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Donaldson v. Nassau County Police Dep't 3rd Precinct

July 22, 2010

MARTIN DONALDSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NASSAU COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT 3RD PRECINCT, WILLINGSTON PARK*FN1, NY, JOHN CEFALU, SHIELD #1145, DETECTIVES JOHN DOES 1-4, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Seybert, District Judge

ORDER

Pending before the Court is the pro se Complaint of incarcerated plaintiff Martin Donaldson ("Plaintiff") against the Nassau County Police Department 3rd Precinct, Nassau County Police Officer John Cefalu and four unnamed detectives of the Nassau County Police Department 3rd Precinct alleging violation of Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment right against illegal search and seizure as protected by 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Accompanying the Complaint is an application to proceed in forma pauperis.

Plaintiff's request for permission to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED and, for the reasons that follow, the Complaint is sua sponte DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff's brief handwritten Complaint alleges that, on February 5, 2010, pursuant to two outstanding arrest warrants, Plaintiff's car was "boxed... in at the back of the Gladys Ave apartment complex" by Nassau County Police Officers including Defendant Detective John Cefalu in an effort to detain the Plaintiff who, together with his wife, was in the car. According to the Complaint, after the police identified the Plaintiff and his wife, they were each handcuffed and searched.*fn2 Plaintiff complains that "thay [sic] found a glass crack pipe residue and a green plastic bag with crack residue which was under the drivers seat and was not in 'Clear Site' [sic] of the police officers." Plaintiff alleges that the officers also found "two metal pieces of wire with residue in my pockits [sic]." As a result, Plaintiff was arrested and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. Plaintiff seeks an award of $3 million for unspecified damages.

DISCUSSION

I. In Forma Pauperis

Having reviewed Plaintiff's declaration in support of his application to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court finds that he is qualified to commence this action without prepayment of the filing fee. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). Accordingly, Plaintiff's request for permission to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED.

II. The Prison Litigation Reform Act

The 1996 Prison Litigation Reform Act, codified at 28 U.S.C. § 1915, requires a district court to dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint if the action is frivolous or malicious; fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i-iii); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a) & (b); Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007). The Court is required to dismiss the action as soon as it makes such a determination. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).

It is axiomatic that pro se complaints are held to less stringent standards than pleadings drafted by attorneys and the Court is required to read the Plaintiff's pro se Complaint liberally and interpret it to raise the strongest arguments it suggests. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 167 L.Ed. 2d 1081 (2007); Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 101 S.Ct. 173, 66 L.Ed. 2d 163 (1980); Pabon v. Wright, 459 F.3d 241, 248 (2d Cir. 2006); McEachin v. McGuinnis, 357 F.3d 197, 200 (2d Cir. 2004) ("[W]hen the plaintiff proceeds pro se,... a court is obliged to construe his pleadings liberally, particularly when they allege civil rights violations."). Moreover, at this stage of the proceeding, the Court assumes the truth of the allegations in the Complaint. See Hughes, 449 U.S. at 10; Koppel v. 4987 Corp., 167 F.3d 125, 127 (2d Cir. 1999).

III. Section 1983

Section 1983 provides that:

[e]very person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State... subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States... to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by ...


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