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Copley v. York Beach Police Chief

United States District Court, D. Maine

October 3, 2017

YORK BEACH POLICE CHIEF, et al., Defendants


          John C. Nivison, U.S. Magistrate Judge.

         In this action, Plaintiff Craig Copley alleges members of the Town of York Police Department arrested him unlawfully, and that members of the York County Sheriff's Office improperly permitted his transfer to Connecticut in violation of the applicable extradition procedure.

         The matter is before the Court on Defendants' motions for summary judgment. (Def. York County Sheriff's Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 54; Def. Chief of Police for the Town of York's Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 57.) Through their motions, Defendants contend summary judgment is appropriate because the record establishes that Plaintiff was arrested pursuant to a valid warrant and that Plaintiff's transfer was lawful.

         Following a review of the summary judgment record, and after consideration of the parties' arguments, I recommend the Court dismiss the Plaintiff's arrest-related claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Alternatively, in the event the Court determines the Court has jurisdiction to consider the merits of the claim, I recommend the Court grant Defendants' motions for summary judgment on the arrest-related claim. I also recommend the Court grant Defendants' motions for summary judgment as to Plaintiff's claim based on his extradition to Connecticut.

         Background Facts

         In support of their motions, Defendants have each submitted a record, including a statement of material facts, in accordance with Local Rule 56. Plaintiff has not filed an opposing statement of material facts, but Plaintiff signed his pleadings under penalty of perjury. The facts are derived from the statements of material facts and Plaintiff's verified pleadings.[1]

         Plaintiff's Pleadings

         According to Plaintiff's verified complaint, York Beach Police Department falsely arrested Plaintiff on October 14, 2014, based on an invalid probation warrant that issued due to Plaintiff's failure to report to his probation officer on February 25, 2014. Plaintiff maintains that in July or August 2012, he received an unconditional discharge that terminated the underlying probationary sentence. (Complaint at 3, ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff has further alleged that, following his arrest, an extradition hearing was scheduled, but before his hearing he “was unlawfully and illegally transported from [the] Alford [sic], Maine jail to Conn[ecticut].” (Id. at 5.) Through a motion to amend signed under penalty of perjury, Plaintiff further asserted that Defendants violated his right to travel. (Motion to Amend, ECF No. 16.)

         Defendants' Statements of Material Facts

         In support of the motions for summary judgment, Defendants cite a probation motion signed on February 25, 2014, by which the state of Connecticut charged Plaintiff with a probation violation. (York County Sheriff's Statement of Material Facts, Ex. D, ECF No. 56-1.) According to the motion, Plaintiff's term of probation started January 13, 2014, based on a Connecticut state court sentence that was imposed on December 18, 2013. (Id.) Plaintiff agreed to and signed the conditions of probation on January 15, 2014. The terms of probation provide that a probationer “must follow” specified conditions, including the condition that the probationer “[a]gree to return (waive extradition) from any other state, territory, or jurisdiction.” (Id. at 2, ¶ 5.) On March 4, 2014, the Connecticut Superior Court issued a warrant for Plaintiff's arrest based on an affidavit that described alleged violations of the conditions of probation. (Id. at 7 - 9.)

         On the evening of October 13, 2015, Plaintiff entered the Town of York Police Department and requested assistance with locating a place to spend the night. (York Police SMF ¶ 5, ECF No. 58.) The York Police Department has vouchers available to provide financial assistance to persons in need, but identification is required for participation in the program. (Id. ¶¶ 6, 8.) When dispatch ran a check of Plaintiff's name and date of birth, the search revealed an active Connecticut warrant for Plaintiff's arrest based on Plaintiff's alleged violation of probation. (Id. ¶ 14.) According to the available records, the warrant stated that extradition was approved for surrounding states. The record also included the name of Connecticut Parole Officer Bryan Sissick. (Id. ¶ 16.)

         York Officer Joshua Goddard contacted Parole Officer Sissick and informed him that Plaintiff was in Maine. (Id. ¶ 18.) Officer Sissick confirmed that there was a valid and outstanding warrant for Plaintiff's arrest for probation violations, and he advised that an official from Connecticut would travel to Maine to take custody of Plaintiff. (Id. ¶ 19.) Officer Christopher Gosselin also spoke with Officer Sissick, and Officer Sissick again confirmed that there was a valid and outstanding warrant for Plaintiff's arrest. (Id. ¶ 20.) Officer Sissick asked for Plaintiff to be detained to permit Connecticut Probation and Parole the opportunity to travel to York County Jail to take custody of Plaintiff. (Id. ¶ 23.)

         Officer Gosselin arrested Plaintiff as a fugitive from justice. (Id. ¶ 26.) Following the arrest, the York Police Department transported Plaintiff to the York County Jail for further processing and holding. (Id. ¶ 22.) Officer Gosselin completed the necessary arrest-related documents and informed the York County Jail that Officer Sissick would provide additional documentation from Connecticut. (Id. ¶ 29.) Defendant Chief of Police of the York Police Department was not present or involved in any way in Plaintiff's arrest or extradition. (Id. ¶ 31.)

         After Officer Gosselin delivered Plaintiff to the York County Jail, Plaintiff was booked as a fugitive from justice based on the Connecticut warrant and held until October 22, 2015. (Id. ¶ 2.) On October 14, 2015, the York County Jail received a twelve-page fax transmission from Officer Sissick, which transmission included a copy of the arrest warrant and a copy of the conditions of probation that provided for the waiver of extradition. Carl Ronco, a sergeant at the York County Jail, provided the documentation to the York County District Attorney's office, which confirmed that the waiver of extradition could be honored and that Plaintiff could be released to Connecticut without an extradition hearing. (Id. ¶ 8.)

         As Sheriff of York County, William King has final decision-making authority with respect to all policy and operational matters at the York County Jail. (Id. ¶ 10.) Sheriff King was not present when his officers released Plaintiff to Connecticut officials, and he did not participate in the decision to release Plaintiff to Connecticut officials. (Id. ¶ 11.) Sheriff King has no knowledge of any situations in which York County was found to have improperly released a detainee to out-of-state officials without following proper extradition procedures. (Id. ¶ 12.)

         York County Jail Policy and Procedure F-160, entitled “Inmate Grievance Policy, ” is the official policy of the York County Jail and was in effect at all relevant times. (Id. ¶ 13.) The grievance policy provides that an inmate may initiate a grievance for various reasons, including for the alleged violation of the inmate's civil, constitutional, or statutory rights. (Id. ¶ 14.) If an issue cannot be resolved informally, the grievance policy authorizes the inmate to file a written grievance, which will be forwarded to the jail administration for investigation and response. (Id. ¶ 15.) If an inmate is not satisfied with the response, the inmate may file an appeal, which the Sheriff will review. (Id. ΒΆ 16.) Finally, if an ...

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