Corradi v. N.J. State Parole Bd., Civil Action No. 16-5076 (FLW)

CourtUnited States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
Writing for the CourtFREDA L. WOLFSON, CHIEF JUDGE
PartiesLOUIS CORRADI, Plaintiff, v. NEW JERSEY STATE PAROLE BOARD et al., Defendants.
Decision Date28 October 2020
Docket NumberCivil Action No. 16-5076 (FLW)


Civil Action No. 16-5076 (FLW)


October 28, 2020



This matter has been opened to the Court by Sgt. Kimberly Cavanaugh ("Sgt. Cavanaugh") and Officer Michelle Rey's ("Officer Rey") (collectively "Defendants") motion for summary judgment on Plaintiff Louis Corradi's ("Plaintiff" or "Corradi") Fourth Amendment claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in connection with the search of his residence and vehicle and his subsequent arrest on April 1, 2015. For the reasons stated below, the Court finds that the Defendants, who were Plaintiff's parole officers, are protected by qualified immunity with respect to Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment illegal search claims. Plaintiff's remaining Fourth Amendment claims for false arrest and/or imprisonment also fail because the record establishes that Defendants had probable cause to arrest him. The Court will therefore grant Defendants' motion for summary judgment as to the Fourth Amendment claims and direct the Magistrate Judge to hold a phone conference regarding Plaintiff's remaining due process claim(s).1

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a. Factual Background

In 1999, Louis Corradi, a self-described computer expert, was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography, which resulted from the discovery of child pornography images on Corradi's home and work computers. SOMF at ¶ 1, Exhibit A at 5:20-6:16; see also Exhibit D.2 Plaintiff was convicted of the child pornography charges and sentenced to 30 months in federal prison, followed by three years of probation. SOMF at ¶ 2, Exhibit A at 22:12-23:1. In 2008, while serving federal probation, Corradi was convicted by the State of New Jersey of Endangering the Welfare of a Child resulting from his sexual abuse of a five-year-old girl. SOMF at ¶ 3, Exhibit A, 6:17-7:12; Exhibit D, SPB142. Plaintiff was sentenced on the New Jersey conviction to a term of incarceration and to Parole Supervision for Life ("PSL") under "Megan's Law," N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6.4. SOMF at ¶ 4, Exhibit A, 6:17-7:12; Exhibit D, SPB142.

In 2011, Plaintiff was released from incarceration and began serving his PSL term. SOMF at ¶ 5, Exhibit A, 6:17- 7:12; Exhibit D, SPB142. Offenders serving a PSL term are supervised by the New Jersey State Parole Board ("the Board"), and are subject to general conditions, required by statute, and special conditions, imposed by the Board on a case-by-case basis. SOMF at ¶ 6, Exhibit B, SPB21-23; Exhibit D, SPB137-145.

Upon Plaintiff's release from custody, the Board served him with written notice of the PSL general and special conditions of supervision. SOMF at ¶ 7, Exhibit B, SPB21-23; Exhibit D, SPB137-145. The Board required Corradi to refrain from the possession and/or utilization of

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any computer and/or device that permits access to the Internet unless authorized by the District Parole Supervisor. SOMF at ¶ 8, Exhibit D, SPB144-145.

On October 10, 2013, a Board panel found that Corradi violated the PSL conditions requiring him to refrain from using any computer to engage in social networking, to refrain from the purchase, possession, or use of alcohol, and to refrain from the possession or use of computer or device that permits access to the Internet without prior authorization. SOMF at ¶ 9, Exhibit B, SPB21-46. As a result, the Board panel revoked Corradi's PSL term and ordered him to serve a 14-month future eligibility term ("FET"). SOMF at ¶ 10, Exhibit B, SPB24. On November 30, 2014, Plaintiff was released from custody after serving the 14-month FET on the 2013 PSL violation, and resumed serving his PSL term. SOMF at ¶ 11, Exhibit C, SP52.

On December 16, 2014, the Board again served Plaintiff with written notice of the PSL conditions of supervision. SOMF at ¶ 12, Exhibit D, SPB137-140. On the same date, the Board served Corradi with Notice of Imposition of Special Conditions, including the following: to refrain from the possession and/or utilization of any computer and/or device that permits access to the Internet unless authorized by the District Parole Supervisor; and to refrain from purchasing, viewing, downloading, possessing and/or creating pornography. SOMF at ¶ 13, Exhibit D, SPB142-145.

On February 10, 2015, the Board imposed a special condition on Corradi, requiring him to refrain from the possession of any Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Fireman, First Responder or Law Enforcement Paraphernalia. SOMF at ¶ 14, Exhibit D, SPB141.

On March 9, 2015, South Plainfield police responded to the residence of Joanne Juba ('Juba") on a report of suspicious activity on a laptop computer. SOMF at ¶15, Exhibit E,

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SPB62. Upon arrival at the Juba residence, police spoke with Joanne Juba, who stated that she had been having problems with her laptop computer, including issues with logging on. See SOMF at ¶ 16, Exhibit E, SPB62-63. "Juba stated she looked into the computer's history and noticed the following notification[:] 'unauthorized user logged on...' Juba at this time could not provide specific dates[;] however the name Louis was attached to the notifications[.]" Id. SOMF at ¶ 17, Exhibit E, SPB63.

