918 F.2d 1017 (1st Cir. 1990), 90-1455, Celia v. O'Malley

Docket Nº:90-1455.
Citation:918 F.2d 1017
Party Name:Nicholas V. CELIA, Jr., Plaintiff, Appellant, v. William C. O'MALLEY and Joseph P. Gaughan, Defendants, Appellees.
Case Date:November 16, 1990
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

Page 1017

918 F.2d 1017 (1st Cir. 1990)

Nicholas V. CELIA, Jr., Plaintiff, Appellant,

v.

William C. O'MALLEY and Joseph P. Gaughan, Defendants, Appellees.

No. 90-1455.

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

November 16, 1990

Heard Sept. 11, 1990.

Page 1018

James A. Frieden, with whom Victor Aronow and Salon & Danis, were on brief, for plaintiff, appellant.

Roberta T. Brown, Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., with whom James M. Shannon, Atty. Gen., was on brief, for defendants, appellees.

Before CAMPBELL, Circuit Judge, COFFIN, Senior Circuit Judge, and SELYA, Circuit Judge.

LEVIN H. CAMPBELL, Circuit Judge.

Nicholas Celia appeals from the district court's dismissal of his complaint and denial of his motion to amend or reconsider. In his complaint, Celia alleged that the defendants, District Attorney O'Malley and Assistant District Attorney Gaughan, caused him to be tried in the state court for stealing 2.2 pounds of cocaine from the police drug evidence room without first having presented to the grand jury evidence linking him to that crime. Having been acquitted by the jury in the state trial, Celia brought this federal action against city and county officials under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983.

The district court dismissed Celia's claims in part because of defendants' prosecutorial immunity and in part because of plaintiff's failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. The pendent state claims alleging violation of the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act (Mass.G.L. c. 12 Sec. 11I), malicious prosecution, abuse of process, and slander were dismissed for lack of a viable federal question.

I.

In July of 1984, 2.2 pounds of cocaine, valued at $500,000, was discovered missing from the evidence room of the Brockton Police Department. The disappearance of the cocaine was widely reported in the press, and an investigation of the theft was conducted by the police. This investigation ultimately focused on Nicholas Celia, a police officer who had worked in the Narcotics Division and had served fifteen years on the force.

Celia contends that the unprofessional way in which the investigation was conducted combined with discrepancies in the evidence made it virtually impossible to identify the person responsible for the theft. The investigation, he says, was handled by members of the police force rather than an outside agency; lie detector tests were allegedly given only selectively to members of the department. Celia also asserts that the investigators attempted to alter or destroy evidence and ignored evidence favorable to him.

Celia argues that, after failing to resolve the questions surrounding the disappearance of the cocaine, city and county officials attempted to fabricate a case against him. Celia was unable to account for small amounts of marijuana and cocaine which he had checked out of the evidence room but which police records indicated he had not returned. District Attorney O'Malley and Assistant District Attorney Gaughan presented evidence to two grand juries seeking an indictment of Celia for theft of drugs from the police department. Celia alleges that the evidence they presented related only to these small amounts of illegal drugs, not to the disappearance of the 2.2 pounds of cocaine. The second grand jury returned an indictment against Celia for theft of cocaine generally between March 1, 1982 and August 31, 1984. 1

Page 1019

At the ensuing trial, the prosecution undertook to show that Celia was responsible for the theft of the 2.2 pounds of cocaine as well as of the smaller amounts of illegal drugs. After three days of trial, the jury acquitted Celia.

In his complaint under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983, Celia alleged that he was deprived of his liberty and property without due process of law and was deprived of his right to be free from prosecution without either a preliminary finding by a judge or a grand jury indictment. Celia also asserted pendent state claims for violation of the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act, malicious prosecution, abuse of process, and slander. The district court dismissed the complaint, denied Celia's motion to amend his complaint and for reconsideration of the dismissal, and entered judgment for the defendants. This appeal followed.

