United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING AND ORDER
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Garlington (“Plaintiff”), incarcerated at the
MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield,
Connecticut, and proceeding pro se, has sued Susan
Clifford and Coldwell Banker Real Estate Agency
(“Coldwell Banker”) (collectively
“Defendants”) under 42 U.S.C § 1983 for
conspiring to violate his rights under the Fifth, Sixth, and
Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and under 42
U.S.C. § 1985.
ruling addresses a number of filings by the parties in this
case. Both Ms. Clifford and Coldwell Banker move to dismiss
the Amended Complaint. ECF No. 42, ECF No. 45. Mr. Garlington
has moved for the Court to reconsider its Order, dated August
20, 2017, denying his motion to file a second amended
complaint and a separate motion for a temporary restraining
order. ECF No. 53. Mr. Garlington also has moved to file a
second amended complaint. ECF No. 57. Finally, Mr. Garlington
has moved for the appointment of counsel, ECF No. 60, and for
injunctive relief. ECF No. 61.
reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS Ms.
Clifford's and Coldwell Banker's motions to dismiss.
The Court DENIES Mr. Garlington's motion
to amend and DENIES his motions for
reconsideration, appointment of counsel, and injunctive
relief as moot.
FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Garlington is currently serving a thirty-three year term of
incarceration for allegedly conspiring to murder Derek
Hopson, the ex-husband of Mr. Garlington's wife. Am.
Compl. at 19. Mr. Hopson allegedly married the mother of
former professional basketball player Ray Allen. Id.
August of 2005, Ms. Clifford's family friends, the
Dolans, allegedly met with Mr. Allen who had expressed
interest in purchasing the Dolans' home in Meriden,
Connecticut. Id. ¶ 4. In October 2006, Ms.
Clifford, who is a real estate broker with Coldwell Banker,
allegedly met with the Dolans, who had hired her to help sell
their waterfront home. Id. ¶ 5. Ms. Clifford
allegedly stood to gain a commission of over $240, 000 and
the Dolans would profit two-to-three million dollars, if Ms.
Clifford was successful in selling the Dolans' property.
Id. ¶ 5.
2007, Ms. Clifford's husband, Connecticut Superior Court
Judge Patrick Clifford, allegedly was assigned to preside
over Mr. Garlington's criminal case. Id. ¶
6. Judge Clifford allegedly is a basketball
“fanatic” and is acquainted with Mr. Allen and is
closely associated with the Dolans. Id. In August
2007, before Mr. Garlington's criminal trial, Mr. Allen
allegedly contacted Ms. Clifford to express his continued
interest in purchasing the Dolans' home. Id.
October of 2007, during jury selection for Mr.
Garlington's criminal trial, Ms. Clifford allegedly was
the subject of a private conversation between Judge Clifford,
the prosecuting attorney, and Mr. Garlington's criminal
defense attorney, surreptitiously recorded without their
knowledge. Id. ¶ 9. During this conversation,
Judge Clifford allegedly said that Ms. Clifford “better
start shaking the money tree” because the Cliffords
needed money to pay for their daughters upcoming wedding.
Id. Allegedly, Mr. Garlington's attorney
commented that, if Ms. Clifford helped sell the Dolans'
property to Mr. Allen, the Cliffords could collect the
commission for their retirement savings. Id.
November 2007, a jury convicted Mr. Garlington. Before his
sentencing, he allegedly hired a Boston law firm to represent
him in the criminal matter. Id. ¶ 11. Mr.
Garlington's attorney allegedly filed motions for Judge
Clifford to recuse himself from Mr. Garlington's case and
requested the case be tried again, due to the “lack of
an appearance of impartiality.” Id. ¶ 13.
In response to the motions, the prosecutor in the matter
allegedly submitted documentary evidence supposedly signed by
the Dolans, but that allegedly was forged by Ms. Clifford,
stating that Ms. Clifford would earn no commission, if she
sold the Dolan property. Id. ¶ 14.
Garlington's recusal motion was assigned to Connecticut
Superior Court Judge Robert Holzberg. Id. ¶ 15.
Mr. Garlington asserts that Judge Holzberg was biased against
Mr. Garlington because Judge Holzberg had convicted Robert
Santos, the person whom Dr. Garlington allegedly hired to
murder Mr. Hopson, the subject of Mr. Garlington's
criminal matter pending before Judge Clifford. Id.
Judge Holzberg denied Mr. Garlington's motion.
Id. ¶ 16.
Clifford allegedly sentenced Mr. Garlington to thirty-three
years' incarceration as retaliation for Mr. Garlington
having exposed Judge Clifford's financial conflict of
interest. Id. ¶ 17. Mr. Garlington further
alleges that, if Ms. Clifford's alleged act of forgery
had been revealed, “the wrongful conviction would have
been vacated and Dr. Garlington would be a free, innocent
man.” Id. ¶ 20.
Garlington alleges that the Connecticut Public Defender
Service appointed Theodore Koch to represent Mr. Garlington
in his habeas appeal. Id. ¶ 21. Mr. Garlington
maintains that Ms. Clifford had clandestine telephone
conversations with Mr. Koch, during which she allegedly
intimidated, coerced, and colluded with Mr. Koch, resulting
in Mr. Koch withdrawing from his representation of Mr.
Garlington. Id. ¶¶ 21-22. Mr. Koch
allegedly sent Mr. Garlington a letter, which stated:
When I told you I would take your habeas case, I did not know
Judge Clifford. Then he was assigned to be the Presiding
Judge of New London, and I got to know him from that. I know
that you and I have discussed your claims against him, and
you have somewhat tamped them down at my advice, but I do not
want to restrict you from making as powerful an attack
against your conviction as you wish to make. There arises a
sense of conflict of interest when I have cases before Judge
Clifford in which I am asking him to be as fair to my client
as possible, and on the other hand I am accusing him of
insidious corruption in a habeas. I don't think he would
handle that well, and my trial-level clients may suffer from
it. I hope you understand.
Id. at 32-33. Mr. Garlington maintains that Mr.
Koch's letter demonstrates that the Cliffords and
Coldwell Banker met with Mr. Koch to offer him an ultimatum,
i.e., either Mr. Koch withdraw his representation of
Mr. Garlington or Mr. Koch's “trial level clients
may suffer.” Id. ¶ 24.
Garlington maintains that Coldwell Banker colluded with Ms.
Clifford by enabling Ms. Clifford to forge documents under
its seal for the purpose of obstructing the due course of
justice. Id. ¶ 34.