United States District Court, N.D. New York
OFFICE OF ZACHARY C. OREN ZACHARY C. OREN, ESQ., Attorneys
OF SYRACUSE CORPORATION TODD M. LONG, ESQ. COUNSEL, Attorneys
COUNSEL: ZACHARY C. OREN, ESQ., TODD M. LONG, ESQ.
MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER
D'AGOATING U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
commenced this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
alleging that several individuals and the City of Syracuse
violated his constitutional rights in connection with his
January 1, 2013 arrest and subsequent prosecution.
See Dkt. No. 1. Defendants filed an answer to the
complaint on January 23, 2015. See Dkt. No. 9.
before the Court are Defendants' motion for summary
judgment and Plaintiff's cross-motion for leave to file
an amended complaint. See Dkt. No. 28-36; Dkt. No.
38 at 19 n.18. On October 5, 2016, Plaintiff filed a
memorandum of law in opposition to Defendants' motion and
cross-moved for leave to file an amended complaint.
See Dkt. No. 38. On November 21, 2016, Defendants
filed a reply memorandum of law in further support of their
motion. See Dkt. No. 51-4.
December 31, 2012, at 11:23 p.m., multiple officers of the
Syracuse Police Department ("SPD") responded to the
fatal shooting of David A. Jones, II at 744 West Onondaga
Street in Syracuse, New York. See Dkt. No. 28-35 at
¶¶ 1-2. When SPD officers arrived at the scene,
they observed many dozens of people standing around the area.
See Id. at ¶ 3. SPD officers at the scene
interviewed several potential witnesses who gave descriptions
of the suspect. See, e.g., Dkt. No. 1 at
¶¶ 24, 38. One such officer, Officer John Nye,
identified a male at the scene named Jaquan Pridgen.
See Dkt. No. 28-35 at ¶ 5. Pridgen informed
Officer Nye that he was an eyewitness to the murder, see
Id. at ¶ 6, and that the perpetrator was "a
black male approximately 6'2" weighing 200lbs with
facial hair" who "was wearing an orange champion
hooded sweatshirt." Dkt. No. 28-2 at 2; see
also Dkt. No. 28-35 at ¶ 34. Similarly, Pridgen
informed Officer Joseph Taylor that he observed a
"20's black male approx. 6'02" tall, 200
lbs, wearing a [sic] orange 'Champion' hooded
sweatshirt." Dkt. No. 41-1 at 7. SPD Detective Tara
Galanaugh arrived at the scene at 11:45 p.m. and located
Pridgen as well as another eyewitness: Pridgen's sister,
Reonnia Grady. See Dkt. No. 28-35 at ¶ 7.
Pridgen and Grady were then transported to SPD's Criminal
Investigations Division where Detective Brian Williams
interviewed Pridgen and Detective Matthew Arduini interviewed
Grady. See Id. at ¶ 8.
station, Pridgen described the perpetrator to Detective
Williams as "approximately 25-30 years old,
5'07" - 6'00" tall, wearing a dark
orange/mustard orange sweatshirt with a large 'C' on
the front, and possibly wearing a half facemask or having
some type of facial hair." Id. at ¶ 33.
According to a narrative supplement prepared by Detective
Williams, Pridgen "said that he does not believe that he
would be able to identify the black male suspect if he saw
pictures" but "was willing to try." Dkt. No.
28-2 at 7-8. During her interview with Detective Arduini,
Grady described the suspect as "a dark skinned black
male wearing a mask over the lower portion of his face"
and a "'goldish/yellow' hooded sweatshirt with a
big 'C' on the front side of the shirt" who was
approximately 5'07" and "chunky" but not
"fat." Dkt. No. 28-35 at ¶ 41. According to a
narrative supplement prepared by Detective Arduini, Grady
"was unsure if she would be able to identify the
suspect, but added that she was will trying to try and would
further cooperate with the investigation." Dkt. No. 28-2
at 19. After their interviews, Pridgen and Grady were
transported home by the police. See Dkt. No. 1 at
approximately 9 a.m. on January 1, 2013, Pridgen and Grady
were transported by SPD officers back to the station. See
Id. at ¶ 35. There, Detective Christopher DeJoseph
interviewed and secured a statement from Pridgen, and
Detective Fred Lamberton interviewed and secured a statement
from Grady. See Dkt. No. 28-35 at ¶ 42. In his
sworn statement, Pridgen claimed that he "clearly saw
[the suspect's] face" and described the suspect as
"dark skinned with a goatee or beard." Dkt. No.
