980 F.2d 850 (2nd Cir. 1992), 74, Roesch v. Otarola

Docket Nº:74, Docket 92-7281.
Citation:980 F.2d 850
Party Name:Carl H. ROESCH, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Lila OTAROLA, also known as Lila Calero, also known as Lila Roesch; Hans Probst; Gliceria Probst; Women's Center of Greater Danbury, Incorporated; F. Walter Schreiber, Individually and in his official capacity as police officer in the Police Department of the Town of Ridgefield, Connecticut; and Town of Ridge
Case Date:November 27, 1992
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Page 850

980 F.2d 850 (2nd Cir. 1992)

Carl H. ROESCH, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

Lila OTAROLA, also known as Lila Calero, also known as Lila

Roesch; Hans Probst; Gliceria Probst; Women's Center of

Greater Danbury, Incorporated; F. Walter Schreiber,

Individually and in his official capacity as police officer

in the Police Department of the Town of Ridgefield,

Connecticut; and Town of Ridgefield, Connecticut,

Defendants-Appellees.

No. 74, Docket 92-7281.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

November 27, 1992

Argued Sept. 3, 1992.

Page 851

Jerome Plottner, Forest Hills, N.Y. (Francis Thomas Daley, West Haven, Conn., on the brief), for plaintiff-appellant.

Geoffrey L. Squitiero, Bridgeport, Conn. (Maher & Murtha, Bridgeport, Conn., on the brief), for defendants-appellees Schreiber and Town of Ridgefield, Conn.

William M. Bloss, New Haven, Conn. (Jonathan Katz, Jacobs, Grudberg, Belt & Dow, New Haven, Conn., on the brief), for defendant-appellee Otarola.

Andrew S. Turret, Bridgeport, Conn. (David J. Robertson, Bai, Pollock & Dunnigan, Bridgeport, Conn., on the brief), for defendants-appellees Hans Probst and Gliceria Probst.

Before: FEINBERG, NEWMAN, and CARDAMONE, Circuit Judges.

JON O. NEWMAN, Circuit Judge:

In Singleton v. City of New York, 632 F.2d 185 (2d Cir.1980), cert. denied, 450 U.S. 920, 101 S.Ct. 1368, 67 L.Ed.2d 347 (1981), we held that a defendant granted an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal under New York law could not maintain a section 1983 action sounding in malicious prosecution. This appeal primarily raises the issues whether Singleton applies to bar (i) a section 1983 malicious prosecution claim by a plaintiff whose criminal case was terminated pursuant to Connecticut's accelerated pretrial rehabilitation program, Conn.Gen.Stat.Ann. § 54-56e (West Supp.1992), or (ii) a section 1983 action sounding in false imprisonment. These issues arise on an appeal by Carl H. Roesch from the January 31 and February 6, 1992, judgments of the District Court for the District of Connecticut (Warren W. Eginton, Judge) granting summary judgment for the defendants in Roesch's suit seeking damages for an arrest without probable cause. We affirm.

Page 852

Facts

Roesch filed a section 1983 action against Lila Otarola, his wife; Gliceria Probst, his wife's sister; Hans Probst, his brother-in-law; the Women's Center of Greater Danbury, Inc.; F. Walter Schreiber, a Ridgefield police officer; and the Town of Ridgefield. He claimed that various parties conspired to cause his arrest and incarceration without probable cause. He further claimed that various parties attempted to cause his probation to be revoked. The claim against the Women's Center was dismissed. Judge Eginton granted summary judgment in favor of the other defendants, resulting in separate judgments entered January 31, 1992, and February 6, 1992, from which Roesch appeals. 1

In 1986, Roesch was arrested pursuant to a warrant obtained by Detective Schreiber for breach of peace, harassment, and threatening after the Probsts filed a complaint. Roesch allegedly mailed offensive and harassing post cards to the Probsts and yelled obscenities at them in public. The State Court set bail at $100,000; appellant spent five days in confinement while trying to raise the money. Later, a state judge granted Roesch accelerated pretrial rehabilitation. Roesch was placed under the supervision of probation officer George F. Kain. As a condition of his rehabilitation, he was ordered to undergo psychiatric treatment and to stay away from the Probsts. While Roesch was on probation, his wife filed a complaint with the police and spoke with Kain several times; however, Kain never sought to revoke Roesch's probation. After Roesch successfully completed the two-year probationary period, the State Court dismissed the charges against him.

The District Court held, as a matter of law, that appellant could not maintain a section 1983 claim sounding in malicious prosecution, false arrest, or unjust imprisonment because a disposition pursuant to Connecticut's accelerated pretrial rehabilitation statute was not a termination in the appellant's favor. The District Court also found that Roesch had not suffered actionable injury, an element necessary for his claim based on events during the probationary period, because Kain never attempted to revoke his probation. The Court also held that there was no material issue of fact as to whether Schreiber had knowingly and intentionally, or with reckless disregard for the truth, included a false statement in the arrest warrant. Finally, the Court dismissed the conspiracy charge against all defendants; since the officer's actions were not in violation of the Constitution, there was no basis to find a conspiracy under color of state law.

Discussion

We held in Singleton that an "adjournment in contemplation of dismissal" pursuant to N.Y.Crim.Proc.Law § 170.55 (McKinney 1992) does not constitute a termination in favor of the defendant, which is necessary to permit a state court defendant to maintain a section 1983 action sounding in malicious prosecution. 632 F.2d at 193, 195. We reasoned that the New York procedure "leaves open the question of the accused's guilt," and provides a method for those charged (often first offenders) by behaving well and abiding by the judge's instructions during a designated period to demonstrate that the charges should not be pursued. Id. at 193-94. In addition, we noted that should we consider such a program to be a favorable disposition and allow the state court defendant to maintain a civil rights action, the program would be less desirable for the prosecutor because the issue of guilt or innocence would still have to be litigated in the civil context. Id. at 194.

The Connecticut program is in all material respects the same as the New York procedure. As in the New York procedure, a court may use the Connecticut program for those...

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