Federal Judge James Moody
has dismissed a lawsuit by The Justice Network
, a for-profit Memphis outfit that lost a long-running and lucrative probation services arrangement in Craighead County after the election of new judges.
We featured District Judges Tommy Fowl
er and David Boling
as visionaries for cleaning the judicial house of The Justice Network. Their probation services meant fines and fees and a cycle of debt for many misdemeanor offenders. The judges came up with a stopgap amnesty program. They allowed offenders to reset payment plans, entered new probation orders and deleted the Justice Network while forgiving court costs and fees.
The Justice Network sued in federal court to recoup fees it lost. It said its contract overrode the judges.
Judge Moody tossed their lawsuit out of court today. Moody said the judges were personally immune from lawsuit
because they were acting in their official capacity. He also dismissed the claim against Craighead County and the cities of Bay, Bono,
Brookland, Caraway, Cash, Egypt, Lake City and Monette. He said the judges were state employees and no liability could be stretched to the cities and county.
Finally, the judge wrote:
Plaintiff’s remaining claims for unjust enrichment, ratification and supervisory liability also fail. No supervisor or employee relationship exists between the judges and the City and County defendants. Plaintiff failed to state any facts which would support a finding that the City or County defendants had any authority or control over the judges. And, the probation services at issue were provided to the probation clients. Plaintiff has failed to state facts which demonstrate that the City or County defendants received something of value to which they were not entitled by the forgiveness of a debt owed by the probation clients to the Plaintiff
The Justice Network can appeal to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.