United States District Court, D. Maryland
THEODORE D. CHUANG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
2014, Defendant Robert Nalley, then a judge on the Circuit
Court for Charles County, Maryland, ordered a deputy sheriff
to activate the "stun-cuf' worn by Plaintiff Delvon
King during a criminal trial in which King was the defendant.
The cuff sent thousands of volts of electricity through
King's body, causing him to collapse in the middle of the
courtroom and scream in agony. At the time that the cuff was
activated, King was addressing the court and was not a danger
to himself or others.
has now filed suit against Judge Nalley, seeking compensatory
and punitive damages under 42 U.S.C. S 1983 for violations of
his rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendmenss to the
United States Constitution. Pending before the Court is Judge
Nalleyss Motion to Dismiss the Complaint or, in the
Alternative, for Summary Judgment. Having reviewed the
Complaint and the briefs, the Court finds no hearing is
necessary. See D. Md. Local R. 105.6. For the
reasons set forth below, the Motion is GRANTED.
23, 2014, Judge Nalley was presiding over the jury selection
in State v. Delvan Louis King aka Saamir Jhaleed Khaleel
KingAli, No. 08-K-13~001347IN, a criminal case in the
Circuit Court for Charles County, Maryland in which King was
on trial. King, who was representing himself, initially
insisted that his name was Saamir Jhaleed Khaleel KingAli.
After Judge Nalley repeatedly asked King how he wished to be
addressed, King agreed to be referred to as "Mr.
KingAli." King then launched into a prepared argument,
asserting that the court lacked jurisdiction over him because
he is a Moorish American and an "aboriginal indigenous
man." Mot. Dismiss Ex. 2 at 5-7, ECF 11-2. When Judge
Nalley asked whether King had voir dire questions to
offer, King objected to the question, refused to respond, and
instead continued his argument that the court lacked
jurisdiction over him. Judge Nalley twice ordered him to
stop, but King did not comply.
was wearing a stun-cuff, a device meant to protect the public
from violent defendants by allowing security personnel to
apply a physically devastating electric shock from a
distance. After Judge Nalley ordered King to stop his
jurisdictionll argument to no avail, Judge Nalley directed
the deputy sheriff to activate the stun-cuff, instructing
him, "[D]o it. Use it." Compl. ~4, ECF No. 1. Up to
that point, King had not raised his voice, moved from counsel
table, or made any aggressive or threatening statements or
surge of electricity from the stun-cuff caused King to
crumple. He writhed on the ground, his muscles overwhelmed
with painful spasms, and screamed for several minutes. After
a recess, King had to continue his own representaiion while
still feeling the stun-cuff s effects.
actions that day, Judge Nalley was disqualified from serving
as a judge. Order, In re: The Honorable Robert C.
Nalley (Md. Sept. 5, 2014,, Mot. Dismiss Ex. 3, ECF No.
11-3. He was also charged in the United States District Court
for the District of Maryland with the criminal offense of
depriving King of his federally protected rights under color
of law, in violation of 18 U.S.C. S 242. Judge Nalley pleaded
guilty and was sentenced to 12 months of probation, a $5, 000
fine, and anger-management counseling. Judgment, United
States v. Nalley, No. 16-0023-WGC (D. Md. Mar. 31,
2016). This S 1983 suit followed.
Nalley has moved to dismiss this case under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) or alternatively, for summary
judgment under Rule 56. He argues that he acted in his
judicial capacity when he ordered the stun-cuff
s use and therefore should be protected from
suit by absolute judicial immunity. In opposing the Motion,
King asserts that Judge Nalleyss order to use a stun-cuff on
a non-threatening, pro se defendant was so
unreasonable that it cannot be deemed a judicial act subject
to the protection provided by judicial immunity.
defeat a motion to dismiss under Rule l2(b)(6), the complaint
must allege enough facts to state a plausible claim for
relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
A claim is plausible when the facts pleaded allow the Court
"to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. Legal
conclusions or conclusory statements do not suffice.
Id. The Court must examine the complaint as a whole,
consider the factual allegations in the complaint as true,
and construe the factual allegations in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff. Albright v. Oliver, 510
U.S. 266, 268 (1994); Lambeth v. Bd. of Comm 'rs of
Davidson Cty., 407 F.3d 266, 268 (4th Cir. 2005).
deciding a motion to dismiss, a court may "take judicial
notice of matters of public record" and may consider
exhibits submitted with the motion "so long as they are
integral to the complaint and authentic." Philips v.
Pitt Cty. MemlI Hosp., 572 F.3d 176, 180 (4th Cir.
2009). Should the court consider exhibits that do not fall
into either of these categories, the motion must be construed
as a motion for summary judgmen.. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d).
their briefs, the parties have submitted the following
exhibits: (1) the transcript of the voir dire
proceedings during which Judge Nalley ordered the stun-cuff s
use; (2) a video recording of the moment when the stun-cuff
was activated and its aftermath; and (3) the transcript of
Judge Nalleyss sentencing hearing in federal court. Each of
these exhibits may properly be considered on a motion to
dismiss. The transcript and video from the voir dire
proceedings are integral to King's Complaint, and neither
party has objected to their authenticity. The transcript is
also a court record subject to judicial notice. See
Philips, 572 F.3d at 180; see also Burgess v. Bait.
Police Dep't, No. RDB-15-0834, 2016 WL 795975, *3
n.3 (D. Md. Mar. 1, 2016) (taking judicial notice of an
official hearing transcript that was also integral to the
complaint). As for the sentencing hearing transcrip,, while
it is not integral to the Complain,, the Court will take
judicial notice of both the sentencing hearing and the
judgment in Judge Nalleyss criminal case. See Fed.