Daniel B. Norfleet, Plaintiff-Appellee,
Heather Renner, Defendant, Judy Farris, in her official and individual capacity, Defendant-Appellant.
Argued: May 2, 2019
from the United States District Court for the Middle District
of Tennessee at Nashville. No. 3:17-cv-01232-Waverly D.
Crenshaw, Jr., District Judge.
Beale Williams, FARRAR & BATES, L.L.P., Nashville,
Tennessee, for Appellant.
J. Baker, BAKER LAW GROUP, Charlotte, Tennessee, for
Beale Williams, Cassandra M. Crane, FARRAR & BATES,
L.L.P., Nashville, Tennessee, for Appellant.
J. Baker, Neil E. Barnes, BAKER LAW GROUP, Charlotte,
Tennessee, for Appellee.
Before: MOORE, SUTTON, and MURPHY, Circuit Judges.
SUTTON, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
Farris is a Tennessee judicial commissioner. She issued a
warrant for Daniel Norfleet's arrest based on an
affidavit from his probation officer saying that he had
violated his probation. Norfleet went to jail for several
months. A state court judge dismissed the warrant on the
ground that Tennessee commissioners lack authority to issue
such warrants. Norfleet sued Farris under § 1983,
alleging that she violated his Fourth Amendment rights by
issuing a defective arrest warrant. Farris moved for judgment
on the pleadings, arguing that judicial immunity shielded her
from the lawsuit. The district court denied the motion. We
January 2015, the Houston County Circuit Court in Tennessee
placed Norfleet on supervised probation for a six-year term.
With probation came restrictions, including that Norfleet
"not behave in a manner that poses a threat to others or
[him]self." R. 1-2 at 1.
probation officer Heather Renner thought Norfleet violated
that condition in September 2016. She prepared an affidavit
to that effect and presented it to Farris, the judicial
commissioner for Houston County. Farris issued a warrant for
Norfleet's arrest. Police officers arrested Norfleet and
took him to the Houston County jail. There he stayed until
February 7, 2017, when a trial judge from the ...