Friday, October 6, 2017
Traffic Violator Ejected From Federal Court Over Claim of State Court Irregularities
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A man who received a ticket for running a red light and contested it, then brought a civil rights action in U.S. District Court over purported irregularities in the state court proceedings which was dismissed, has lost his bid in the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to gain a reinstatement of his action.
Mark Darulis, a frequent litigator, sued San Diego Superior Court Traffic Commissioner Corinne Miesfeld, who handled two pretrial hearings in his case, and her clerk, Adrienne Banks, for purportedly violating his due process rights. He brought his action upon learning, while appealing his conviction and $535 fine (imposed by another judicial officer) to the Appellate Division, that there was no electronic recording of one of the hearings before Miesfeld.
As phrased in the joint brief of Miesfeld and Banks in the Ninth Circuit:
“Put simply, Darulis blames his conviction in the traffic case on Commissioner Miesfeld and Banks. Darulis speculates that the Commissioner ordered an electronic recording be erased to hide her purported errors from appellate review, namely her denial of Darulis’ motions to dismiss the case based on an alleged violation of his state statutory right to a speedy trial. As to Banks, Darulis asserts that she made errors in two minute orders from his arraignment….”
The Ninth Circuit on Wednesday affirmed the dismissal of the case by District Court Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo of the Southern District of California.
The memorandum opinion declared that Miesfeld enjoyed “judicial immunity because the challenged action was taken in Miesfeld’s judicial capacity” and Banks was shielded by “quasi-judicial immunity because the challenged actions were ‘an integral part of the judicial process.’ ”
The case is Darulis v. Gotts, 16-55328.
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