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GARCIA v. GRISANTI

January 26, 1998

LUIS GARCIA, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBERT GRISANTI and DAVID MORGANTE, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: HECKMAN

 This matter was referred to the undersigned by Hon. Richard J. Arcara, to hear and report, in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b). Defendants have filed a motion for summary judgment. For the following reasons, it is recommended that defendants' motion be granted.

 BACKGROUND

 The following facts are not in dispute. *fn1" On December 7, 1993, at approximately 1:40 a.m., Buffalo police officers Robert Grisanti and David Morgante, along with other members of the Buffalo Police Department, executed a search warrant at 254 Connecticut Street, third floor apartment, in the City of Buffalo. Grisanti entered the apartment with his shotgun drawn, and encountered the plaintiff in the apartment. As Grisanti approached, plaintiff grabbed Grisanti's shotgun and attempted to strike Grisanti with a steam iron. The shotgun discharged, causing injury to plaintiff's hand.

 Plaintiff was transported by ambulance to Millard Fillmore Hospital Emergency Room, where he was treated for his injuries. He was then released to the custody of the Buffalo Police. He was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal use of drug paraphernalia and criminal possession of a weapon, based on the results of the search conducted at the Connecticut Street residence. He was also charged with obstructing governmental administration based on his conduct during the search.

 On June 8, 1994, plaintiff entered a plea of guilty to charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree (N.Y. Penal Law § 220.18(1)), and obstructing governmental administration in the second degree (N.Y. Penal Law § 195.05). The plea proceedings were held in Erie County Court before Hon. Timothy J. Drury. Plaintiff was represented by counsel, and an interpreter was provided. During the proceedings, the following colloquy took place between Judge Drury and plaintiff:

 
Q. All right. Finally, you're also charged with obstructing governmental administration. The fifth charge, count, states at the same date, time and place you intentionally obstructed the administration of law or attempted to prevent a public servant, that is, Detective Robert Grisanti of the Buffalo Police Department, from performing an official function by means of intimidation, physical force or interference, that is, by attempting to strike Officer Grisanti with a steam iron and by grabbing a shotgun he was holding. Do you admit that you attempted to strike him with a steam iron and you grabbed the shotgun he was holding?
 
(Discussion off the record.)
 
A. I raised my arm when -- when he was pointing at me, I raised my arm like this.
 
Q. And what happened?
 
A. I was shot.
 
Q. Do you admit that you attempted to grab or did grab the shotgun he was holding?
 
A. Yes, I tried to -- I tried to sway to the side [of] the shotgun.
 
Q. Do you admit that you thereby obstructed the police officer in his duties as I've read ...

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