Juba told police that she suspected that Louis Corradi, whom she knew through her friendship with Corradi's mother, had attempted to access her computer as he had worked on her family member's computer in the past. SOMF at ¶ 18, Exhibit E, SPB63. Juba also told police that she wanted to document this incident involving unauthorized access of her laptop computer because she did not want anyone to think she had permitted Louis Corradi to use her computer. SOMF at ¶ 19, Exhibit E, SPB63.

On March 23, 2015, South Plainfield police contacted Juba by phone to obtain additional information. SOMF at ¶ 20, Exhibit E, SPB64-65. On that date, Juba told the South Plainfield Police that approximately nine years earlier, she hired Louis Corradi to fix her daughter's computer based upon a recommendation from Louis Corradi's mother. SOMF at ¶ 21, Exhibit E, SPB65. Juba also told South Plainfield Police that sometime in early March of 2015, she logged on to her computer, observed a computer file, which indicated an "unauthorized user," and observed the name "Louis" in her computer history. SOMF at ¶ 22, Exhibit E, SPB65.

On March 25, 2015, the South Plainfield Police provided its report related to the incident involving Joanne Juba's computer to Sgt. Kimberly Cavanaugh. SOMF at ¶ 23, Exhibit F, SPB129. In her report dated March 31, 2015, Sgt. Cavanaugh noted that the South Plainfield Police were not proceeding with further investigation of the incident at that time. See Exhibit F,

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SPB130. Nevertheless, Sgt. Cavanaugh and Corradi's Parole Officer Michelle Rey reviewed Corradi's case in light of the information received from the South Plainfield Police regarding the incident involving Joanne Juba's computer. SOMF at ¶ 24, Exhibit F, SPB130. Sgt Cavanaugh stated in the report that there was a reasonable, articulable suspicion to believe that Louis Corradi had remotely accessed Joanne Juba's computer based upon the following facts: that Joanne Juba and Corradi's mother were friends; that Corradi worked on Juba's computer "several years ago" after a recommendation by Corradi's mother; that Juba told police that the name "Louis" appeared on her computer as an unauthorized user approximately three weeks earlier; that Corradi has extensive computer knowledge and experience; that Corradi had violated his PSL status in 2013 for possessing and utilizing an Internet-capable device; and that Corradi has a federal conviction for downloading child pornography. SOMF at ¶ 25, Exhibit E, SPB62-65; Exhibit F, SPB130, SPB138, SPB144-45.

In his deposition, Plaintiff testified that he worked on Juba's computer "at least" 10 years prior to the incident reported by Juba, and he denied accessing Juba's computer in March 2015 or anytime thereafter. See Exhibit A at 13:1-14. Plaintiff further contends that he did not know where Juba lived and had not had contact with her for over ten years. ECF No. 75-1, Opposition Brief at 1.

The record contains a document entitled "Notice of Probable Cause Hearing," dated April 1, 2015, which indicates that Sgt. Cavanaugh approved the search of Plaintiff's vehicle and home. See Exhibit F, SBP105. On April 1, 2015, Sgt. Cavanaugh and Officer Rey searched Corradi's vehicle and discovered a "police scanner radio trans receiver IC-2800" installed in the dashboard. SOMF at ¶ 26, Exhibit F, SPB103, SPB110, SPB126, SPB132. On April 1, 2015, Cavanaugh, Rey, and additional Parole officers, as well as officers from the South Plainfield

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Police Department, proceeded to Corradi's residence to conduct a search of the residence. SOMF at ¶ 27, Exhibit F, SPB131; Exhibit A at 11:4-9. It appears undisputed that Plaintiff lived at the residence, which was owned by his mother, who was not present on April 1, 2015. See Plaintiff's Opposition Brief at 1.

During the search of the residence on April 1, 2015, officers found the following items: a .22-caliber rifle in the basement, beer cans in the recycling bin and in Corradi's bedroom, EMT paraphernalia in Corradi's bedroom and in a spare bedroom, an LG Smartphone package, and a Walmart receipt for an LG smartphone, dated March 4, 2015, and a mini SD Wifi card. SOMF at ¶ 28, Exhibit F, SPB103, SPB109-123, SPB130-132. Sergeant Cavanaugh and Officer Rey also obtained a copy of video surveillance from Walmart containing footage of Corradi purchasing a cell phone on March 4, 2015. SOMF at ¶ 29, Exhibit F, SPB124-25, SPB132.

The record also includes a document entitled "State Parole Board State Warrant," dated April 1, 2015, which is signed by District Parole Supervisor Edward Russo and authorizes Plaintiff's arrest. See Exhibit F, SBP108-09. The accompanying "Special...

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