Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Fonvil v. County of Rockland

United States District Court, S.D. New York

January 8, 2018

VILAIR FONVIL, Plaintiff,
v.
THE COUNTY OF ROCKLAND, MICHAEL BONGIORNO, RORY J. BELLANTONI, PETER MODIFERRI, JOHN DOE #1, and JOHN DOE #2, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Vincent L. Briccetti United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff 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.

         Now pending is defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). (Doc. #3).

         For the reasons set forth below, defendants' motion is GRANTED.

         The Court has subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1367.

         BACKGROUND

         For 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 summarized below.

         I. Factual Background

         On 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.

         Following 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.

         On 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).

         According 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 mayoral candidacy.

         On 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).

         Plaintiff 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. ¶ 43).

         II. Procedural Background

         The D.A.'s Office filed two felony complaints against plaintiff, and he was later indicted by a Rockland County grand jury.[1] Plaintiff's first trial began in May 2002, and ended in a mistrial after his attorney was disqualified.

         Plaintiff 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 plaintiff's petition.

         After a 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.

         On 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 Court, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.