United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RASHEEN J. MCKAY, Plaintiff,
EAST HARTFORD POLICE DEPARTMENT et al., Defendants.
RULING GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS AND
REMANDING ACTION TO CONNECTICUT SUPERIOR COURT
JEFFREY ALKER MEYER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Rasheen J. McKay is in prison following his conviction in
Connecticut state court on a charge of assault. His
conviction stems from his arrest by police officers in East
Hartford, Connecticut, after they responded to a report of a
stabbing. Plaintiff has filed this civil rights lawsuit
against the police on the ground that they violated his
federal and state constitutional rights when they arrested
and prosecuted him in connection with this stabbing incident.
Defendants have now moved to dismiss the complaint.
conclude that most of plaintiff's claims are barred from
my review at this time under the rule of Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), which generally
forecloses the use of a federal civil rights action to attack
the validity of a state court conviction. Nor has plaintiff
established the prosecution against him was terminated in his
favor, which is required to allow him to proceed on his
claims of false arrest and malicious prosecution.
Plaintiff's claim that the police used excessive force
when they arrested him at gunpoint is otherwise defeated by
I will dismiss plaintiff's federal constitutional claims.
As for plaintiff's remaining claim under the Connecticut
Constitution, I will decline to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction and will remand the action to the Connecticut
Superior Court from whence it was once removed.
has filed this lawsuit against the East Hartford Police
Department as well as several of its police officers and
supervisory officials. The proposed amended complaint (Doc.
#28-2) sets forth the following facts that I accept as true
for the purposes of the motion to dismiss.
the afternoon of September 7, 2014, the police in East
Hartford, Connecticut, received a report of a fight. They
responded to the scene, encountered an alleged victim of a
stabbing, and accompanied the victim to the hospital. The
police then interviewed the victim as well as another
witness, and the victim made an identification of the
perpetrator from a photo array presented to the victim by the
police evidently decided that plaintiff was the perpetrator,
and they tracked him down that night at an apartment where
plaintiff was staying as an overnight guest of a woman who
lived there. The police threatened and intimidated the woman
to let them into her apartment without a warrant or her
consent, and they then found plaintiff in the bathroom where
they arrested him. The officer who found and arrested
plaintiff pointed his gun at him, telling plaintiff in
expletive-laced words to put his hands up or he would kill
was taken to the police station and charged with attempted
murder, first-degree assault, and breach of peace. According
to plaintiff, the police not only acted without any search or
arrest warrants but allegedly forged and signed the witness
statements that were the basis for his arrest.
year and a half after his arrest, plaintiff entered a plea of
guilty in Connecticut state court to second-degree assault
and for which he is currently serving a five-year sentence of
imprisonment. Plaintiff alleges that he pleaded guilty under
duress, because his attorney was not going to conduct a
proper pre-trial investigation and because he knew he would
not receive a fair trial. Plaintiff has since filed numerous
civilian complaints against the police, and he has also filed
a state habeas corpus petition that apparently remains
2016, plaintiff filed this civil rights lawsuit against the
police defendants in the Connecticut Superior Court in
Hartford. Defendants decided to remove the action to this
Court on the ground that it presented in part a federal
question of law under the U.S. Constitution. Plaintiff's
proposed amended complaint alleges pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 that one or more police officers violated his
rights under the Fourth Amendment to be free from false
arrest, malicious prosecution, unlawful search and seizure,
and the use of excessive force. Plaintiff also alleges violation
of his rights under Article First, § 7 of the
have moved to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), and
the principles governing my review of such a motion to
dismiss are well established. The Court must accept as true
all factual matters alleged in a complaint, and the
allegations of a pro se plaintiff's complaint
must be read liberally to raise the strongest arguments that
they suggest. See Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90,
101-02 (2d Cir. 2010). Nevertheless, a complaint may not
survive unless its factual recitations-even if liberally
construed-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) (same).
It is a
basic rule of our constitutional structure that the federal
courts do not have roving jurisdiction to review the
judgments of state courts. See Teichmann v. New
York, 769 F.3d 821, 826 (2d Cir. 2014) (per
curiam). This is especially true when a federal court is
invited to review the validity of a state court's
judgment in a criminal case. Although the federal courts have
long exercised authority pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 to
consider claims that state and local officials have violated
constitutional rights, that authority is curbed when a
plaintiff challenges the acts of police or prosecutors that
led to his conviction. A civil rights claim pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § ...