Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

DUKES v. CITY OF NEW YORK

March 7, 1995

MARVEL DUKES, Plaintiff, against THE CITY OF NEW YORK, a municipal entity, NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT, OFFICERS: DETECTIVE DONALD GANNON, RONALD COTA, DAVID NIEVES, RONALD MORGAN, "JOHN" CAPELLI, THOMAS ROES, names unknown, Defendants.

Peter K. Leisure, U.S.D.J.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: PETER K. LEISURE

LEISURE, District Judge:

 This is an action brought by Marvel Dukes ("Dukes"), pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("§ 1983"), for false arrest and malicious prosecution in violation of plaintiff's constitutional rights. Plaintiff sues certain named police officers and the City of New York (the "City") in this action. *fn1" Defendants now move for summary judgment on the following grounds: (1) probable cause existed to support plaintiff's arrest; (2) plaintiff cannot prove that his prosecution was motivated by malice, ill will or spite; (3) plaintiff cannot plead or prove a violation of § 1983 on the basis of a failure to investigate; (4) detective Morgan is entitled to immunity; and (5) plaintiff cannot show municipal liability. For the reasons stated below, defendants' motion is granted.

 BACKGROUND

 The facts important to the instant motion are largely undisputed and are also susceptible of a succinct summarization. On July 15, 1990, plaintiff attended a party at which a fight ensued. See Memorandum of Law in Support of Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment ("Defendant Mem.") at 2. While trying to stop the altercation, Darryl Mecca ("Mecca") was shot in the head and later died from his wounds. Id. The party was videotaped by the host.

 Id. at 2.

 The police investigating the incident canvassed the area and obtained a description of the shooter. Defendant Mem. at 3. Detective Ronald Morgan ("Morgan"), who was assigned to the case on the morning of July 16, 1990, brought Cory Haynes ("Haynes"), a witness to the shooting, to the police precinct. Id. at 4. While there, Haynes viewed the videotape and identified plaintiff as the shooter. Id. Morgan prepared a photo array, and on July 21, 1990, Haynes identified plaintiff, from the photo array, as the shooter. Id. at 5.

 On July 27, 1990, Morgan brought plaintiff to the precinct. Defendant Mem. at 6. They arrived at approximately 1:00 p.m. Id. Plaintiff declined to give a statement to Morgan, other than to state that he had not killed Mecca. Id. At approximately 4:30 p.m., plaintiff appeared in a lineup, from which he was again identified by Haynes as the shooter. Id.

 Plaintiff's parents arrived at the precinct some time in the afternoon of July 27, 1990, and plaintiff maintains that they were told by Morgan that, if they brought witnesses to the precinct, he would interview those witnesses. Plaintiff's Memorandum in Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment ("Plaintiff Mem.") at 6. Plaintiff further contends that when his parents returned with several witnesses, after the lineup had been conducted, Morgan refused to speak with the witnesses. Id.

 On July 27, 1990, at 8:00 p.m., in the presence of Morgan, plaintiff made a statement to an Assistant District Attorney ("ADA"). Plaintiff Mem. at 6. He stated that he was innocent, that "Calvin" had killed Mecca, and he described the incident and named some witnesses to the shooting. Id. at 7. In addition, plaintiff confirmed that he was present at the party where the shooting occurred, that he was present at the altercation when Mecca was shot, that he stood directly in front of Mecca, that Mecca fell against him after being shot, that he had blood on his clothes, and that he fled the scene of the murder. Defendant Mem. at 8.

 At approximately 9:00 p.m., plaintiff was formally charged with Mecca's death. Plaintiff Mem. at 7. Plaintiff was arraigned on July 28, 1990, and was later indicted for the murder of Mecca. Defendant Mem. at 8. Morgan closed the investigation on July 28, 1990. Plaintiff Mem. at 7. Other than testifying before the grand jury, at a pretrial hearing, and at trial, Morgan had no further involvement in the prosecution of plaintiff. Defendant Mem. at 8.

 DISCUSSION

 I. The Standard for Summary Judgment

 Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that summary judgment "shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986); see also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986); Lang v. Retirement Living Pub. Co., 949 F.2d 576, 580 (2d Cir. 1991). Summary judgment "is appropriate only 'after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.'" Thornton v. Syracuse Sav. Bank, 961 F.2d 1042, 1046 (2d Cir. 1992) (quoting Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322); accord Irvin Indus., Inc. v. Goodyear Aerospace Corp., 974 F.2d 241, 245 (2d Cir. 1992).

 "In deciding whether to grant summary judgment all inferences drawn from the materials submitted to the trial court are viewed in a light most favorable to the party opposing the motion. The nonmovant's allegations are taken as true and it receives the benefit of the doubt when its assertions conflict with those of the movant." Cruden v. Bank of New York, 957 F.2d 961, 975 (2d Cir. 1992). "Only when no reasonable trier of fact could find in favor of the nonmoving party should summary judgment be granted." Id.; accord Taggart v. Time, Inc., 924 F.2d 43, 46 (2d Cir. 1991); see also Lang, 949 F.2d at 580 ("In determining how a reasonable jury would decide, the court must resolve all ambiguities and draw all inferences against the moving party."); Binder v. Long Island Lighting Co., 933 F.2d 187, 191 (2d Cir. 1991) ("Viewing the evidence produced in the light most favorable to the nonmovant, if a rational trier could not find for the nonmovant, then there is no genuine issue of material fact and entry of summary judgment is appropriate.").

 The substantive law governing the case will identify those facts that are material, and "only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment. Factual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary will not be counted." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. "The judge's function is not himself to weigh the evidence and determine the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.