United States District Court, D. Montana, Butte Division
WILLIAM J. NORDHOLM, Plaintiff,
TIM BARKELL, et al., Defendants.
Jeremiah C. Lynch United States Magistrate Judge
of this case is set for April 22, 2019. Currently pending are
Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment on Count
1 of his amended complaint and Defendants' motion for
summary judgment on all claims.
Summary Judgment Standards
is entitled to summary judgment if it shows “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.
party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of
proving, on both the facts and the law, that it is entitled
to judgment in its favor. See Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). If the moving party
meets its burden, the burden shifts to the non-moving party
to “set forth specific facts showing that there is a
genuine issue for trial.” Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
stage of the proceedings, the judge does not weigh the
evidence or determine the truth of matters at issue but only
determines whether there is a genuine issue of fact to be
tried. Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome
of the suit under the governing law are material; irrelevant
or unnecessary disputes are not considered. If the
documentary evidence permits only one conclusion, or if
evidence submitted in opposition is merely colorable or not
significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted.
See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248-50.
first claim for relief alleges that Defendants Anaconda-Deer
Lodge County (“ADLC”) and Tim Barkell, the police
chief, “have a policy and custom of charging booking
fees and bonding fees” which “deprive[d] me of my
money without notice or hearing.” Am. Compl. (Doc. 9)
at 5. He claims this deprivation occurred on three occasions
when he was arrested and released: December 20, 2015, to
January 7, 2015; February 27 to February 29, 2016; and March
4 to March 16, 2016. Nordholm also claims the Defendants
impose the fees inconsistently. See id.
parties agree Nordholm was assessed a $25 booking fee on each
of three arrests and a $70 bonding fee when he was
released from custody, resulting in total fees of $285.
See, e.g., Nordholm Decl. (Doc. 67-1) at 2-3
say, “On December 20, 2015, William Nordholm was
charged a booking fee of $25.00 associated with his arrest on
that date, of which he paid $23.00.” Defs. Statement of
Undisputed Facts (“SUF”) (Doc. 64) at 3 ¶ 7.
Nordholm basically agrees, but he puts it differently. He
says, “Without notice or hearing, ADLC's jail took
my $23 and converted it to the County's use.”
Nordholm Decl. (Doc. 67-1) at 2 ¶ 5. The parties agree
he (or a bonding company) paid the “outstanding $2
booking fee from 12-20-15, ” as well as $70 in bonding
fees, when he was released on January 7, 2016. See
Defs. Statement of Disputed Facts (Doc. 69)
(“SDF”) at 2 ¶ 4; Nordholm Decl. (Doc. 67-1)
at 2 ¶ 6.
was again arrested on February 27, 2016, taken to jail, and
charged a $25 booking fee. On that occasion, he “did
not arrive with any cash for them to take.” He paid the
booking and bonding fees when he was released on February 29,
2016. The same facts occurred when Nordholm was arrested on
March 4 and released on March 16, 2016. See, e.g.,
Nordholm Decl. (Doc. 67-1) at 2-3 ¶¶ 7-10.
Nordholm was booked into the ADLC jail in October 2016, he
was not charged a booking fee. See id. at 4 ¶
18. Because he entered the jail to begin serving a sentence,
he did not bond out and did not incur a bonding fee.
See Defs. SUF at 5 ¶¶ 15-16.
The Fees and What Nordholm Claims About Them
resolution, the ADLC county commissioners authorized the
sheriff to impose booking and bonding fees. Fees are
authorized for other things, too, for example, producing an
affidavit ($50), serving a summons ($50), serving a writ of
execution ($50 per account), or holding or rescheduling a
sheriff's sale ($150 or $50, respectively). The fees are
intended to “offset operational costs of the Law
Enforcement Department” and “to recover the costs
of services provided by the Anaconda-Deer Lodge County Law
Enforcement Department.” See Sather Aff. Ex. A
(Doc. 64-1 at 2) (“Resolution No. 11-07”).
“[b]eing arrested is not a ‘service' to the
person arrested!” Markadonatos v. Village of
Woodridge, 760 F.3d 545, 551 (7th Cir. 2014) (en banc)
(per curiam) (Posner, J., concurring in the judgment). But
the Fourth Amendment says persons suspected of crimes may be
arrested on probable cause, and the Fourteenth Amendment says
arrestees must be protected from undue risks to their persons
and health. At booking, an arrestee is identified so as not
to get “lost” or be confused with others who have
perhaps done worse things. He is placed in a safe location,
may request and obtain medical attention, may call a friend
or family member or lawyer, and receives jail-issue clothing
and maybe a shower for sanitary reasons. Doing these things
is far more beneficial to the arrestee and to other inmates
than not doing them, whether the arrest is justified or not.
Many people do not “choose” to incur a need to
serve summonses or subpoenas or to obtain copies of police
reports, but, like booking, such services may prevent or
ameliorate harms caused by others. And fees for these services,
provided they are fairly indexed with actual costs,
reasonably require consumers of the services to pay a little
above and beyond the taxes everyone pays for law and order.
booking and bonding fees are different from the other listed
fees, because they allow a law enforcement officer to
generate the need for further law enforcement services. If
fees exceed costs, an unscrupulous officer or county might
redress temporary shortfalls in county funds by decreeing a
flurry of arrests, and that may lead to arrests not supported
by probable cause.
the real rub of the booking and bonding fees: the problem of
an unjustified arrest. Why should someone have to
pay booking and bonding fees to an entity whose ...