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Hoegemann v. Palma

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

February 2, 2017

DONATO PALMA, ET AL., Defendants.



         Plaintiff, Richard Hoegemann, is incarcerated at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Institution. He brings this Complaint against Defendants, East Haven Police Officer Donato Palma and Connecticut Parole Officers Jennifer Desena, James Long, Frank Mirto, Randy Lagana, Michael Cardona, Kate Fortuna and Sheila Thompson. ECF No. 1. He has also filed a motion to appoint counsel. ECF No. 3. For the reasons set forth below, the Complaint will be dismissed in part and the motion to appoint counsel is DENIED without prejudice to renewal.


         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the Court must review prisoner civil complaints against governmental actors and “dismiss . . . any portion of [a] complaint . . . [that] is frivolous, malicious, or 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.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that a complaint contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).

         Although detailed allegations are not required, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotation marks omitted). A complaint that includes only “labels and conclusions, ” “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action” or “naked assertions devoid of further factual enhancement, ” does not meet the facial plausibility standard. Id. (internal quotation marks omitted) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 557 (2007)). Although courts still have an obligation to interpret “a pro se complaint liberally, ” the complaint must include sufficient factual allegations to meet the standard of facial plausibility. See Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 72-73 (2d Cir. 2009) (“Even after Twombly, though, we remain obligated to construe a pro se complaint liberally. . . . We conclude, nonetheless, that the amended complaint fails to state [a claim] . . . even under liberal standards of review for pro se pleadings.”)


         In November 2014, Mr. Hoegemann was allegedly serving a term of parole from his Connecticut criminal sentence. On November 26, 2014, Parole Officer Gregory Denote allegedly removed an electronic monitoring bracelet from Mr. Hoegemann's wrist because Mr. Hoegemann had exhibited good behavior. Compl. ¶¶ 1, 150, ECF No. 1.

         A. December 3, 2014 Incident

         On December 3, 2014, Mr. Hoegemann allegedly went to the New Britain parole office to return the equipment associated with the monitoring bracelet. Compl. ¶ 1. At the office, Mr. Hoegemann allegedly engaged in a conversation with Parole Officer Desena. Id. ¶ 3. Although Officer Denote had allegedly determined that Mr. Hoegemann no longer needed to be monitored using an electronic bracelet, Officer Desena allegedly instructed Mr. Hoegemann to be home at 7:00 p.m. that day to be fitted with a new electronic bracelet. Id. ¶¶ 5-6. Mr. Hoegemann allegedly informed Officer Desena that he had a court-ordered counseling session with a therapist in Hamden and his son's mother from 5:45 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. that evening. Id. ¶ 7.

         Later that day, Officers Desena and Long allegedly contacted Mr. Hoegemann and instructed him to be at his home at 8:00 p.m. that evening. Compl. ¶ 8. Mr. Hoegemann allegedly attended his counseling session that evening and stopped at a gas station on his way home. Id. ¶ 16. He alleges that he arrived at his home at 7:50 p.m. Id. ¶ 17. Officer Long allegedly arrived at Mr. Hoegemann's home at 8:40 p.m. and applied the monitoring bracelet to his ankle at 8:50 p.m. Id. ¶¶ 18-19.

         Immediately after Officer Long allegedly finished applying the monitoring bracelet to Mr. Hoegemann's ankle, Mr. Hoegemann alleges that he secured his residence and was preparing to leave for work with one of his employees. Compl. ¶ 21. He alleges that, before he was able to leave for work, he received a call from Officer Palma, who allegedly identified himself as an East Haven police officer and asked Mr. Hoegemann what he had been doing that evening and where he had been. Id. ¶ 21-23. Mr. Hoegemann allegedly informed Officer Palma that he had been at a court-ordered counseling session from 5:45 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and that he then returned home and was, at the time of the conversation, in the front yard of his residence with Parole Officer Long and getting ready to leave for work. Id. ¶ 24. Eventually, Officer Long allegedly also spoke to Officer Palma on the phone and allegedly confirmed Mr. Hoegemann's explanation of his whereabouts that evening before hanging up the phone. Id. ¶¶ 30-35.