28-7 at 1. Pridgen also noted that "[a]fter the whole
thing happened some people were saying the guy had a mask on,
but I don't remember that." Id. Defendant
DeJoseph then showed Pridgen a photo array of six
photographs. See Dkt. No. 28-35 at ¶ 47.
Pridgen positively identified Plaintiff as the individual who
shot Jones. See Id. at ¶ 48. In his sworn
statement, Pridgen stated that he "recognized"
Plaintiff "right away" as the suspect after seeing
the photos. Dkt. No. 28-7 at 2. In her sworn statement, Grady
attested that she "did see [the suspect's]
face" and described the shooter as "a black male,
in his early thirties, 5'08" tall with a medium
build . . . wearing a [sic] orange in color hooded zip up
sweatshirt" which "had a large 'C' across
the chest area." Dkt. No. 28-35 at ¶ 53. According
to Defendant Lamberton's narrative supplement, Grady
"was certain that if given the opportunity she would be
able to identify the suspect." Dkt. No. 28-4 at 4.
Defendant Lamberton then showed Grady a photo array of six
photographs. See Dkt. No. 28-35 at ¶ 55.
According to her sworn statement, Grady "immediately
identified" Plaintiff as the person who shot Jones after
seeing the photos. Dkt. No. 28-6 at 2.
p.m. that same day, Officer Robert Teater and Sergeant John
Savage brought Plaintiff in for questioning, see
Dkt. No. 28-35 at ¶¶ 60, 68, where he was
interviewed by Defendants DeJoseph and Lamberton as well as
Detectives Rory Gilhooley and Daniel Walsh, see Id.
at ¶ 71. Plaintiff was then arrested and charged with
Murder in the First Degree, Attempted Robbery in the First
Degree, and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second
Degree. See Id. at ¶¶ 81-82. The arrest
report identifies Defendant DeJoseph as the arresting officer
and Defendant Lamberton as the assisting officer.
See Dkt. No. 28-3 at 1. Also according to the arrest
report, Plaintiff was 5'7", weighed 180 pounds, and
was 34 years old as of January 1, 2013. See Id.
Detective VanSlyke signed the felony complaint related to the
murder and weapon possession charges, and Detective Von
Knoblauch signed the felony complaint related to the robbery
charge. See Dkt. No. 28-35 at ¶ 84. The felony
complaints were received on January 2, 2013, see
id., and Plaintiff was arraigned in Syracuse City Court
on that same day, at which time he plead not guilty to all
charges, see Dkt. No. 28-22 at 16.
January 4, 2013, grand jury proceedings were held at the
direction of Chief ADA Matthew J. Doran. See Dkt.
No. 28-35 at ¶ 93. The grand jury indicted Plaintiff on
all counts. See Id. at ¶¶ 99-100. On April
25, 2013, the Honorable Thomas J. Miller presided over a
Wade/Huntley hearing concerning
Plaintiff's challenge to the admissibility of the
eyewitness identifications of Pridgen and Grady. See
Id. at ¶ 108. Judge Miller found "that the
People have met their burden of showing the reasonableness of
the police conduct and absence of suggestiveness of the
identification procedures." Dkt. No. 28-22 at 12-13. By
decision dated July 15, 2013, Judge Miller denied a request
by Plaintiff to dismiss or reduce the indictment, finding
that "the evidence presented to the Grand Jury was
legally sufficient to support the offenses contained in the
indictment, the proceedings were not defective and proper
legal instructions were given to the Grand Jury."
Id. at 6. On October 31, 2013, Plaintiff was
acquitted by a jury on all counts related to the murder of
Mr. Jones. See Dkt. No. 28-35 at ¶ 116.
Standard of review
may grant a motion for summary judgment only if it determines
that there is no genuine issue of material fact to be tried
and that the facts as to which there is no such issue warrant
judgment for the movant as a matter of law. See Chambers
v. TRM Copy Ctrs. Corp., 43 F.3d 29, 36 (2d Cir. 1994).
When analyzing a summary judgment motion, the court
"'cannot try issues of fact; it can only determine
whether there are issues to be tried.'" Id.
at 36-37 (quotation omitted). Moreover, it is well-settled
that a party opposing a motion for summary judgment may ...