The opinion of the court was delivered by: VINCENT L. BRODERICK
VINCENT L. BRODERICK, U.S.D.J.
A petition for a writ of habeas corpus was filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 and 28 U.S.C. § 2254 on behalf of petitioner Samuel Brown, presenting arguments grouped into twenty-one (21) points, as grounds for requiring reversal of his 1984 state court conviction for felony murder, robbery and other crimes associated with the so-called Brinks robbery.
In my memorandum order dated October 16, 1992,
I found all but one of petitioner's arguments lacking in merit. I deferred decision on that argument for the reasons discussed in part IV of the memorandum order of October 16, 1992. This ground concerned alleged physical maltreatment of petitioner found by a state court to have occurred while petitioner was incarcerated at the Rockland County Jail.
Petitioner submitted no evidence to suggest that the alleged maltreatment affected the verdict in petitioner's trial, but argued that the Constitution mandates a remedy of some kind for behavior of this type.
To assist me in determining whether further judicial remedies were required to deal with the conduct found by the state court, I directed respondent to obtain information concerning current steps being taken to avoid the risk of recurrence of events of this type. A submission was made by the District Attorney of Rockland County which I direct be made part of the record together with the response of counsel for petitioner.
For the reasons which follow, I find that no further relief of a type I am empowered to grant on a habeas petition is required. Based on this conclusion and those set forth in the October 16, 1992 memorandum order, I deny the petition.
I recognized in part IV of my memorandum order of October 16, 1992 that an excruciating dilemma would be presented when if law enforcement authorities engaged in abuses of the type found by the state court here, even though such misconduct did not affect the outcome of a habeas petitioner's trial, if the result was that the judiciary was powerless to provide any remedy. Such a dilemma is not presented in this case.
Petitioner has brought two civil suits under 42 USC § 1983 growing out of the incident involved, filed respectively in 1983 and 1984: Brown v. Lindermann, et al., 83 Civ. 6174 (PLC), and Brown v. Solfaro, et al., 84 Civ. 7585 (PLC). These actions, which are still pending, provide a viable potential avenue for relief assuming petitioner's allegations can be established; § 1983 specifically provides for a party injured by violation of constitutional rights to have "an action at law [suit for damages], suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress." The habeas remedy of release might have been the sole possible remedy of last resort had fear, intimidation or other factors prevented a § 1983 action from being brought within applicable time limits.
Those conditions did not obtain; the incident involved did not affect the reliability of the trial verdict; and application of habeas relief would accordingly be inappropriate.
An institutional entity can, of course, be held responsible for misdeeds even where individual liability cannot be pinpointed. See Allen v. City of Yonkers, 803 F. Supp. 679 (S.D.N.Y. 1992). This is one reason why in part IV of my memorandum order of October 16, 1992 I called for a response from the ...