IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF UTAHCENTRAL DIVISIONDEBRA JONES and ARDEN C. POST,individually and as the natural parents of Todd R. Murray; and DEBRA JONES, as personal representative of the Estate of ToddR. Murray, for and on behalf of the heirs of Todd R. Murray,Plaintiffs,
VANCE NORTON, Vernal City policeofficer in his official and individual capacity;et al.,Case No. 2:09-CV-730-TCDefendants.On April 1, 2007, after police officers’ high speed car chase and subsequent foot pursuitof Todd Murray on the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation (the Reservation), Mr. Murraysuffered a gun-shot wound to the head. Mr. Murray, who was twenty-one-years old and amember of the Ute Indian Tribe, died that same day in a local hospital. Mr. Murray’s parents andDebra Jones, Mr. Murray’s mother and the executor of his estate, filed this civil rights lawsuit,alleging that his death was caused by the unconstitutional acts of local law enforcement. Thismatter comes before the court on cross-motions for summary judgment. For the reasons set
forth below, the court finds that in all but one instance no unconstitutional violation occurred,and, in that one instance where a violation did occur, the officer is entitled to qualified immunity. The Plaintiffs also filed a motion for default judgment against the Defendants on the
basis of “Tampering and Destruction of Critical Evidence” or, in the alternative, spoliationsanctions. (Docket No. 258.) The court will address that motion in a separate order.
Case 2:09-cv-00730-TC-EJF Document 430 Filed 03/07/14 Page 1 of 71