegal Seizure, and Excessive Force as well as State Law claims of Assault and Battery and Negligent Supervision, Retention, and Hiring.
PROCEDURAL POSTURE: Appellant arrestees sought review of a decision of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico, which granted summary judgment for appellee police officers on the basis of qualified immunity in the arrestees’ lawsuit alleging that they were unlawfully seized and the home belonging to one of them was unlawfully searched during a confrontation concerning a child welfare check, which was based on the officers’ response to a 911 call.
OVERVIEW: An officer knocked at the door and displayed a gun when the owner challenged her. The owner’s girlfriend stepped between the owner and the officer; when she exited the home, she was arrested and handcuffed without questioning. The owner was arrested and handcuffed when he stepped outside the home. He contended that the officers used unreasonable force, resulting in injuries, and searched his home before letting him go. On appeal, the court found that the officer effectuated a reasonable seizure in pointing a gun at the owner because she had a reasonable concern about her safety. The girlfriend was not illegally seized when she positioned herself between the owner and officer. However, handcuffing the girlfriend was not a reasonable seizure, and the owner’s seizure was not justified since at that time, the officers did not have a basis to believe he had done anything wrong, he did not pose a threat, and there were no exigent circumstances. The owner also sufficiently stated an unreasonable force claim and an unreasonable search. As these Fourth Amendment rights were clearly established, the officers were erroneously granted summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity.
OUTCOME: The court concluded that for the most part, the officers were not entitled to qualified immunity and should not have been granted summary judgment. The court affirmed the district court’s qualified immunity decision regarding the seizures based on a display of a weapon at the home’s front door, but otherwise reversed the district court’s decision and remanded the case for further proceedings on the arrestees’ claims.
The case was set for trial and on April 20, 2012 a Federal Court Jury, after listening to testimony and reviewing the evidence presented, found in favor of Plaintiffs and awarded Joseph Lundstrom $100,000.00 in damages and Jane Hibner $75,000.00 in damages.
2008 – Canizales v. City of Albuquerque: Excessive Force
August 2008-The Albuquerque Journal
By Scott Sandlin
ALBUQUERQUE — Saul Canizales resigned as a State Police officer after a May 2005 confrontation outside a bar with off-duty Albuquerque Police Department officers led to battery charges. The charges were later dropped.
Canizales won another measure of vindication in federal court Thursday when a jury found the APD officers had wrongfully arrested him, used excessive force against him and violated his Fourth Amendment rights with malicious prosecution.
A civil jury hearing a lawsuit brought by Canizales against Sgt. Todd Armendariz, Officers Angelo Lovato and Shawn Willoughby and Sgt. Mark Garcia cleared Armendariz and found liability for the others.
The jury, which heard testimony before U.S. District Judge James O. Browning, awarded him a total of $35,000 in damages – $20,000 compensatory damages and $5,000 in punitives against each of the others.
Canizales was leaving the bar with a friend and fellow State Police officer when he became involved in a verbal exchange and found himself criminally charged by the APD officers.
Canizales was forced to resign his position and hire an attorney. Although the charges were dropped by the District Attorney’s Office, the media exposure of the incident made it difficult for him to find another job, said his attorney, Frances Crockett. “My client was wrongfully abused, detained, arrested, and as a result has suffered greatly at the hands of these officers who believe they are above the law,” she said when she filed the lawsuit in 2007.
Copyright 2008 The Albuquerque Journal
2007 – Delayo v. RCC (Private Prison)- Deliberate Indifference to Medical Care of Inmate
July 10, 2007 Albuquerque Tribune
A former detainee at the Regional Correctional Center is suing the private company that runs the Downtown Albuquerque lockup, saying he didn’t get adequate medical care after he fractured his jaw playing handball. According to his lawsuit, Robert Delayo hurt himself Jan. 1, 2006, and was taken to the Albuquerque Regional Medical Center, where he received X-rays that showed a fracture. A physician told him he should follow up with an oral surgeon within two or three days. It wasn’t until Jan. 27 that Delayo saw an oral surgeon, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque alleges Cornell Companies Inc., a former warden, and the head of the jail’s Health Services Center knew about Delayo’s condition but “made no effort to obtain adequate and timely medical treatment for Mr. Delayo.” The lawsuit also names Bernalillo County, which owns the jail and leases it to Cornell. Public Safety Director John Dantis said it’s up to Cornell to handle the claim. “The county’s response is that it’s a Cornell issue. They are the operators,” he said. Charles Seigel, a consultant for Cornell, said the company can’t comment on the case, but defended the jail’s health care. “We do provide an excellent health program, available to detainees in the facility,” he said. One of Delayo’s lawyers, Frances Crockett, said she has also heard other concerns about medical treatment at the lockup. “It seems to be an epidemic that’s going on around the country, and in part with the RCC, of prisoners not receiving adequate medical care,” she said. Delayo’s lawsuit says he suffered and continues to suffer extreme physical and mental pain from the injury. It also asks for monetary damages in an amount to be determined at trial, as well as lawyer’s fees. Crockett did not provide details of what led to Delayo’s incarceration. Federal court records show Robert Delayo, 43, was indicted in connection with a Jan. 25, 2005, bank robbery of the Wells Fargo Bank at 1800 Eubank Blvd. N.E. He later pleaded guilty to federal charges of use of a firearm during a crime and aiding and abetting.
Other attorneys, including some from the American Civil Liberties Union, have collected complaints from detainees about crowding, poor medical care and unsanitary conditions inside the jail. Bernalillo County, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement all have contracts to house detainees inside the facility at Fourth Street and Roma Avenue Northwest in Downtown. Cornell officials gave a tour of the jail earlier this month to two reporters, and defended the medical care, calling it “superb.” The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General also has its eye on the jail after a detainee of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in September died at an Albuquerque hospital while in the custody of the RCC. The ACLU has asked the federal government for more information about immigrant detainees who have died in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The group says 62 have died since 2004 and has filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking details.