Sheriff's Department inadequately trained its police officers. The analysis applied to the DA's office applies with equal force to the Albany Sheriff's Department, and thus, the Sheriff's Department is also dismissed as a defendant in the instant action.
2. Assistant District Attorneys
When a § 1983 plaintiff seeks to impose personal liability on a state or local official, that official may be able to assert an immunity defense from prosecution. Martin A. Schwartz & John E. Kirklin, Section 1983 Litigation: Claims, Defenses and Fees § 9.1 (2d ed. 1991). Although most public officials are afforded only qualified immunity, some have been afforded absolute immunity. The Supreme Court has recognized that some public official functions are "special" in nature and thus, must be afforded absolute immunity from personal monetary liability. Buckley v. Fitzsimmons, U.S. , 125 L. Ed. 2d 209, 113 S. Ct. 2606, 2613 (1993) (quoting Butz v. Economou, 438 U.S. 478, 506, 98 S. Ct. 2894, 2911, 57 L. Ed. 2d 895 (1978)). One of these so-called "special functions" is prosecution. Prosecutors are absolutely immune from § 1983 liability when performing functions that are "intimately associated with the judicial phase of the criminal process," including but not limited to "initiating a prosecution and . . . presenting the State's case." Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 430, 96 S. Ct. 984, 47 L. Ed. 2d 128 (1976). Absolute prosecutorial immunity is based on the "concern that harassment from unfounded litigation would cause [the prosecutor to] . . . shade his decisions instead of exercising the independence of judgement required by his public trust." Id. at 423. The courts have limited absolute prosecutorial immunity to advocacy functions, reserving only qualified immunity for investigative and administrative functions. See Robison v. Via, 821 F.2d 913, 918 (2d Cir. 1987). Advocacy functions include, but are not limited to, deciding whether or not to prosecute a given case, plea bargaining, and carrying out factual investigations in preparation for a case. Martin A. Schwartz & John E. Kirklin, supra, at § 9.8.
In the case at bar, plaintiff has claimed that defendant assistant district attorneys Reilly, Preiser, and McLaughlin "conspired with the other defendants to subject the plaintiff to false arrest, false imprisonment, illegally excessive bail, malicious prosecution, illegal search and seizure [and] illegal confinement . . . in violation of the U.S. Constitution." (Complaint P 13).
Plaintiff specifically contends that defendant McLaughlin presented a "fabricated charge" and offered plaintiff a questionable plea bargain knowing that the prosecutor would not be able to prove the original charge, and that the said defendant with defendant Reilly, with full knowledge, nevertheless sent the charge to the grand jury for indictment after the plea was rejected by plaintiff. (Complaint P 15-16). Plaintiff further claims that defendant Preiser requested bail for plaintiff in excess of what a court order required. (Complaint P 18).
All these alleged actions made by defendant prosecutors were lawfully made within their prosecutorial capacity and were "intimately associated with the judicial phase of the criminal process." As such, the defendant prosecutors are entitled to absolute immunity from § 1983 liability, and therefore, defendants Reilly, Preiser and McLaughlin are dismissed from this lawsuit.
3. Sheriff Department Employees
Defendants Campbell and Whitaker have also moved to dismiss plaintiff's claims against them. An examination of their moving papers, however, reveal that they rely on evidence outside plaintiff's complaint -- i.e. affidavits -- and thus, the court considers the present motion to be made pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56.
Rule 56(c) provides that the court may grant summary judgment where there are no genuine issues of material fact for trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). If there are no genuine issues, the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. When the movant meets this standard, the opposing party must present sufficient facts to demonstrate that there exists some genuine issues of material fact in order to defeat the movant's motion for summary judgment. An issue is genuine if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 106 S. Ct. 2505, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202 (1986). The court must view the evidence in light most favorable to the party opposing the motion. See Lopez v. S.B. Thomas, Inc., 831 F.2d 1184, 1187 (2d Cir. 1987).
When the opposing party bears the ultimate burden of proof on a particular issue, such party may defeat a properly supported summary judgment motion by producing specific facts which demonstrate a genuine issue of material fact on that issue. See Montana v. First Federal Savings and Loan Assoc. of Rochester, 869 F.2d 100, 103 (2d Cir. 1989); see also Thompson v. Gjivoje, 896 F.2d 716, 720 (2d Cir. 1990). Here, plaintiff bears the ultimate burden of proof.
Defendants Campbell and Whitaker have advanced separate theories for their motion for summary judgment. Defendant Campbell contends that he should not be liable under § 1983 because he is being sued purely in his supervisory capacity. (Deft. Mem. at 4). He contends that because he had no personal involvement in the day to day activities of plaintiff Hall, and because § 1983 does not recognize respondeat superior liability, summary judgment should be granted in his favor. Defendant Whitaker, on the other hand, does acknowledge some personal involvement with the plaintiff; personal involvement occurred when he presided over a disciplinary hearing involving the plaintiff. It is defendant Whitaker's contention that although personal involvement was present during the disciplinary hearing, plaintiff was nevertheless afforded all of his constitutional protection, and thus, summary judgment should be granted in his favor. The court agrees with both of defendants' contentions.
Defendant Campbell has submitted an affidavit which evidences his purely supervisory involvement with plaintiff. (Campbell Affdvt. at PP 2,3,4). As previously stated, § 1983 does not give rise to supervisory liability. See Monell, 436 U.S. at 691, 98 S. Ct. at 2036. Thus, plaintiff will not be able to survive the present motion for summary judgment unless he submits some evidence which would create a genuine issue of fact as to the personal involvement of defendant Campbell. See Montana, 869 F.2d at 103; see also Thompson, 896 F.2d at 720. Even if the facts are looked at in light most favorably to plaintiff, plaintiff has failed to submit any such evidence, and thus, summary judgment must be granted in favor of defendant Campbell.
Defendant Whitaker, on the other hand, has acknowledged one instance where he was in fact personally involved with plaintiff. (Whitaker Affdvt. P 6). In his affidavit, defendant Whitaker states that his "only contact with inmate Robert Hall was to preside over a disciplinary hearing involving him." (Whitaker Affdvt. P 6). This fact does not affect the outcome of this case however, because plaintiff has, again, failed to put into evidence any facts which would dispute defendants contention that he, as the hearing officer, followed all procedural safeguards during the said proceeding. Such failure on plaintiff's part results in the dismissal of his claim against defendant Whitaker since there is no genuine issue of fact as to whether plaintiff's constitutional rights were violated in the case at bar.
For the stated reasons, the motions to dismiss made pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) by defendants Robert Ruggeri, Sue H.R. Adler, Charles Norfleet, Gerald P. Clark, New York state Office of Inspector General, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State Attorney General's Office/Department of Law are granted. Furthermore, defendants John Reilly, Cynthia Preiser, Sean McLaughlin, Albany County District Attorney's Office, and Albany County Sheriff's Department are dismissed pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), and defendants Donald Whitaker and James L. Campbell are dismissed pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated at Binghamton, New York
January 15, 1994
Thomas J. McAvoy
Chief U.S. District Judge