820 F.3d 685 (4th Cir. 2016), 15-1110, Jones v. Chandrasuwan

Docket Nº:15-1110
Citation:820 F.3d 685
Opinion Judge:FLOYD, Circuit Judge:
Party Name:STANLEY JONES, Plaintiff - Appellant, v. LANNA CHANDRASUWAN; BRIAN HOLBROOK, Defendants - Appellees
Attorney:S. Luke Largess, TIN, FULTON, WALKER & OWEN, P.L.L.C., Charlotte, North Carolina, for Appellant. Joseph Finarelli, NORTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellees. Roy Cooper, North Carolina Attorney General, Kimberly D. Grande, Assistant Attorney General, NORTH CAROL...
Judge Panel:Before GREGORY, DUNCAN, and FLOYD, Circuit Judges. Judge Floyd wrote the opinion, in which Judge Gregory and Judge Duncan joined.
Case Date:April 28, 2016
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
SUMMARY

Plaintiff filed suit alleging claims for violation of his Fourth Amendment rights under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and for malicious prosecution under state law. The district court granted summary judgment for defendants, who are probation officers; denied supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff's malicious prosecution claim; and dismissed the malicious prosecution claim with prejudice. The court concluded... (see full summary)

 
FREE EXCERPT

Page 685

820 F.3d 685 (4th Cir. 2016)

STANLEY JONES, Plaintiff - Appellant,

v.

LANNA CHANDRASUWAN; BRIAN HOLBROOK, Defendants - Appellees

No. 15-1110

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

April 28, 2016

Argued December 8, 2015.

Page 686

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 687

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, at Greensboro. (1:13-cv-00385-WO-JLW). William L. Osteen, Jr., Chief District Judge.

ARGUED:

S. Luke Largess, TIN, FULTON, WALKER & OWEN, P.L.L.C., Charlotte, North Carolina, for Appellant.

Joseph Finarelli, NORTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellees.

ON BRIEF:

Roy Cooper, North Carolina Attorney General, Kimberly D. Grande, Assistant Attorney General, NORTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellees.

Before GREGORY, DUNCAN, and FLOYD, Circuit Judges. Judge Floyd wrote the opinion, in which Judge Gregory and Judge Duncan joined.

OPINION

Page 688

FLOYD, Circuit Judge:

Appellees Lanna Chandrasuwan (Chandrasuwan) and Brian Holbrook (Holbrook), both North Carolina probation officers, sought Appellant Stanley Jones's (Jones) arrest for allegedly violating conditions of his probation. This case raises questions regarding the application of the Fourth Amendment to the seizure of probationers. The district court granted Appellees' motion for summary judgment on Jones's Fourth Amendment claim, finding that they were entitled to qualified immunity. While we disagree with the district court's discussion at step one of the qualified immunity analysis, we affirm because the right at issue was not clearly established at the time Jones was arrested.

I.

In October 2009, Jones-at the time a teacher and North Carolina resident-was arrested and charged with two counts based on an inappropriate relationship with a student. While the charges were pending, Jones resigned and began working as a salesman for Prime Communications (Prime) in Greensboro, North Carolina. Jones was promoted twice and, in April 2010, transferred to a position with Prime in Augusta, Georgia.

On July 7, 2010, Jones returned to North Carolina and pleaded guilty in state court to two counts of taking indecent liberties with a student and was sentenced to a minimum of 6 months and maximum of 8 months in prison. The sentence was suspended, and Jones was placed on supervised probation for 24 months. As one of the conditions of his probation, the state court required that Jones pay $471.50 in court costs and fines pursuant to a schedule to be determined by his probation officer. The state court also allowed Jones to transfer supervision of his probation to Georgia if accepted by the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision (the Compact), an agreement between all 50 states allowing for the transfer of probation supervision of adult offenders between member states.

Under the Compact, the sending state-in this case, North Carolina-retains jurisdiction over the offender for purposes of probation revocation, and the receiving state-in this case, Georgia-supervises probation. Additionally, the sending state is responsible for collecting any financial obligations imposed, and, upon notification from the sending state that the offender is not complying with payments, the receiving state must inform the offender that he is in violation of the conditions of supervision.

The same day he entered his plea, Jones reported to a probation office in Greensboro and met with Judicial Services Coordinator Latonia Williams (Williams).

Page 689

Jones completed an application for transfer of supervision pursuant to the Compact. In the application, Jones agreed to reside at the residence listed until allowed by supervising authorities to change it, to comply with the terms and conditions of supervision placed on him by both North Carolina and Georgia, and that if he did not comply with those terms and conditions, such a failure would be considered a violation of probation and he could be returned to North Carolina. Williams and Jones disagreed about whether he would have to register as a sex offender, which could impact whether Georgia accepted his transfer application. Jones left to see his lawyer and Williams later determined that Jones would not be required to register as a sex offender.

