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Hawkins v. Kramer

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

May 7, 2019



          Kari A. Dooley United States District Judge.

         Preliminary Statement

         The plaintiff, Marquice Hawkins (“Hawkins”), is currently incarcerated at Carl Robinson Correctional Institution (“Carl Robinson”). He has filed an amended complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against three members of the New London Police Department and nine members of the Middletown Police Department regarding a search and seizure that occurred on October 7, 2013 in Middletown, Connecticut. For the reasons set forth below, the amended complaint is dismissed.

         Standard of Review

          Pursuant to 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.” Id. 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 a 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 and citations omitted). A complaint that includes only “‘labels and conclusions,' ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action' or ‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement, '” does not meet the facial plausibility standard. Id. (quoting 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 (2d Cir. 2009) (citations omitted).


          Detectives Christopher Kramer and William Pero and Sergeant Pickett of the New London Police Department and Detectives Jeffrey Laskowski, Robert Kraeger, Frederick Dirga, DeFrance and Rowland, Lieutenant Delmauro, Sergeants Petrulis and White and Officer Valentine of the Middletown Police Department are named as defendants. See Am. Compl. at 2-3, 11. At 12:30 p.m. on October 7, 2013, Detective Kramer informed officers in the Middletown Police Department that a stolen vehicle had been used in the commission of a home invasion in New London the previous evening and that the vehicle could be found at the Enterprise Rent-A-Car lot in Middletown, Connecticut. See Id. at 4 & 11 ¶¶ 1-2. At 1:35 p.m., as Hawkins attempted to return a rental car to the Enterprise lot, Middletown police officers stopped him to investigate the allegation regarding the stolen vehicle that had been used in the commission of the home invasion. See Id. at 4 ¶ 4. At the scene, officers forced Hawkins to lie face down “at rifle point.” See Id. Detective Laskowski handcuffed and questioned Hawkins “at rifle point” while he lay face down and other officers confiscated his cellular phone and $767.00 in cash. See Id. ¶¶ 5-6 & at 6 ¶ 21. An unidentified law enforcement officer placed Hawkins in a police car and held him “per New London Police Detectives request.” See Id. at 4 ¶ 5, 7. Detective Kraeger transported Hawkins to the Middletown Police Department. See Id. at 5 ¶ 8.

         Detectives Kramer and Pero interrogated Hawkins for four and one-half hours and then released him without charging him. See Id. ¶ 9. Before leaving the station, Hawkins requested the return of his telephone, money, shoes and jacket, but Detective Laskowski and unidentified New London Detectives denied his requests. See Id. ¶ 10.

         Hawkins walked home in the rain without his telephone, money, shoes or jacket, but returned to the station later that evening seeking the return of those items. See Id. ¶ 12. The officer on duty refused to return Hawkins' items of property. See id.

         Detective Kraeger initially seized his cellular phone and money and Detectives Pero and Kramer seized his jacket and shoes. See Id. ¶ 14. Detective Kraeger subsequently gave Hawkins' cellular phone to Detectives Pero and Kramer. See Id. at 4 ¶ 15. Hawkins' money was later seized under “asset forfeiture.” Id.

         Hawkins did not receive a receipt for his items of property. Id. at 6 ¶ 20. Hawkins alleges that his celluar phone is worth $500.00 and that he owes $1, 000.00 for the termination of his phone contract. See Id. ¶ 21.

         Detectives Kramer and Pero subsequently used the items of property seized from Hawkins on October 7, 2013 to secure a criminal conviction against him.[1]See Id. at 8 ¶ 35. As of the filing of the amended complaint, Hawkins had served four and one-half years of the sentence imposed pursuant to that conviction. Id. at ΒΆ 33. In his demand for relief, Hawkins seeks monetary damages, reimbursement for the items of his property seized by the defendants, termination of the defendants from their jobs, criminal ...

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