Briscoe v. Cnty. of St. Louis

Citation690 F.3d 1004
Decision Date29 August 2012
Docket NumberNo. 11–3034.,11–3034.
PartiesJohnny BRISCOE, Plaintiff–Appellant v. COUNTY OF ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI; Lane Hollandsworth, individually and in his official capacity as an officer of the St. Louis County Police Department; Stephen Deen, Sr., individually and in his official capacity as an officer of the St. Louis County Police Department; Jack Webb, individually and in his official capacity as an officer of the St. Louis County Police Department, Defendants–Appellees.
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)

690 F.3d 1004

Johnny BRISCOE, Plaintiff–Appellant
COUNTY OF ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI; Lane Hollandsworth, individually and in his official capacity as an officer of the St. Louis County Police Department; Stephen Deen, Sr., individually and in his official capacity as an officer of the St. Louis County Police Department; Jack Webb, individually and in his official capacity as an officer of the St. Louis County Police Department, Defendants–Appellees.

No. 11–3034.

United States Court of Appeals,
Eighth Circuit.

Submitted: June 14, 2012.
Filed: Aug. 29, 2012.

[690 F.3d 1008]

Burton Newman, argued, Michael Gross, on the brief, St. Louis, MO, for the appellant.

Michelle Wochner, argued, St. Louis, MO, for appellee.

Before LOKEN, GRUENDER, and BENTON, Circuit Judges.

BENTON, Circuit Judge.

Johnny Briscoe sued St. Louis County and three of its police officers—Lane Hollandsworth, Stephen Deen, Sr., and Jack Webb—under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging they violated his constitutional rights by causing his wrongful conviction for rape and delaying his exoneration. After dismissing the County from the case, the district court 1 granted summary judgment

[690 F.3d 1009]

to the individual defendants, dismissing all claims with prejudice. Having jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, this court affirms.


In the early morning of October 21, 1982, a man broke into R.T.'s apartment raping her repeatedly at knifepoint. He spent between 45 and 60 minutes in her apartment, which was lit by a table lamp and parking-lot lights coming in the window. He wore gloves throughout the attack, smoked cigarettes with R.T., told her his name was Johnny Briscoe, and expressed a desire to start a relationship with her. He promised to return to her apartment. Although frightened, R.T. made an effort to study his face in order to later identify him. She remained lying in bed during the entire encounter.

R.T. called 911 as soon as he left. Officer Barry Armfield responded, taking an approximate description of the rapist so nearby officers could search for him. Officer Armfield's report described the rapist as a dark-complexioned black man, standing approximately 5'8?, weighing around 130 pounds, and having a thin build, brown eyes, a two-inch Afro haircut, a moustache, and normal teeth. Other officers collected physical evidence from the apartment, including the cigarette butts and a strand of hair believed to be the rapist's. No usable fingerprints were found. An officer on the scene worked with R.T. on a composite sketch. While police were there, the rapist called R.T.'s apartment several times from a pay phone. Although he spoke with R.T. three times, an attempt to track him down failed. Armfield drove the victim to the hospital, where she met Detective Lane Hollandsworth, who took over the investigation.

R.T. went directly from the hospital to a police station where Hollandsworth conducted a photo lineup for her. Hollandsworth showed her five head-shots, with Briscoe's face beside those of four men similar in appearance to Briscoe. Briscoe's photo showed him with brown eyes, an Afro, a mustache, and a goatee. It did not show his height, weight, or teeth. Although no one told R.T. that the rapist's picture might not be in the lineup, she was told not to guess. She immediately identified Briscoe, stating that she had no doubt it was him. After the identification, a piece of paper below the picture was removed, revealing Briscoe's name. He was arrested five days later on October 26.

At the time of his arrest, Briscoe—a black man—was 6'0?, weighed 150 pounds, and had a thin build, a full goatee, and a gold front tooth. At Hollandsworth's direction Detective Steven Deen, Sr., attended a live lineup at the St. Louis city jail on October 27. Arriving at the jail, R.T. was told she needed to wait, because “he was eating.” She assumed “he” referred to Briscoe (she knew he had been arrested). During the lineup, R.T. observed Briscoe and four others. She again immediately identified Briscoe as the rapist, again expressing no doubt. Briscoe was taller than the other four, the only one wearing a prison jumpsuit, and the only one who was in the earlier photo array. R.T. noticed his clothes were different, but did not recognize them as prison garb. The participants did not resemble each other; two wore hats. The lineup did not comply with the County's lineup policy, which required the participants to wear similar clothes.

