United States District Court, D. Connecticut
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C.
JEFFREY ALKER MEYER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Jamarr Fowler was a prisoner in the custody of the
Connecticut Department of Correction at the time of the
filing of his complaint. He has filed a complaint pro
se and in forma pauperis under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against the City of Stamford and the State of
Connecticut's Department of Adult Probation - Court
Support Services Division (“CSSD”), as well as
four probation officers: Executive Director of Adult
Probation Steve Grant, Deputy Executive Director of Adult
Probation Gary Roberge, Chief Probation Officer Marvin
Parsons, and Chief Probation Officer Lorraine Rodriguez. Doc.
#1 at 1-2 (¶¶ 3-9). He seeks damages against
Stamford, the CSSD, and the four individual defendants in
their individual capacities. Id. at 2, 9. For the
following reasons, I conclude that the complaint should be
dismissed without prejudice.
following facts are alleged in the complaint and are accepted
as true only for purposes of this initial ruling. On July 30,
2015, Fowler appeared before the Connecticut Superior Court
in Stamford and pleaded guilty to forgery in the second
degree and interfering with an officer. Doc. #1 at 3 (¶
10). The court entered a three year suspended prison term, as
well as three years of probation. Ibid. Fowler had
entered into the plea under a stipulation that the probation
supervision would be transferred to his home State of New
York, which both the prosecutor and state court accepted.
Ibid. However, Fowler's probation was never
transferred to New York. Ibid.
September 15, 2015, Fowler traveled from New York City to
Stamford and met with Probation Officers Parsons and
Rodriguez and his attorney, Benjamin Aponte. Doc. #1 at 3
(¶ 11). Fowler notified Parsons and Rodriguez that he
was going to record their conversation, and both defendants
permitted the recording. Id. at 4 (¶ 12).
Parsons and Rodriguez then told Fowler that the state court
did not have jurisdiction to approve the plea deal as it did,
and that he must remain in Connecticut. Ibid. At the
time, Fowler had a pending criminal case in New York City and
had been released on bond. Ibid. The terms of his
bond release prohibited him from living outside the State of
New York. Ibid. When he informed Parsons and
Rodriguez that he could not remain in Connecticut because of
this condition, the officers told him that they
“didn't care about him violating the conditions of
his bond release” and again demanded that he stay in
Connecticut. Ibid. (¶ 13).
then informed Parsons and Rodriguez that he intended to
withdraw his prior guilty plea in Connecticut because the
terms of his plea agreement were not being met.
Ibid. (¶ 14). Parsons and Rodriguez immediately
threatened to “violate his probation if he even
attempted to let the judge know what they said and/or try to
[withdraw] his plea.” Id. at 4-5 (¶ 14).
In an attempt to fully understand the officers, Fowler asked,
“So let me get this straight. Y'all are gonna
violate me for probation for me wanting to exercise my legal
right to take my plea back because the terms of my plea
agreement [are] not being met, ” and both officers
answered in the affirmative. Id. at 5 (¶ 15).
The officers' statements were made in the presence of
Fowler's counsel and recorded on Fowler's iPhone.
following morning, September 16, 2015, Fowler called the
officers' supervisors, Grant and Roberge, and told them
about the threats made regarding his probation, which he had
recorded. Id. at 5-6 (¶¶ 16-18). When he
asked Grant and Roberge for their assistance, the officials
said to him, “We don't believe you. Our staff
wouldn't do such a thing, [and] there's nothing we
can do for you but [to] tell you to file a complaint with the
human resource[s] department if you feel that our staff has
done something wrong.” Id. at 6 (¶ 18).
that day, Parsons and Rodriguez charged Fowler with violating
the terms of his probation. Id. at 5 (¶ 16).
Fowler was arrested without ever being served with the arrest
warrant or any documentation explaining the reasons for the
charge. Id. 6-7 (¶¶ 19-20).
violation of probation hearing was held on November 4, 2015,
and concluded on November 19, 2015. Id. at 7 (¶
20). Following the hearing, the state court found Fowler
guilty of violating his probation and ordered him to serve
the three-year suspended sentence in prison. Ibid.
(¶ 21). Fowler's direct appeal and later habeas
challenges to his probation revocation have all been denied.
See State v. Fowler, 178 Conn.App. 332 (2017)
(rejecting claims on direct appeal), cert. to appeal
denied, 327 Conn. 999 (2018); Fowler v. Comm'r
of Correction, 2017 WL 3000706, at *1 (Conn. Super. Ct.
2017) (denying state habeas corpus petition); Fowler v.
Semple, 18cv86 (D. Conn. 2018) (denying federal habeas
corpus petition). Fowler has served the sentence and now
lives in New York. Doc. #8.
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court must review Fowler's
civil complaint against a governmental entity or governmental
actors and “identify cognizable claims or dismiss the
complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the
complaint-(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” Because Fowler is proceeding pro se,
the allegations of his 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).
recent years, the Supreme Court has set forth a threshold
“plausibility” pleading standard for courts to
evaluate the adequacy of allegations in federal court
complaints. A complaint must allege enough facts-as distinct
from legal conclusions-that give rise to plausible grounds
for relief. See, e.g., Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Notwithstanding the
rule of liberal interpretation of a pro se
complaint, a pro se complaint may not survive
dismissal if its factual allegations do not meet the basic
plausibility standard. See, e.g., Fowlkes v.
Ironworkers Local 40, 790 F.3d 378, 387 (2d Cir. 2015).
contends that Parsons and Rodriguez violated his First,
Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment Due Process and
Equal Protection rights by threatening to revoke his
probation for exercising his right to withdraw his plea, and
then carrying out that threat. Doc. #1 at 8 (¶ 22). He
is suing Grant and Roberge on the same constitutional grounds
for failing to take any corrective action when he notified
them about Parsons's and Rodriguez's actions.
Ibid. (¶ 23). Finally, Fowler is suing the City
of Stamford and the CSSD for failing to train and supervise
the other defendants. Id. at 8-9 (¶ 24).