United States District Court, D. Connecticut
JOSE L. FIGUEROA, Plaintiff,
TOWN OF NORTH HAVEN, et al, Defendants.
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
R. UNDERHILL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
April 19, 2017, Jose L. Figueroa-a prisoner at the
Willard-Cybulski Correctional Institution in Enfield,
Connecticut-filed a civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 against the Town of North Haven, the North Haven
Police Department, Detective Matthew Falcon, Delnacer Acosta
and Assistant State's Attorney Robert Mullins. Figueroa
amended his complaint on August 18, 2017. This order
addresses the Amended Complaint, Doc. No. 13.
Standard of Review
section 1915A of Title 28 of the United States Code, I 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. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Although detailed allegations
are not required, the complaint must include sufficient facts
to afford the defendants fair notice of the claims and the
grounds upon which they are based and to demonstrate a
plausible right to relief. Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). Conclusory
allegations are not sufficient. Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The plaintiff must plead
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
570. Nevertheless, it is well-established that
“[p]ro se complaints ‘must be
construed liberally and interpreted to raise the strongest
arguments that they suggest.'” Sykes v. Bank of
Am., 723 F.3d 399, 403 (2d Cir. 2013) (quoting
Triestman v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 470 F.3d 471,
474 (2d Cir. 2006)); see also Tracy v. Freshwater,
623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010) (discussing special rules
of solicitude for pro se litigants).
alleges that on December 8, 2014, North Haven police officers
responded to a report of a burglary at the Ryder Truck Rental
Company in North Haven, Connecticut. An employee of the
company stated that the batteries in five rental trucks had
been stolen. A videotape of the area where the trucks were
parked depicted a gray Honda CRV entering the unlocked gate
of the premises at 2:30 a.m. on December 8, 2014. The
videotape also showed someone getting out of the car and
removing items from the rental trucks.
April 15, 2015, New Haven, North Haven, and Clinton police
officers executed a search warrant at 208 Chatham Street in
New Haven, Connecticut in connection with a burglary
investigation. Delnacer Acosta lived in a residence next door
and was a suspect in many burglaries committed in various
towns and cities in Connecticut. In connection with the
search executed at 208 Chatham Street, New Haven Police
Detective Ingles made contact with Acosta and transported him
to the New Haven Police Department for interrogation.
New Haven Police Detective Ingles and North Haven Police
Detective Falcon participated in the interrogation of Acosta.
During the interrogation, Acosta confessed to being involved
in stealing batteries from the Ryder trucks on December 8,
2014. At the time, he was driving a (stolen) gray Honda CRV.
Acosta stated that Figueroa and two other persons accompanied
him in the car and were also involved in stealing the truck
batteries. Acosta indicated that they had scrapped the
batteries for cash.
claims that Detective Falcon did not make any efforts to
substantiate Acosta's statements regarding Figueroa's
involvement in the burglary of the truck batteries. Figueroa
contends that Detective Falcon knew or should have known that
Acosta was a convicted felon and had a motive to falsely
identify Figueroa as also having been involved in the
November 11, 2015, Detective Falcon signed an affidavit in
support of a warrant for Figueroa's arrest, and presented
the affidavit and an arrest warrant application to Assistant
State's Attorney Mullins for review. On November 17,
2015, Attorney Mullins signed the arrest warrant application.
Attorney Mullins submitted the arrest warrant application to
a state judge on November 19, 2015. The judge signed the
warrant for Figueroa's arrest that day.
claims that Detective Falcon's affidavit in support of
the arrest warrant was false or contained false statements
and that there was no probable cause for his arrest in
connection with the stolen Ryder truck batteries. At some
point between December 4, 2015 and December 9, 2015, police
officers executed the warrant for Figueroa's arrest on
charges of larceny and criminal trespass. Figueroa's bail
was set at $10, 000, which he could not post.
December 21, 2015, in State v. Figueroa, Case No.
CR-15-0285364-S, a prosecutor entered a nolle
prosequi with respect to all charges against Figueroa
stemming from the theft of the Ryder truck batteries.
Figueroa claims that on January 21, 2017, a judge formally
dismissed all criminal charges in the case.
asserts both federal and state claims against the defendants.
He alleges that the defendants violated the Fourth and
Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution by
arresting him without probable cause and wrongfully depriving
him of liberty. He also claims that the defendants falsely
arrested him, falsely imprisoned him, maliciously prosecuted
him, intentionally inflicted ...