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Radke v. County of Monroe

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

October 21, 2019

JAMES FRANCES RADKE, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF MONROE, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS [ECF NO. 6]

          Victoria A. Roberts United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         In November 2017, Plaintiff James Radke (“Radke”) crashed his car into a ditch in Monroe County. When officers arrived, it was clear from Radke's appearance, smell, and behavior that he was highly intoxicated. After Radke attempted but failed field sobriety tests, officers placed him under arrest. Radke refused to submit to a preliminary breathalyzer test or a chemical test to assess his blood alcohol level.

         Officers transported Radke to the nearest hospital and applied for a search warrant. Defendant Tod O'Lone (“O'Lone”), a “Magistrate” of Monroe County's 1st Judicial District Court, found probable cause to issue a search warrant for “the search and seizure of a blood sample from the body of [Radke].”

         A blood draw technician drew Radke's blood. The blood was sent to the Michigan State Police crime lab for analysis. The blood test results revealed that Radke's blood alcohol content was 0.222 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood - far above the legal limit to operate a vehicle in Michigan. Radke was charged in Monroe County with operating while intoxicated (“OWI”), third offense, and driving while license suspended.

         Radke filed a motion to suppress challenging the search/blood draw. However, before it was decided, Radke dropped the challenge, pled guilty to the OWI offense, and was sentenced to 210 days in jail.

         Now - in a 60-page complaint against the County of Monroe, the Chief Judge of Monroe County's 1st Judicial District Court (“Chief Judge Vitale”), and six “Magistrates” of that court - Radke seeks damages on behalf of himself related to the search and on behalf of a proposed class he seeks to represent. He claims that no magistrate has authority to issue search warrants because their appointments by Chief Judge Vitale were never approved by the Monroe County Board of Commissioners pursuant to Michigan Compiled Laws § 600.8501(1). Specifically, Radke says O'Lone issued an illegal search warrant, such that: (1) the blood draw constituted an unreasonable search and seizure in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights; and (2) he was deprived of his liberty and/or property without due process of law in violation of his Fourteenth Amendment rights.

         This case is an end run around what Radke should have done: challenge the search warrant in the context of his criminal case and pursue an appeal if necessary. He did not do this. Among other deficiencies underlying Radke's claims, the doctrine of res judicata bars this case.

         The Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [ECF No. 6] and DISMISSES this case with prejudice.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Defendants make numerous arguments in support of dismissal. The Court addresses those which are dispositive.

         A. The Magistrates Not Involved in Radke's Criminal Case

         Defendants say the five Magistrates other than O'Lone should be dismissed because they were not involved in Radke's underlying criminal case and Radke fails ...


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