United States District Court, D. Maine
ORDER AFFIRMING ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR A FINDING OF
A. WOODCOCK, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Court overrules the Plaintiff's objection to a Magistrate
Judge's order in which the Magistrate Judge declined to
hold a corrections officer Defendant in contempt of court for
allegedly false sworn statements. The Court affirms the
Magistrate Judge's order because the Plaintiff lacks
standing to enforce criminal law and because the evidence
does not confirm that the corrections officer lied in her
October 30, 2017, James Stile filed a motion asking this
Court to hold Kelly Smith, a corrections officer with
Somerset County Jail and a Defendant in this case, in
contempt for having made allegedly perjurious statements in
an affidavit submitted to the Court. Notice of Mot.
Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1623 (ECF No. 460)
(Pl.'s Mot.). On November 13, 2017, all
Defendants, except Somerset County, Delong, Allen, Plourd,
and Jacques, responded to Mr. Stile's motion.
Defs.' Obj. to Pl.'s Notice of Mot. Pursuant to
18 U.S.C. § 1623 (ECF No. 471) (Defs.'
December 5, 2017, the Court referred the motion to the
Magistrate Judge. On February 13, 2018, the Magistrate Judge
issued an order in which he denied the motion. Order on
Pl.'s Mots. for Contempt (ECF No. 493)
(Order). On March 8, 2018, Mr. Stile objected to the
Magistrate Judge's order. Pl.'s Obj. to ECF No.
493 Order on Pl.'s Mots. for Contempt (ECF No. 508)
(Pl.'s Obj.). On March 16, 2018, the Defendants,
except Somerset County, Delong, Allen, Mayhew, Welch,
Jacques, Plourd, and Kline, responded. Defs.' Resp.
to Pl.'s Obj. to Order on Pl.'s Mots. for
Contempt (ECF No. 512) (Defs.' Resp.). On
March 20, 2018, Defendant David Allen responded to Mr.
Stile's objection. Def. David Allen's Resp. to
Pl.'s Obj. to Order on Mot. for Contempt (ECF No.
524) (Allen Resp.).
The Plaintiff's Motion and Defendants'
Stile claims that Corrections Officer Kelly Smith made
perjurious statements in her affidavit filed with the Court.
Pl.'s Mot. at 1-2 (citing Additional
Attachs. Attach. 24 Aff. of Kelly Smith (ECF
No. 433) (Smith Aff.)). Mr. Stile asserts that, for
this reason, the Court should hold Ms. Smith in contempt.
Pl.'s Mot. at 1. He highlights statements that
he alleges were perjurious for failing to accurately describe
an episode in which one or more of the Defendants deployed an
electrical device on him while extracting him from his prison
cell on January 5, 2012. Specifically, Mr. Stile points to
Ms. Smith's statement that Corrections Officer Walter
“Fails asked for and was given the handheld electrical
device by Lt. Jacques.” Id. (quoting Smith
Aff. ¶ 13). Mr. Stile asserts that by this
statement, Ms. Smith “attempted to place the blame of
her criminal actions of arming Corrections Officer Fails on
Lt. Jacques.” Pl.'s Mot. at 1. Mr.
Stile's assertion, which he clarifies in a later filing,
Pl.'s Obj. at 2-3, is that it was Ms. Smith, not
Mr. Jacques, who handed the electrical device to Mr. Fails.
Stile also scrutinizes statements by Ms. Smith that read:
“After another order to stand, Fails deployed the
handheld electrical device twice on Stile's upper thigh
for two short bursts, ” Id. (quoting Smith
Aff. ¶ 14), and “Stile was told to stand
again and he refused after which Fails deployed the handheld
electrical device in Stile's right upper thigh for one
short burst.” Pl.'s Mot. (quoting
Smith Aff. ¶ 15). According to Mr. Stile, these
statements “are refuted by the Video Exhibit #35 of
Defendants Video Exhibits that were submitted with their
motions for summary judgment.” Pl.'s Mot.
at 2. Mr. Stile further contends that the affidavit of
Defendant Jeffrey Jacques refutes Ms. Smith's statements.
Id. (citing Statement of Fact Attach. 3
Aff. of Jeffrey Jacques (ECF No. 435) (Jacques
Defendants, except Somerset County, Sheriff Delong, Allen,
Plourd, and Jacques, oppose Mr. Stile's motion and argue
that it should be dismissed solely on the basis that the
statute under which Mr. Stile purports to make his motion, 18
U.S.C. § 1623, is a criminal statute that does not
provide a private right of action. Defs.'
Opp'n at 2.
The Magistrate Judge's Order
order, the Magistrate Judge laid out some tenets of the
Court's contempt power, including its foundations and
that it is to be used sparingly. Order at 1-2. The
Magistrate Judge determined that, even if Mr. Stile's
assertions were accurate, a finding of contempt would not be
warranted because: (1) “there is no evidence of record
that either Defendant deliberately misrepresented a fact to
this Court”, and (2) “the record lacks any
evidence that would support a finding that any alleged
misrepresentation resulted in an obstruction of
justice.” Id. at 3 (citing S.E.C. v.
Pinez, 52 F.Supp.2d 205, 209 (D. Mass. 1999)). The
Magistrate Judge observed that issues of witness credibility
and accuracy of witness statements “can be
appropriately assessed at the fact finding stage of the
proceedings.” Id. The Magistrate Judge's
order also notes that Mr. Stile “does not have standing
to prosecute a charge under a criminal statute.”
Id. at 2 n.1.
The Plaintiff's Objection
Stile objects to the Magistrate Judge's order on the
basis that Ms. Smith's statements constitute deliberate
misrepresentations of fact to the Court and that the
statements were intended to and in fact did obstruct justice.
Pl.'s Obj. at 2-4. Specifically, Mr. Stile
believes that Ms. Smith handed the electrical device to
another officer who then deployed it on Mr. Stile.
Id. at 3. He suggests that by stating that someone
else transferred the device to the officer who ultimately
deployed it, Ms. Smith is seeking to shield herself from
liability. Id. at 4. Mr. Stile also accuses Attorney