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Parker v. Robenski

United States District Court, N.D. New York

July 1, 2015

DAVID PARKER, Plaintiff,
v.
INVESTIGATOR FRED ROBENSKI; DETECTIVE JEFF RACE, Oneida County; REBECCA DOYLE, Federal Probation Officer; INVESTIGATOR YOXALL; and POLICE OFFICER WILLIAMS, Defendants.

DAVID PARKER Plaintiff, Pro Se Allenwood Low Security Institution White Deer, PA.

OFFICE OF CORPORATION COUNSEL CITY OF ROME GERARD F. FEENEY, II, ESQ., TIMOTHY A. BENEDICT, ESQ., Attorneys for Defendants Robenski, Race, Yoxall, and Williams Rome, NY.

HON. RICHARD S. HARTUNIAN, CHARLES E. ROBERTS, ESQ., Ass't United States Attorney, United States Attorney for the, Northern District of New York, Attorneys for Defendant Doyle, Syracuse, NY.

MEMORANDUM-DECISION and ORDER

DAVID N. HURD, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

On September 26, 2011, plaintiff David Parker ("Parker" or "plaintiff") pleaded guilty in state court to criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree and began a five year term of imprisonment on that conviction. Less than a year into this prison sentence, plaintiff filed this pro se civil rights action against the City of Rome Police Department, Investigator Fred Robenski ("Robenski"), Investigator Thomas Yoxall ("Yoxall"), Detective Jeff Race ("Race"), Police Officer Williams ("Williams"), Federal Probation Officer Rebecca Doyle ("Doyle"), and Oneida County. Generally speaking, plaintiff alleges these individuals and entities violated his constitutional rights during the arrest that ultimately led to his plea of guilty.

Parker was permitted to amend his complaint on two occasions and, after Oneida County and the City of Rome Police Department were dismissed from this action, the remaining parties completed discovery.[1] Robenski, Yoxall, Race, Williams, and Doyle (collectively "defendants") have moved for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. The motions are fully briefed and will be considered on the basis of the submissions without oral argument.

II. BACKGROUND

The following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted. On July 14, 2011, the Honorable Daniel C. Wilson, Rome City Court, signed search warrants authorizing the search of Parker's person, vehicle, and residence for evidence related to the illegal sale of cocaine.[2] See Doyle's Motion for Summ. J., Ex. D, ECF No. 101-2, 27-30.[3] These search warrants were based, in part, on plaintiff's sale of cocaine to confidential informants working in the City of Rome. Id., Ex. B, ECF No. 101-2, 12-15.

On July 20, 2011, at approximately 3:34 p.m., law enforcement officers with the City of Rome Police Department caught up to Parker while he was driving his vehicle and stopped him so they could execute the search warrants of his vehicle and person. Plaintiff was transported to the Police Department and later arrested for possession of cocaine.[4] Benedict Aff., Ex. C, ECF No. 103-1, 28.

On August 17, 2011, a grand jury sitting in Oneida County returned an indictment charging Parker with six counts of felony criminal sale and possession of controlled substances in the third degree, N.Y. Penal Law ยงยง 220.16, 220.39, as a result of conduct that allegedly occurred on May 12 and 19, 2011. However, this particular indictment did not charge plaintiff for his alleged possession of any cocaine on July 20, 2011, the date of his arrest.

On September 26, 2011, Parker pleaded guilty before the Honorable Michael L. Dwyer in Oneida County Court to one count of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree in full satisfaction of the six-count indictment against him. See Doyle's Motion for Summ. J., Ex. G, ECF No. 101-3, 23-31 ("Transcript"). As relevant here, plaintiff admitted to selling cocaine in the City of Rome on May 12, 2011 to a cooperating witness who was working with the Rome Police Department. Id. at 24, 27-28. Notably, plaintiff's plea was also in full satisfaction of the cocaine possession charge resulting from his July 20, 2011 arrest:

THE COURT: Mrs. Paolozzi, for the record, would that plea to the first count be in full ...

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