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Moore v. Bouffard

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

December 29, 2016

CHAUNCEY MOORE, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBERT BOUFFARD, et al., Defendants.

          INITIAL REVIEW ORDER PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

          Jeffrey Alker Meyer United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Chauncey Moore brings this civil rights action pro se and in forma pauperis to seek money damages against his federal probation officer and against two unnamed officers of the police department of Manchester, Connecticut. I conclude that plaintiff has not alleged plausible grounds for relief against his federal probation officer but that his claims against the police officers shall proceed, subject to plaintiff's filing of an amended complaint within 60 days that identifies the police officer defendants by name.

         Background

         The following allegations from plaintiff's complaint are accepted as true solely for purposes of the Court's initial review. On October 28, 2012, after plaintiff had been released from a term of federal imprisonment, he contacted his United States Probation Officer, defendant Robert Bouffard, about a place he might live while he completed his term of supervised release. He provided Bouffard with the name of a woman-ChiChi Hernandez-who resided in Manchester, Connecticut. Doc. #1 at 4-5 (¶ I). Bouffard approved Hernandez's home as plaintiff's place of residence. Id. at 5 (¶ II).

         On April 2, 2013, plaintiff contacted Bouffard and asked for permission to move to a new residence immediately. He stated that Hernandez had been verbally and physically abusive towards him, and that he had recently learned that Hernandez suffered from a mental health disorder and was on probation for fighting. He told Bouffard that he had found a new place to live and that he could move in as soon as he received his paycheck in a couple of days. He also stated that he wanted to stay with a friend until he could move to the new apartment.

         Bouffard warned plaintiff that he could not leave Hernandez's residence until the new residence had been approved by the probation office. Bouffard asked plaintiff to stay at Hernandez's home for a few more days until he could review and approve the new residence. Id. at 5-6 (¶ IV).

         In the meantime, on the morning of April 6, 2013, a neighbor called the police in response to a disturbance at Hernandez's residence. Hernandez had thrown a jar of spaghetti sauce, which broke when it hit the floor. Two Manchester police officers-defendants “John Doe #1” and “John Doe #2”-arrived at the residence. Doe #1 spoke to plaintiff about what had occurred, while Doe #2 spoke to Hernandez in a different room. Plaintiff told Doe #1 that Hernandez had not taken her medication and had been out all night smoking angel dust and drinking. Plaintiff, however, refused to tell Doe #1 that Hernandez had thrown the jar of spaghetti sauce. Doe #1 arrested plaintiff and transported him to the Manchester police department. Plaintiff was charged with assault in the third degree, and was detained. Id. at 6-7 (¶ VII).

         At plaintiff's arraignment in state court, a judge set bond at $10, 000. Federal officials subsequently lodged a detainer against him for violating his term of supervised release from his federal sentence. According to plaintiff, the federal detainer prevented him from being able to post bond to secure his release on the pending state charge. Id. at 7 (¶ VIII).

         On September 4, 2013, the Connecticut State's Attorney entered a nolle prosequi as to the assault charge. Plaintiff's public defender informed him that Hernandez had submitted a letter to the court stating that plaintiff had not assaulted her, and that the court had learned that Hernandez had a history of giving false statements. Id. at 7-8 (¶¶ IX-X).

         On September 6, 2013, marshals transported plaintiff to federal court for a hearing on the violation of his federal supervised release. Plaintiff alleges that the federal magistrate judge found no grounds to support a violation, because the Connecticut State's Attorney had chosen not to pursue the assault charge against him. Plaintiff alleges that the magistrate then lifted the detainer and ordered his release. Id. at 8 (¶ XI).

         After his release, plaintiff contacted Hernandez and asked why she had lied to the police. She responded that Doe #1 and Doe #2 had pressured her into stating that plaintiff had assaulted her. She explained that she accused plaintiff in order to avoid being charged with any criminal offenses or sent to jail. Id. at 8-9 (¶ XII).

         Almost two years later, in the summer of 2015, plaintiff was convicted in state court for resisting arrest, and this in turn brought him back to federal court for a charge of violating the conditions of his federal supervised release. Bouffard submitted a report in connection with the federal hearing, and plaintiff claims that the report included a number of false statements about plaintiff. Judge Chatigny found plaintiff in violation of his supervised release and sentenced him to one year of imprisonment followed by two more years of supervised release. See United States v. Moore, Case No. 3:03cr178(RNC), Doc. #187.

         Discussion

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), the Court must review prisoner civil complaints and dismiss any portion of the complaint that is frivolous or malicious, that fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. The Court must accept as true all factual matters alleged in a complaint, although a complaint may not survive unless its factual recitations state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. See, e.g., Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Mastafa v. Chevron Corp., 770 F.3d 170, 177 (2d Cir. 2014). Nevertheless, it is well-established that “pro se complaints must be construed liberally and interpreted to raise the strongest arguments that they ...


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