The next day, Jones again met with Williams. Jones and Williams signed a DCC-2 form, which the North Carolina Department of Community Corrections (DCC) uses to set a schedule for payment of financial obligations.1 However, the DCC-2 form the parties signed was incomplete-it omitted information regarding the payment rate, due date, and the total amount of Jones's financial obligation. This information was apparently omitted because DCC had not yet received the criminal judgment, which is required to establish the parameters of supervision. The DCC-2 form was never completed.

Jones's application for transfer of his probation supervision was approved and Jones arrived in Georgia on July 13, 2010. The next day, North Carolina probation officers forwarded the terms of Jones's sentence to Georgia authorities through the Interstate Compact Offender Tracking System (ICOTS), a system facilitating communications between Compact member states' Compact offices. On July 15, 2010, Jones reported to the Augusta, Georgia probation office. Throughout Jones's residency in Georgia, there were no reported violations of his probation by Georgia authorities. In December 2010, Prime offered Jones a promotion to a position located in Savannah, Georgia. At Jones's request, Georgia probation officers transferred his supervision to a probation office in Savannah.

DCC policy requires that when a probationer is supervised in another state under the Compact, a review is undertaken 180 days before his discharge. In January 2012, DCC employee Jay Lynn (Lynn) conducted this 180-day review and determined that Jones had not paid any of the costs and fines required by the judgment. Lynn informed North Carolina Interstate Compact District Coordinator Karl Waller (Waller) of this and instructed him to confirm it with Holbrook, the chief probation and parole officer in Greensboro. After confirming with Holbrook that Jones had not paid his costs and fines, Waller sent a Compact Action Request on January 25, 2012 to the Georgia Compact office through ICOTS, requesting that Jones be instructed to pay the costs and fines by February 1, 2012. On February 4, 2012, the costs and fines remained unpaid and Waller completed a violation report, which Lynn approved, stating that Jones was in violation of the terms and conditions of his probation.

On February 9, 2012, Jones met with his probation officer in Savannah, who introduced him to the Savannah office's Compact representative. The Compact representative explained that she had received a notice from North Carolina that Jones had

Page 690

failed to pay his costs and fines. Jones indicated that he knew he still owed money, that the sum was due before his probation was terminated in July, and that he would check with his lawyer about arranging for payment. The same day, Waller received two responses to his Compact Action Request. The first stated that Jones had been instructed by his supervision officer to make payment and that Jones was going to contact his lawyer about the amount owed. The second response stated that Jones had been instructed to make his payment and that he stated that he would pay the balance by the end of the month.

On February 15, 2012, Waller returned Jones's probation file to Holbrook for " case management and collection of fines and court costs." J.A. 34. Holbrook forwarded the file to Chandrasuwan-a probation officer under his supervision in the Greensboro office-and instructed her to follow up with Jones. On March 8, Chandrasuwan attempted to contact Jones at two telephone numbers on file, but was unable to reach him. On March 12, Chandrasuwan prepared a violation report recounting that Jones had violated the conditions of his probation by failing to timely pay court costs and fines. The same day, Chandrasuwan attempted to notify Jones by mail of the need to contact her or return to the Greensboro probation office within two weeks to pay the outstanding fine. On March 26, when Chandrasuwan had not heard from Jones, she filed the March 2012 violation report with the clerk of court.

On March 27, Chandrasuwan's correspondence-which was sent to Jones's address in Augusta-was returned. The same day, Chandrasuwan prepared an addendum violation report stating that Jones had absconded and was avoiding supervision. Chandrasuwan and Holbrook reached this conclusion without contacting Compact officials or the Georgia probation office. Also the same day, Chandrasuwan appeared before a magistrate judge in North Carolina state court to secure an order for Jones's arrest based on his multiple probation violations.2 At the hearing, Chandrasuwan presented the violation report and addendum and the magistrate judge issued an order for Jones's arrest. Jones's file was then transferred to another probation officer to execute the arrest order.

On May 1, the United States Marshals Service arrested Jones at his home in Savannah and he was held in a Georgia county jail. The next day, Jones's wife paid the $471.50 in full. On May 7, Holbrook secured an order dismissing the probation violations and recalling the arrest order and transmitted the order to authorities in Georgia. Jones was released from custody on May 8. In in interim, Prime terminated Jones's employment because he could not work due to his arrest and incarceration. After a period of unemployment, Jones and his family moved back to North Carolina.

In...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP