United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION AND ORDER
Vincent L. Briccetti United States District Judge.
Vilair Fonvil, proceeding pro se, brings this action
against defendants the County of Rockland (the
“County”), Michael Bongiorno, Rory Bellantoni,
Peter Modiferri, and two unidentified “John Does,
” alleging violations of his rights under New York
State law, and asserting claims under 42 U.S.C. §§
1983, 1985, and 1986. Additionally, plaintiff seeks
attorney's fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988.
pending is defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint
pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). (Doc. #3).
reasons set forth below, defendants' motion is GRANTED.
Court has subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1331 and 1367.
purposes of ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court accepts
all factual allegations in the complaint as true and draws
all reasonable inferences in plaintiff's favor, as
February 16, 2001, plaintiff was arrested in connection with
the Rockland County District Attorney's Office (the
“D.A.'s Office”) investigation into possible
election fraud. At the time, plaintiff was a mayoral
candidate in the Village of Spring Valley, New York.
his arrest, Plaintiff was “searched and
processed” by defendant Modiferri and the individuals
identified only as John Doe #1 and John Doe #2. (Compl.
¶ 10). Plaintiff then was taken to the Clarkstown
Justice Court, and charged with second degree criminal
possession of a forged instrument, and first degree offering
a false instrument for filing. Plaintiff alleges his arrest
was without probable cause.
February 21, 2001, Assistant District Attorney Rory
Bellantoni applied to the Rockland County Court for an order
directing plaintiff to provide handwriting exemplars.
Plaintiff alleges Bellantoni's application was without
probable cause, and was supported by a false statement that
the D.A.'s Office had an expert report opining that
“it was ‘likely' that plaintiff had a forged
a number of signatures, ” and “compelled
exemplars were the only form of [handwriting] samples that
would permit the expert to further her findings.”
(Compl. ¶ 31).
to plaintiff, Michael Bongiorno, then the Rockland County
District Attorney, was aware of Bellantoni's false
statement. Plaintiff alleges Bellantoni and Bongiorno knew
such statements would negatively affect the grand jury's
consideration of charges against plaintiff, and damage his
March 22, 2001, the Rockland County Court issued an order
directing plaintiff to provide handwriting exemplars. In
September 2001, the D.A.'s Office initiated contempt
proceedings to enforce the order. Plaintiff, “under
threat of jail, ” publicly admitted he was in contempt,
and spent “many hours” on October 1 and October
3, 2001, providing handwriting exemplars. (Compl. ¶ 36).
alleges defendants' actions “were motivated by
political considerations together with contemptuous disregard
for the rights of a significant and distinct ethnic group . .
. comprised of Haitian American voters.” (Compl. ¶
D.A.'s Office filed two felony complaints against
plaintiff, and he was later indicted by a Rockland County
grand jury. Plaintiff's first trial began in May
2002, and ended in a mistrial after his attorney was
petitioned the Appellate Division, Second Department, for a
writ of prohibition barring a second trial on double jeopardy
grounds. On October 7, 2002, the Second Department dismissed
retrial, plaintiff was convicted of four misdemeanor counts
of misconduct in relation to a petition in violation of
Election Law § 17-122(7). He was sentenced to a
conditional discharge and 100 hours of community service.
appeal, in a decision issued April 23, 2014, the Second
Department found that the verdict was against the weight of
the evidence, and reversed the judgment, dismissed the
consolidated indictment, and remitted the matter to Supreme