SIMPSON v. WEEKS
530 F.Supp. 196 (1977)
Lieutenant W. E. ("Sonny") SIMPSON, Plaintiff,
Gale WEEKS, Chief of Police, Little Rock, Arkansas; John C. Terry, Assistant Chief of Police, Little Rock, Arkansas; and Lieutenant Forrest H. Parkman, Officer, Little Rock Police Department, Defendants.
United States District Court, E. D. Arkansas, W. D.
February 25, 1977.
As Amended February 28, 1977.
John I. Purtle, City Atty., Little Rock, Ark., for plaintiff.
William R. Wilson, Jr., and Kaneaster Hodges, Jr., Newport, Ark., for defendants.
SHELL, District Judge.
This is a civil action brought by Walter E. ("Sonny") Simpson pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking a declaratory judgment, injunctive relief and damages to redress the alleged deprivation, under color of state law, of plaintiff's rights secured to him by the laws and Constitution of the United States. Jurisdiction in this cause is predicated upon 28 U.S.C. § 1343(3), (4), and 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201 and 2202.
Plaintiff Simpson is a lieutenant with the Little Rock, Arkansas Police Department. Defendant Gale F. Weeks is Chief of Police of the Little Rock Police Department (hereinafter L.R.P.D.), and defendant Forrest H. Parkman is a lieutenant with the L.R.P.D. Defendant John C. Terry retired from the position of Assistant Chief of Police, L.R. P.D., on January 14, 1977. At all times pertinent to this lawsuit plaintiff and defendants were serving in their official capacities as indicated above.
In his complaint plaintiff alleges that shortly before December 2, 1974 plaintiff and other officers of the Little Rock Police Department were served with subpoenas by the United States Marshal to appear as witnesses in the cause of Phillips, et al. v. Gale Weeks, et al., LR-72-C-26, before the Honorable G. Thomas Eisele, United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Arkansas. The trial in the Phillips case commenced on December 2, 1974 and the evidentiary phase ended on February 17, 1975. Plaintiff alleges that during the pendency of the above-referenced case defendant Weeks developed an unfounded belief that Lt. Simpson, while under compulsion of subpoena, provided information relating to the merits of the Phillips case to an attorney for plaintiffs in that cause. Plaintiff denies ever having given information to the attorneys for plaintiffs in the Phillips case. Lt. Simpson further alleges that as a result of defendant Weeks' baseless notion, these defendants, individually and as members of a conspiracy, have harassed, intimidated, and punished plaintiff in an attempt to harm his career as a Little Rock police officer. The gravamen of plaintiff's claim is his assertion that he enjoys an unfettered right as a subpoenaed witness in a United States District Court proceeding to confer with attorneys for parties, and punishment inflicted upon him by these defendants on grounds of a suspected exercise of this right constitutes a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Defendants specifically deny having harassed or punished the plaintiff, and further allege that as a Little Rock police officer plaintiff's right to confer with attorneys for parties during a United States Court proceeding is not absolute even though plaintiff may have been subpoenaed as a witness
for the purpose of those proceedings. An evidentiary hearing on these issues was commenced on Monday, February 14, 1977 and concluded on February 16, 1977. Oral arguments were heard on Thursday, February 17, 1977. Hereinafter follows the Court's findings of fact and conclusions of law.
FINDINGS OF FACT