         By the time Officer Long allegedly hung up the phone following the call from Officer Palma to Mr. Hoegemann, it was allegedly around 9:20 p.m. Compl. ¶ 37. Mr. Hoegemann alleges that he wanted to leave for work at that time, but Officer Long allegedly indicated that Mr. Hoegemann could not leave yet because Officer Long had to ask him a few more questions from Officer Palma. Id. ¶¶ 36, 39. Officer Long then allegedly asked Mr. Hoegemann whether he had been in East Haven at 8:00 p.m. Id. ¶ 40.

         Officer Palma allegedly called Mr. Hoegemann again at around 9:30 p.m. to speak to Officer Long. Compl. ¶ 44. Officer Palma allegedly told Officer Long that Officer Desena had given authorization to Officer Long to conduct a strip search of Mr. Hoegemann. Id. ¶¶ 44-46. Officer Long allegedly conducted this strip search in the front yard of Mr. Hoegemann's residence, in full view of his neighbor's residences and of Mr. Hoegemann's employee. Id. ¶ 47. Officer Long allegedly also searched Mr. Hoegemann's car at Officer Palma's request. Id. ¶¶ 50-51. After the completion of the searches, Officer Long allegedly informed Mr. Hoegemann that he was free to leave. Id. ¶¶ 52-54.

         Around 10:00 p.m. that evening, Mr. Hoegemann alleges that Officer Desena called him and informed him that she had had a long conversation with Officer Palma. Compl. ¶ 55. She allegedly informed Ms. Hoegemann that she had authorized the strip search and that Mr. Hoegemann could be searched anywhere at any time and that he should stop complaining. Id. ¶¶ 57, 59.

         B. Alleged Parole Violation and Detention

         On December 5, 2014, Officer Desena allegedly called Mr. Hoegemann around 9:00 a.m. Compl. ¶ 60. She allegedly inquired about where he was and what car he was driving. Id. Mr. Hoegemann alleges that he informed her that he was at work and still driving the same car as before. Id. ¶ 61.

         Officer Desena allegedly informed Mr. Hoegemann that he was not permitted to visit with his son and that all further visitation with his son was terminated until further notice. Compl. ¶ 63. When Mr. Hoegemann protested, Officer Desena allegedly threatened to find him in violation of his parole conditions. Id. ¶¶ 64-67.

         Later that day, Officer Desena allegedly called Mr. Hoegemman and instructed him to report to the Waterbury Parole Office at 3:00 p.m. that afternoon. Compl. ¶ 76-77. Mr. Hogemann allegedly arrived early for his appointment, around 2:30 p.m. Id. ¶ 83. Officer Desena and Officer Mirto allegedly informed Mr. Hoegemann that an individual had reported an alleged assault that occurred on December 2, 2014, which Officer Palma had reported to Officer Desena. Id. ¶¶ 84-85. Officers Mirto, Desena, Long, Fortuna, and Thompson allegedly took Mr. Hogemann into custody at around 2:45 p.m., based on an allegation that Mr. Hoegemann had violated the law. Id. ¶¶ 84-86, 89. Mr. Hoegemann was allegedly detailed at the New Haven County Correctional Center. Id. ¶ 95.

         C. Alleged Violation Hearing and Arrest Warrant

         On December 9, 2014, Mr. Hoegemann allegedly received a notice of a parole violation. Compl. ¶ 95. Mr. Hoegemann alleges that he refused to sign the notice because he thought the allegations were false. Id. ¶ 96.

         On December 22, 2014, Parole Officer Lagana allegedly went to Mr. Hoegemann's cell and informed him that a preliminary hearing regarding the alleged parole violation would take place that day. Compl. ¶¶ 97-98. Mr. Hoegemann alleges that he never received a notice of the hearing nor any documentation regarding the alleged parole violations. Id. ¶ 99. Officer Lagana allegedly informed Mr. Hoegemann that he was not entitled to notice of the hearing or documentation of the violations. Id. ¶ 100.

