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MICHELSON v. DALY

July 25, 1984

VERA MICHELSON and CAPITAL DISTRICT COALITION against APARTHEID AND RACISM, by its Chairman, MICHAEL DOLLARD, Plaintiffs, against PAUL DALY, AGENT IN CHARGE, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION; JAMES J. ROSE, SPECIAL AGENT, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, AND UNKNOWN OTHER AGENTS OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION; UNKNOWN NEW YORK STATE POLICE OFFICERS, THE COUNTY OF ALBANY; ALBANY COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY SOL GREENBERG; ALBANY COUNTY ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY JOSEPH DONNELLY; ALBANY COUNTY ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY JOHN DORFMAN; UNKNOWN OTHER ALBANY COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEYS; THE CITY OF ALBANY; THE CITY OF ALBANY POLICE CHIEF THOMAS BURKE; CITY OF ALBANY ASSISTANT POLICE CHIEF JON REID; CITY OF ALBANY POLICE LIEUTENANT WILLIAM MURRAY; CITY OF ALBANY POLICE DETECTIVE JOHN TANCHAK; UNKNOWN OTHER CITY OF ALBANY POLICE OFFICERS; Defendants; AARON ESTIS, Plaintiff, against PAUL DALY, AGENT IN CHARGE; FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION; JAMES J. ROSE, SPECIAL AGENT, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION; AND UNKNOWN OTHER AGENTS OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION; UNKNOWN NEW YORK STATE POLICE OFFICERS; THE COUNTY OF ALBANY; ALBANY COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY SOL GREENBERG; ALBANY COUNTY ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY JOSEPH DONNELLY; ALBANY COUNTY ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY JOHN DORFMAN; UNKNOWN OTHER ALBANY COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEYS; THE COUNTY OF ALBANY; THE CITY OF ALBANY; THE CITY OF ALBANY POLICE CHIEF THOMAS BURKE; CITY OF ALBANY ASSISTANT POLICE CHIEF JON REID; CITY OF ALBANY POLICE LIEUTENANT WILLIAM MURRAY; CITY OF ALBANY POLICE DETECTIVE JOHN TANCHAK; UNKNOWN OTHER CITY OF ALBANY POLICE OFFICERS, Defendants.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: MINER

ROGER J. MINER, D.J.

MEMORANDUM-DECISION and ORDER

 I

 In these actions joined for trial by order filed on January 24, 1984, the individual plaintiffs allege violations of constitutional rights stemming from their arrest, detention and prosecution and from the search of the apartment of plaintiff Vera Michelson and the seizure of certain items located there. Plaintiff Capital District Coalition complains of various constitutional violations relating to the free speech and associational rights of its members and to the seizure of its documents from the Michelson apartment. Plaintiffs seek compensatory and punitive damages, attorneys fees and injunctive relief, predicating their claims upon the provisions of 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, 1986 and 1988 and the first, fourth, fifth, eighth, ninth, tenth and fourteenth amendments to the United States Constitution. Plaintiffs also assert various state law claims and invoke the pendent jurisdiction of this Court as well as the federal question and civil rights enforcement jurisdiction afforded by 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1343.

 Named as defendants in the captioned suits are agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; officers of the New York State Police; the County of Albany, its District Attorney and certain Assistant District Attorneys; and the City of Albany, its Chief of Police and various City Police Officers. The actions are in the discovery stage and the information sought by plaintiffs includes disclosure of the name of a confidential informant known to one or more of the defendants. Before the Court is a motion by the federal defendants for a protective order, Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c), "directing that no party or witness in this action may disclose the identity of the confidential informant, or directing compliance with such other conditions as the court deems just and proper, aimed at preventing the disclosure or dissemination of such information." A previous motion for the same relief was denied with leave to renew.

 II

 The Springboks, a South African rugby team, was scheduled to play a rugby match at Bleecker Stadium, Albany, New York on September 22, 1981. Plaintiff Michelson, a resident of Albany, participated in organizing a demonstration to protest the South African policy of racial apartheid as symbolized by the team. On the evening of September 21, 1981, a search of her apartment, located in the vicinity of the stadium, was conducted pursuant to a warrant issued by the Albany Police Court Judge on the same day. Present in the apartment at the time of the search was plaintiff Estis, a resident of Cambridge, Massachusetts, who had come to Albany to join in the demonstration. The warrant authorized the seizure of weapons and other contraband. According to an inventory filed after the execution of the warrant, the following items were seized from the Michelson apartment at 400 Central Avenue in Albany:

 eight fire crackers

 five plastic containers each containing a quantity of marijuana

 one box of Remington 38 Special containing 35 live rounds of 38 special ammo

 one speed loader containing five live 38 special hollow points.

 one leather purse with shotgun shell holders attached.

 The complaints in these actions allege that documents and records belonging to the individual plaintiffs and to plaintiff Coalition, whose members were involved in initiating the protest rally, also were seized.

 Following the search and seizures, plaintiffs Estis and Michelson were arrested and charged with the offenses of possession of fireworks, in violation of N.Y. Penal Law § 270.00(2)(b)(i) and possession of marijuana, in violation of N.Y. Penal Law § 221.05. Apparently, another resident of the apartment, Michael Young, was arrested at the same time. Plaintiff Michelson alleges that she was held without bail until she was released from confinement on September 24, 1981 on a state writ of habeas corpus. Plaintiff Estis claims that he was incarcerated for six days without bail prior to his release. The charges against both plaintiffs were dismissed in Albany Police Court on December 8, 1981. Although plaintiffs claim that the defendants sought to prevent the playing of the rugby match and ...


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