United States District Court, D. Montana, Butte Division
ORDER, AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION
JEREMIAH C. LYNCH, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Chadwick Cochran, appearing pro se, commenced this action
with his complaint and his motion for leave to proceed in
forma pauperis. The Court granted Cochran's motion
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1).
Cochran is proceeding in forma pauperis, section 1915
requires the Court to conduct a preliminary screening of the
allegations set forth in his pleading. The applicable
provisions of section 1915(e)(2) state as follows:
(2) Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof,
that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at
any time if the court determines that-
(A) the allegation of poverty is untrue; or
(B) the action or appeal-
(I) is frivolous or malicious;
(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted;
(iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune
from such relief.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
Court will review Cochran's pleading to consider whether
this action can survive dismissal under the provisions of
section 1915(e)(2), or any other provision of law. See
Huftile v. Miccio-Fonseca, 410 F.3d 1136, 1138, 1142
(9th Cir. 2005).
April 13, 2017, Cochran was driving his vehicle near West
Yellowstone, Montana. He states that on several occasions a
person driving a white mini van would approach him from
behind, flash the headlights, and force Cochran to pull over
and get out of the way. On the third time the white mini van
approached from behind and passed, Defendant Scott Newell -
Chief of the West Yellowstone police department - who was
behind the mini van activated his patrol car lights and
pulled Cochran over for speeding. Cochran contends that at
the time Newell was outside of his jurisdiction.
Mike Gavigan, a Gallatin County Sheriff's Deputy, arrived
at the scene and issued Cochran a speeding ticket. Cochran
states he later learned that Gavigan was the person driving
the white mini van “pushing” Cochran on the
highway. Cochran was placed under arrest, and Newell drove
Cochran to West Yellowstone for an interview. Then Gavigan
transported him to the Gallatin County Jail. Cochran asserts
the events constituted an illegal entrapment, and unlawful
seizure and arrest.
also alleges Newell stopped him on the highway for
improper/invalid reasons. Newell informed Cochran that the
traffic stop was due to Cochran's friendship with David
Herman, an individual to which Newell apparently harbored ill
will. According to Cochran, Newell explained to Cochran that
he stopped Cochran due to his connection with Herman.
his arrival at the Gallatin County Jail on April 13, 2017,
Cochran alleges he informed staff that he needed his various
prescribed mental health medications but was refused them.
Cochran states that on April 15, 2017, he began to experience
withdrawals and “an anxiety attack and mental
breakdown.” (Doc. 2 at 3.) He states he slammed his
head into the cell door until he was covered in blood. He was
unable to sleep and function normally.
claims he notified Defendant Suzanne - the mental health
director at the jail - about his situation. Suzanne informed
him she would take care of the problem but did not. Cochran
was in the Gallatin County Jail from April 13 to April 19,
next complains about the process of the criminal matters he
faced while in jail. He states he was arrested on a warrant
issued in Georgia and taken to the Gallatin County Jail. His
defense attorney, Defendant Diane Copeland, informed him he
would be released on bail if he pled guilty to the speeding
ticket and paid the fine. Cochran posted a bond for his
release, and was given until May 12, 2017, to appear in court
in Georgia on the Georgia arrest warrant. The jail staff
informed him he would not be arrested on the Georgia warrant
while he traveled to Georgia.
was released on April 19, 2017, and he left Montana to go to
Georgia. On April 21, 2017, while traveling through Idaho, he
was arrested on the Georgia arrest warrant. Consequently, he
alleges Defendant Sheriff Brian Gootkin and the Gallatin
County Sheriff's Office violated his civil rights by
“[t]aking [his] money and causing [him] injury,
psychologically and mentally.” (Doc. 2 at 4.) He
apparently claims that Copeland and Gootkin mislead him about
his bond, release, and whether the Georgia warrant could
still subject him to arrest.