II.

Celia alleges that his civil rights...

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  • 37 F.Supp.2d 1371 (S.D.Ga. 1999), C. A. CV498-205, McClendon v. May
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 11th Circuit Southern District of Georgia
    • February 3, 1999
    ...with the judicial phase of the criminal process.' " Lyles v. Sparks, 79 F.3d 372, 377 (4th Cir. 1996); see also, Celia v. O'Malley, 918 F.2d 1017, 1019-20 (1st Cir. 1990) (holding that because presentation of evidence to a grand jury is at the heart of the criminal justice system, pros......
  • 55 F.3d 26 (1st Cir. 1995), 94-2281, Guzman-Rivera v. Rivera-Cruz
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
    • May 31, 1995
    ...including presentation of the state's case at trial). See also Buckley, --- U.S. at ----, 113 S.Ct. at 2614; Celia v. O'Malley, 918 F.2d 1017, 1019 (1st Cir.1990) ("a prosecutor enjoys absolute immunity from suit based on actions taken pursuant to his quasi-judicial function"). We......
  • 99 F.3d 1200 (1st Cir. 1996), 95-2216, Aversa v. United States
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
    • October 21, 1996
    ...criminal charges] can provide the 'plus' needed to satisfy the 'defamation-plus' test of Paul v. Davis." Celia v. O'Malley, 918 F.2d 1017, 1021 (1st Cir.1990). In any event, Aversa did not present this theory to the district court and we decline to consider [16] The characterizations o......
  • 840 F.Supp. 178 (D.Mass. 1994), Civ. A. 93-12389, Concannon v. Capuano
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 1st Circuit District of Massachusetts
    • January 20, 1994
    ...that a sufficient nexus must exist between the allegedly defamatory remarks and the constitutional deprivation. See Celia v. O'Malley, 918 F.2d 1017, 1021 (1st Cir. 1990) (finding that allegedly defamatory remarks and constitutional deprivation were closely connected in timing and substance......
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21 cases
  • 37 F.Supp.2d 1371 (S.D.Ga. 1999), C. A. CV498-205, McClendon v. May
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 11th Circuit Southern District of Georgia
    • February 3, 1999
    ...with the judicial phase of the criminal process.' " Lyles v. Sparks, 79 F.3d 372, 377 (4th Cir. 1996); see also, Celia v. O'Malley, 918 F.2d 1017, 1019-20 (1st Cir. 1990) (holding that because presentation of evidence to a grand jury is at the heart of the criminal justice system, pros......
  • 55 F.3d 26 (1st Cir. 1995), 94-2281, Guzman-Rivera v. Rivera-Cruz
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
    • May 31, 1995
    ...including presentation of the state's case at trial). See also Buckley, --- U.S. at ----, 113 S.Ct. at 2614; Celia v. O'Malley, 918 F.2d 1017, 1019 (1st Cir.1990) ("a prosecutor enjoys absolute immunity from suit based on actions taken pursuant to his quasi-judicial function"). We......
  • 99 F.3d 1200 (1st Cir. 1996), 95-2216, Aversa v. United States
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
    • October 21, 1996
    ...criminal charges] can provide the 'plus' needed to satisfy the 'defamation-plus' test of Paul v. Davis." Celia v. O'Malley, 918 F.2d 1017, 1021 (1st Cir.1990). In any event, Aversa did not present this theory to the district court and we decline to consider [16] The characterizations o......
  • 840 F.Supp. 178 (D.Mass. 1994), Civ. A. 93-12389, Concannon v. Capuano
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 1st Circuit District of Massachusetts
    • January 20, 1994
    ...that a sufficient nexus must exist between the allegedly defamatory remarks and the constitutional deprivation. See Celia v. O'Malley, 918 F.2d 1017, 1021 (1st Cir. 1990) (finding that allegedly defamatory remarks and constitutional deprivation were closely connected in timing and substance......
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