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Coleman v. Rice

United States District Court, N.D. New York

January 28, 2015

ISA A. COLEMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
JOEY D. RICE; RICHARD J. DUMOULIN, JR.; WILLIAM PAOLOZZI; MARK SNYDER; DANIEL BERRY; and DOUGLAS COLLYER, Defendants.

ISA A. COLEMAN, Plattsburgh, New York, Plaintiff pro se.

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

MAE A. D'AGOSTINO, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

On December 4, 2014, pro se Plaintiff Isa A. Coleman commenced this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that Defendants deprived him of his civil rights under the Fourth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments. See Dkt. No. 1. Plaintiff alleged that Defendants Rice and Dumoulin conspired to falsely arrest and maliciously prosecute Plaintiff for criminal charges stemming from the alleged possession and sale of a controlled substance and that Plaintiff's related trial did not comport with due process. See id. at 3-8. In a December 9, 2014 Report-Recommendation and Order, Magistrate Judge Christian F. Hummel recommended that the Court dismiss the complaint in its entirety pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii). See Dkt. No. 5. Presently before the Court are Plaintiff's objections to Magistrate Judge Hummel's Report-Recommendation and Order and amended complaint. See Dkt. Nos. 7, 8, 9.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Magistrate Judge Hummel's Report-Recommendation and Order

In his December 9, 2014 Report-Recommendation and Order, Magistrate Judge Hummel granted Plaintiff's in forma pauperis application and recommended that Plaintiff's complaint be dismissed as barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), and for failure to state a claim. See Dkt. No. 5. Specifically, Magistrate Judge Hummel determined that the validity of Plaintiff's conviction and/or sentence would necessarily be called into question if Plaintiff were to succeed on any of his claims. See id. at 3-4. Magistrate Judge Hummel then concluded that Plaintiff's claims are barred by Heck because Plaintiff failed to allege that his conviction or sentence had been reversed on direct appeal or otherwise overturned. Id. at 4. Magistrate Judge Hummel further found that permitting amendment would be futile unless or until Plaintiff's conviction is invalidated. Id. Finally, Magistrate Judge Hummel recommended that Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel be denied as moot. Id. at 5.

The Court received Plaintiff's objections to the Report-Recommendation and Order on December 19, 2014 and Plaintiff's supplemental objections on December 22, 2014. See Dkt. Nos. 7, 8. On December 29, 2014, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint. See Dkt. No. 13.

B. Plaintiff's Objections and Amended Complaint

In his objections to Magistrate Judge Hummel's Report-Recommendation and Order, Plaintiff does not object to Magistrate Judge Hummel's conclusion that his claims regarding his criminal trial and conviction are barred by the Supreme Court's decision in Heck. See Dkt. Nos. 7, 8. However, Plaintiff asserts that as a result of Defendants' misconduct, in addition to the criminal charges discussed in Plaintiff's complaint, "identical" parole violation charges were filed against Plaintiff. See Dkt. No. 7 at 3. Plaintiff further asserts that the parole violation charges resulted in Plaintiff being denied the opportunity to post bail. Id. Plaintiff represents that his civil rights claims in fact "revolve[] around and stemmed from... the parole violation and dismissal." Id.

Plaintiff then filed an amended complaint, which adds claims against Defendants Paolozzi, Snyder, Berry, and Collyer, and which focuses on the proceedings related to his parole violation charges. See Dkt. No. 13.[1] In his amended complaint, Plaintiff states that he "do[es] not want to pursue the malicious prosecution claim for the criminal charges and conviction, " but rather seeks "to recover damages and relief for... prejudice, malicious prosecution, racial profiling, false testimony leading to an illegal arrest and false imprisonment due to conspiracy pertaining to the parole violation and dismissal." Id. at 1.[2]

Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that in February 2013, Defendant Rice showed a confidential informant a single photo of Plaintiff in a "highly and unnecessarily suggestive" identification procedure by which the informant identified Plaintiff as the seller in a controlled drug sale. Id. at 2. Plaintiff further alleges that when the police notified his parole officer, Defendant Paolozzi, of the pending criminal charges against Plaintiff, Defendant Paolozzi "began to racially profile [Plaintiff]." Id. Plaintiff claims that between February 7, 2013 and November 26, 2013 Defendant Paolozzi "made more home visits, changed [Plaintiff's] appointments from twice a month to weekly[, ]" and "secretly conspired with Clinton County Officials not telling [Plaintiff] of the pending charges and... the grand jury proceeding in which [Plaintiff] should have been notified to appear." Id.

Plaintiff further claims that in November 2013, Defendant Rice gave false testimony pertaining to the controlled drug sale before the grand jury, which led the grand jury to return an indictment and an arrest warrant to be issued against Plaintiff on December 12, 2013. Id. Plaintiff alleges that assistant district attorney Defendant Collyer knew that Defendant Rice's grand jury testimony was false at the time that Defendant Rice testified. Id.

On December 16, 2013, Plaintiff was arrested and detained at Clinton County Jail. Id. On December 23, 2013, a parole violation warrant was issued against Plaintiff based on the conduct charged in the indictment. See id. at 3. Plaintiff alleges that he was denied the opportunity to post bail as a result of the parole violation charges. Id. Plaintiff further claims that at a hearing on the parole violation charges on February 12, 2014, Defendant Snyder, a parole revocation specialist, "lied to the parole judge... [and] stated to her that [Plaintiff] was arrested in Clinton County on Feb. 7, 2013 when [Plaintiff] wasn't in Clinton County at all." Id. Additionally, Plaintiff claims that parole revocation specialist Defendant Berry introduced an untimely second parole violation report on March 21, 2014 in violation of Plaintiff's due process rights and further infringed on Plaintiff's due process rights by proceeding on that report in a parole violation hearing on April 16, 2014. Id. Plaintiff asserts that at the hearing, "[n]o evidence was found to violate [Plaintiff's] parole and the charges [were] dismissed with prejudice, " the warrant vacated, and the bail hold lifted. Id.

Plaintiff alleges that the above-described conduct violated Plaintiff's rights under the Fourth, ...


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