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Turner v. Waldera

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

December 1, 2017

DUANE M. WALDERA, et al. Defendants.

          OPINION & ORDER


         Pro se plaintiff Roger Franklin Turner filed this lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Jackson County Sheriff Duane Waldera, Jackson County District Attorney Gerald Fox, and the Black River Falls Memorial Hospital, claiming violations of his constitutional rights arising out of his May 2016 arrest, eight-day detention at the Jackson County Jail and brief hospitalization due to the complications of morphine withdrawal. Now before the court are: (1) Gerald Fox's Motion to Dismiss (dkt. #7); (2) Duane Waldera's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (dkt. #21) and related Motion to Strike (dkt. #28); and (3) Black River Falls' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (dkt. #21). For the reasons that follow, the court will grant the motions to dismiss and for judgment on the pleadings, deny the motion to strike and direct entry of judgment in defendants' favor.


         I. Investigation, Arrest and Search

         In May of 2016, detectives from Jackson County were investigating Turner and other individuals for a possible, clandestine drug laboratory. Their investigation included interviews of two informants, Rebecca Davis and John Rose. Defendant Duane Waldera apparently learned about the investigation before Turner's subsequent arrest, but nothing suggests that the sheriff was personally involved in the investigation or arrest. The contemporaneous police report included a statement from Jackson County's investigating officer, Dana Schlicht, a supplement provided by Detective Adam Olson and a statement by Detective Nicholas Gray. Schlicht reported that on May 15, her informant Rebecca Davis reported that she lived at plaintiff Turner's residence, and while she was there, that Turner cooked methamphetamine in a small room. Specifically, Davis said that while not allowed in that room, she was able to see enough of the room to see chemicals and a big pot on the table. (Dkt. #24-2, at 3, 13.)

         Detective Olson's supplemental report on May 16 further states that Davis: (1) sent Officer Schlicht a text message saying that she saw someone come to Turner's residence and drop off items for Turner to “cook”; (2) gave officers pictures of the inside of Turner's house that showed fuel and salt; (3) provided officers with a box of materials she took from Turner's residence that included chemicals used for making methamphetamines and other narcotics; and (4) reported that Turner told her what he needed to make another drug called “Dilaulia.” (Dkt. #24-2, at 14, 15.) Detectives Olson and Gray also reported that they interviewed informant John Rose on May 16, who confirmed that Turner was making methamphetamine and another drug called “Dilaulah” at his residence. (Id. at 11, 16.)

         In his complaint, Turner alleges that on May 17, 2016, he drove to a friends' house, but as he arrived, a police car pulled up and an officer told Turner that he could not be there. After the officer asked Turner for an I.D., he provided his drivers' license. Without a warrant, the officer then arrested Turner and transported him to the Jackson County Jail, where Detective Olson interviewed him that same day. (Dkt. # 24-2, at 19-21.)

         During the interview, Turner signed a form waiving his Miranda Rights and did not object to a search of his residence. Turner also admitted that he used methamphetamine, but stated that he got it from a dealer. He also admitted to manufacturing methamphetamine, but claimed he had not done so since 1993. Turner further explained that he was actually performing experiments at his residence in an attempt to create biofuels, and that he only told other people that he was manufacturing again “to get close to them.” Detective Olson found Turner's description of his (allegedly former) manufacturing process to be consistent with the types of materials that the informant had reported seeing at his residence. Finally, Turner told Olson that he personally takes 60 mg of morphine three times a day to address bad back issues.

         The next day, May 18, a state court judge found Turner's arrest to be supported by probable cause that he had violated Wis.Stat. § 961.41(1m)e(1x), conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. (Dkt. #9.) Turner's complaint does not contain details about the basis for that finding, but defendant Fox attached in support of his motion to dismiss: (1) the May 18 Judicial Determination; and (2) a subsequently-filed Criminal Complaint. (See dkts. #9, #10.) In the Judicial Determination, the circuit court judge made the following findings:

• Detective Adam Olson, of the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, was investigating a potential methamphetamine laboratory.
• Olson concluded that Turner was manufacturing methamphetamine and possibly other narcotics at his residence.
• Olson learned that Turner had provided Kenneth Reinart with a “finished product” on May 16, 2016.
• Olson received further evidence of manufacturing from a confidential informant on May 16, 2016. The informant told Olson that chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine and other narcotics were taken from a small locked room inside Turner's residence. The informant gave Olson pictures of that room.
• On May 16, 2016, Detective Olson interviewed informant John Rose at the Jackson County Jail. Rose told Olson that he had seen Turner manufacturing methamphetamine about two weeks prior at Turner's residence. Rose also told Olson that he had purchased pseudoephedrine for Turner.
• On May 17, 2017, a search warrant was executed at Reinart's residence, and methamphetamine, packaging materials, scales, and prescription pills were located.
• On May 17, 2017, a search warrant was executed at Turner's residence. Items located there included ephedrine, ether, stripped lithium batteries, glass funnels, glass beakers, tubing, coffee filters, methamphetamine pipes, and syringes and bags with residue of methamphetamine.
• Plaintiff Turner was then interviewed and would not say whether he was currently manufacturing methamphetamine, but admitted that he had done so in the past. He also bragged about his cooking methods, even observing that the materials he used to cook were consistent with the materials discovered in executing the search warrant.

(Dkt. #9, at 2.)

         II. Turner's Arrest and Time in Jail

         Once arrested and taken to the jail, Turner alleges that he was questioned and booked without phone privilege. He also alleges that despite having a morphine prescription to deal with pain experienced from old injuries for the past fourteen years, once jailed, he did not receive any morphine. As a result, Turner alleges that he began to feel morphine withdrawal symptoms the day after he was arrested, May 18, and even though his daughter brought morphine to the jail, he was not permitted to take it. That evening, Turner passed out and was taken to the Black River Memorial Hospital (“Hospital”). Turner alleges that the doctor there also would not give him anything for his morphine withdrawal; instead, the doctor gave him a “drug known to cause seizures, ” although Turner does not allege that he actually suffered a seizure.

         After Turner was transported back to the Jackson County Jail, he continued to experience symptoms of withdrawal, which included vomiting, diarrhea, and “an inability to eat, drink or sleep.” Turner alleges that he was not under any type of medical supervision for this “acute withdrawal” period, only receiving “4 Tylenol tablets over a 24 hour period.” ...

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