At the jail, R.T. also confidently identified Briscoe's voice when the lineup participants were asked to speak. On November 5, tests on Briscoe's hair found it consistent with the hair from the apartment. No other tests were done on the physical evidence from the scene.

At about 2:00 a.m. on December 4, 1982—six weeks after the attack, five weeks after Briscoe's arrest, but before his

[690 F.3d 1010]

trial—Hollandsworth was at R.T.'s apartment. A man began knocking and banging on the door. Hollandsworth grabbed the man, took him into his custody, and questioned him. The man gave several aliases before giving his real name, Larry L. Smith. Hollandsworth called for a patrolman. Officer Michael John Busalaki responded, arresting Smith for trespassing and disturbing the peace. Hollandsworth told Busalaki he was there to assist the victim of a rape that had taken place weeks before.

During his deposition, Hollandsworth testified that it was common practice for him to provide emotional support to rape victims, even after a suspect's arrest. He stated that he went to R.T.'s apartment on the night of Smith's visit because R.T. was frightened by two anonymous phone calls. With Briscoe in jail, Hollandsworth had closed the investigation and did not go out of fear for her safety.

Officer Busalaki filed a report of the arrest, which described Smith as a black male, 5'7? tall, 130 pounds, with a two-inch black Afro haircut, a mustache, and normal teeth. The report listed Hollandsworth as the only reporting witness and contained a number of errors: Hollandsworth's name was spelled “Hollingsworth,” the spellings of R.T.'s first and last names were each off by one letter, and R.T.'s apartment number was wrong. The report had its own complaint number, not the number of the rape investigation. Neither Hollandsworth nor Busalaki reported the incident to the prosecutor's office. Smith was never charged or prosecuted for trespassing or disturbing the peace. The parties dispute whether R.T. saw Smith during the incident. The report lists her as the “victim,” but not as a witness. Viewing the evidence most favorably to Briscoe—the nonmovant—this court assumes she did not see him.

R.T. testified at trial that Briscoe was her attacker. Although he maintained his innocence at all times, he was convicted by a jury and sentenced to 45 years in prison. In 2001, Briscoe invoked a new Missouri law to seek forensic DNA testing of evidence that could prove his innocence. Captain Jack Webb, the commander of the department's Bureau of Criminal Identification, received a request for the physical evidence in Briscoe's case, including the three cigarette butts from R.T.'s apartment. On March 19, 2002, Webb executed an affidavit stating that his staff conducted a thorough search but was unable to locate the cigarette butts. Webb did not search for the cigarette butts himself, and his affidavit did not claim he did.

Four years later, a second search uncovered the cigarette butts. DNA testing ruled out Briscoe as a DNA contributor, and identified Smith as a possible contributor. Briscoe was granted post-conviction relief in state court, found actually innocent, and released from custody after 23 years in prison.

In an affidavit after Briscoe's exoneration, R.T. stated that before her identifications she must have been pressured by the police to identify him as her attacker, noting that officers falsely told her that Briscoe was a dangerous man that had been released from a 10–year prison term just before the attack. She also related disparaging racial comments made by officers—including Hollandsworth—during the investigation, although she did not attribute any specific comment to Hollandsworth.

Briscoe sued Hollandsworth, Deen, Webb, and St. Louis County in federal court. The court dismissed the complaint against the County for failure to state a claim, granted summary judgment to the individual defendants, and denied as futile Briscoe's motion for leave to file an amended complaint against the County.

[690 F.3d 1011]

On the basis of a post-judgment affidavit from R.T., Briscoe moved to alter or amend the judgment, which the district court denied. Briscoe appeals the grant of summary judgment against the individual defendants, the denial of his motion for leave to amend, and the denial of his motion to alter or amend the judgment.


This court reviews de novo a grant of summary judgment, applying the same standard as the district court. Estate of Pepper ex rel. Deeble v. Whitehead, 686 F.3d 658, 664 (8th Cir.2012). Summary judgment is proper “if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(2). “On a motion for summary judgment, facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party only if there is a genuine dispute as to those facts.” Torgerson v. City of Rochester, 643 F.3d 1031, 1042 (8th Cir.2011) (en banc) (internal quotation marks omitted), quoting Ricci v. DeStefano, 557 U.S. 557, 586, 129 S.Ct. 2658, 174 L.Ed.2d 490 (2009). “The nonmovant ‘must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts,’ and must come forward with ‘specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.’ ” Id., quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586–87, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986).2


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