         At the hearing, Mr. Hoegemann alleges that he was not provided with any written documentation related to the hearing or the finding of probable cause with regards to the alleged parole violation. Compl. ¶ 102. Mr. Hoegemann alleges that he was not given the right to “confront adverse information being used to detain [him].” Id. At the conclusion of the hearing, officers allegedly transported Mr. Hoegemann to Cheshire Correctional Institution (“Cheshire”). Id. ¶ 104.

         On February 6, 2015, Officer Lagana allegedly visited Mr. Hoegemann at Cheshire. Compl. ¶ 108. Mr. Hoegemann alleges that he provided Officer Lagana with documents related to the alleged December 3, 2014 incident and Mr. Hoegemann's allegation that Officer Palma and Officer Desena “conspired with each other and altered dates from an alleged incident from Dec. 3rd, 2014 to Dec. 2nd, 2014, to falsely detain Plaintiff on a parole violation.” Id. ¶ 109. Officer Lagana allegedly reviewed these documents. Id. ¶ 110. Officer Lagana allegedly then informed Mr. Hoegemann that a final revocation hearing was scheduled to take place on February 19, 2015 and that violations of two conditions of parole were alleged: (1) “obey all laws and report any arrest” and (2) “statutory release.” Id. ¶¶ 111-12.

         Also on February 6, 2015, Mr. Hoegemann alleges that he received a letter from the Board of Pardon and Parole, indicating that the final revocation hearing would occur on February 19, 2015. Compl. ¶ 114. Mr. Hoegemann alleges that this notice did not indicate which conditions of parole he had allegedly violated. Id.

         1. Arrest Warrant

         On or around February 11, 2015, Officer Palma allegedly served Mr. Hoegemann with a arrest warrant for the assault that had allegedly occurred on December 2, 2014. Compl. ¶¶ 115-16. The arrest warrant affidavit allegedly included information about an assault that allegedly occurred at Robinson Aviation in East Haven, Connecticut on December 2, 2014. Id. ¶ 118.

         Mr. Hoegemann claims that the alleged assault actually occurred on December 3, 2014 and not on December 2, 2014. Compl. ¶ 119. He alleges that Officer Palma conspired with other defendants to intentionally change the date of the assault in the arrest warrant affidavit to December 2, 2014 because they knew Mr. Hoegemann could not have committed the assault on December 3, 2014. Id. ¶¶ 119-21.

         2. Final Revocation Hearing

         On February 19, 2015, Mr. Hoegemann alleges that he appeared before Parole Board Members Richards and Zaccagnin and Officer Lagana for a final revocation hearing. Compl. ¶ 122. The Board Members and Officer Lagana allegedly informed Mr. Hoegemann that the new criminal charge would need to be dismissed in order to show that there was no violation of the conditions of his parole and to reinstate his parole status and allow his release. Id. ¶ 123. Mr. Hoegemann alleges that the hearing was continued pending the disposition of the criminal assault charges. Id. ¶ 124.

         Mr. Hoegemann alleges that he subsequently learned that Nazia Rahman and Glen Evans allegedly made false statements to Officer Palma at the East Haven Police Department on December 3, 2014. Compl. ¶ 128. This allegedly false police report claimed that Mr. Hoegemann was involved in an altercation at Robinson Aviation at approximately 7:30 p.m. on December 3, 2014. Id. ¶ 131. Rahman and Evans allegedly also filed a separate complaint with the Hamden Police Department on December 3, 2014 indicating that on that day, they were in Hamden from 6:00 p.m. through 10:30 p.m. Id. ¶ 132.

         On March 17, 2015, Mr. Hoegemann allegedly prepared an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint against Rahman and Evans for their alleged false statements. Compl. ¶ 128. Mr. Hoegemann's attorney allegedly submitted the complaint to the East Haven Police Department. Id. ¶ 129. Officer Palma allegedly investigated Mr. Hoegemann's claim that Rahman and Evans made false statements about him. Id. ...

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