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Christopher Brown v. David A. Paterson

February 28, 2012

CHRISTOPHER BROWN,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
DAVID A. PATERSON, THE GOVERNOR OF R&R THE STATE OF NEW YORK, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Paul A. Crotty, United States District Judge:

USDC SDNY

ELECTRONICALLY

FILED

DOC #:

ORDER ADOPTING

On August 3, 2010, pro se plaintiff Christopher Brown ("Brown") instituted this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against seventeen defendants, alleging that he was subjected to an unreasonable search and seizure, false arrest and imprisonment, and malicious prosecution. On August 10, 2010, this Court referred the matter to Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman for general pretrial matters and dispositive motions.

On May 2 and May 24, 2011, eight defendants moved to dismiss Brown's complaint, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), for failure to state a claim, including: Francis D. Phillips, Assistant District Attorney Jessica M. Dovico, and Assistant District Attorney Steven Grasso (collectively, the "District Attorney Defendants"); Orange County Executive, Edward A. Diana; The Legal Aid Society of Orange County, Inc., Steven A. Baldino, Gary Abramson, and Dennis McCormick (collectively, the "Legal Aid Defendants"). Magistrate Judge Pitman directed Brown to respond to these motions, but Brown failed to do so. Notwithstanding the default, Magistrate Judge Pitman considered the motions to dismiss on their merits; and on December 27, 2011, he issued a Report and Recommendation ("R&R") recommending that the Court grant defendants' motions to dismiss in their entirety. Further, he recommended dismissing, sua sponte, Brown's claims against Judge Brockett. Brown did not file any objections to the R&R.

On December 13, 2011, seven additional defendants moved to dismiss the complaint, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), for failure to state a claim, including: Ramon Bethencourt, Matthew T. Byrne, Mr. Colon, David W. Franck, Patrick H. Gass, Matthew Johnson, and Mr. Mecocci (collectively, the "Police Officer Defendants"). Again, Brown did not oppose the motion. This motion is not addressed in the R&R, but this Court will consider the motion; and it will also address, sua sponte, Brown's claims against the last defendant, David Paterson, the former Governor of New York.

For the reasons that follow, the Court adopts Magistrate Judge Pitman's R&R in its entirety. The Court also GRANTS the Police Officer Defendants' motion to dismiss and, sua sponte, dismisses Brown's claims against defendant Paterson. Accordingly, the Court dismisses Brown's complaint in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

I.Facts*fn1

On May 20, 2009, Brown was released from prison into the custody of the New York State Division of Parole. On May 21, 2009, Brown moved into Room 15 of the Globe Motel, in Middletown, New York. On July 22, 2009, Middletown City Judge Steven Brockett signed a no-knock search warrant authorizing the search of Brown's motel room. The search warrant authorized the seizure of controlled substances and drug paraphernalia, and specified that the target was a 25-26 year-old, 5'6", 145-150 lbs, dark haired male known as "Cyrus." In executing the warrant, the police officers seized, inter alia, several loose pieces of crack cocaine, one bag containing sixteen small zip-lock bags of crack cocaine, five small zip-lock bags of crack cocaine, crack pipes, a digital scale, packaging materials, four razor blades, a "wire push rod with chore boy," and a letter and card with the name "Cyrys" written on each. Brown was arrested and charged with one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, and one count of criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree. Brown was arraigned in front of Judge Brockett and released on his own recognizance, pursuant to N.Y. Crim. Proc. § 180.80.

Police officers informed Brown's parole officer of Brown's arrest and the charges against him. Brown told his parole officer that he was not the intended target of the search warrant, but admitted that he was "complicit[ ] in the crime" and that "he and his girlfriend were both using and this is why the drugs/cocaine were in the room." (See Compl. Ex. E.) A parole warrant was issued for Brown's arrest based on Brown's parole violations, which included: (1) being arrested and charged with drug offenses on July 22, 2009; (2) possessing cocaine on July 22, 2009; and

(3) possessing drug paraphernalia on July 22, 2009. (See Compl. Ex. E.) On August 18, 2009, Brown was arrested on the parole warrant and subsequently charged with resisting arrest. Dennis McCormick, a staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society, was assigned to defend Brown.

On February 9, 2010, Brown pled guilty to resisting arrest and agreed to a sentence of nine months in exchange for dismissal of all other charges. On February 9 and 23, 2010, Brown entered Freedom of Information Law ("FOIL") Requests to the City Court of Middletown and the Orange County District Attorney's Office, requesting the affidavit which supported the search warrant executed on his motel room. On March 2 and 3, 2010, Brown's requests were denied as exempt from FOIL disclosure because the affidavit was a judicial record and the warrant application was for law enforcement purposes, referenced confidential sources, and because the informant did not testify at trial.

II.Magistrate Judge Pitman's Report and Recommendation

Magistrate Judge Pitman thoroughly detailed Brown's factual allegations; and carefully reviewed the legal standard. He then addressed: (1) Brown's claims against the District Attorney Defendants; (2) Brown's claims against Orange County Executive, Edward A. Diana; (3) Brown's claims against the Legal Aid Defendants; (4) Brown's claims against Judge Brockett; and (5) any possible state ...


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