Diaz-Morales v. Rubio-Paredes, CIV. No. 13–1360 (PG).

CourtUnited States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Puerto Rico
Citation50 F.Supp.3d 98
Docket NumberCIV. No. 13–1360 (PG).
PartiesRobert Anel DIAZ–MORALES, Plaintiff, v. Sergio RUBIO–PAREDES, et als., Defendants.
Decision Date30 September 2014

?50 F.Supp.3d 98

Robert Anel DIAZ–MORALES, Plaintiff,
Sergio RUBIO–PAREDES, et als., Defendants.

CIV. No. 13–1360 (PG).

United States District Court, D. Puerto Rico.

Signed Sept. 30, 2014

Motions granted in part and denied in part.

[50 F.Supp.3d 102]

Ramon Coto–Ojeda, Angel E. Rotger–Sabat, Coto & Associates, San Juan, PR, for Plaintiff.

Jaime J. Zampierollo–Vila, Puerto Rico Department of Justice, San Juan, PR, for Defendants.


JUAN M. PEREZ–GIMENEZ, Senior District Judge.

Before the court are co-defendants Sergio Rubio–Paredes and Emilio Arill–Garcia's motion to dismiss (Docket No. 11) and co-defendant Limaris Cruz–Velez's motion to dismiss (Docket No. 37), which co-defendants Rubio–Paredes and Arill–Garcia joined (Docket No. 39). For the reasons set forth below, the court GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART the defendants' motions.


On May 8, 2013, plaintiff Robert Anel Diaz–Morales (hereinafter “Plaintiff” or “Diaz–Morales”) filed the instant action seeking compensatory damages against co-defendants police officer Limaris Cruz–Velez (“Cruz–Velez”), prosecutor Sergio Rubio–Paredes (“Rubio–Paredes”), supervising district attorney Emilio Arill–Garcia (“Arill–Garcia”), and other unknown defendants. 1 The present claim was brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged violations to Plaintiff's constitutional rights under the Fourth, Sixth,2 Eighth and

[50 F.Supp.3d 103]

Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution in connection with the investigation and prosecution of the murder of Kenia Rosario Viera (“Rosario”). See Docket No. 1. Plaintiff also invokes the court's supplemental jurisdiction over the claims arising from the alleged violations of his constitutional rights under Sections 7, 8 and 10 of Article II of the Commonwealth's Constitution and for damages under the Commonwealth's tort statute, to wit, Article 1802 of the Puerto Rico Civil Code, P.R. Laws Ann. tit. 31, § 5141. Id.

The facts of this case stem from the assault and murder of Rosario during the early dawn hours of October 23rd, 2001. The Plaintiff was eventually charged and found guilty of these crimes by a jury on November 13, 2003, Docket No. 1 at ¶ 4.9. This verdict was eventually vacated by the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico eight and a half years later, on May 9th, 2012, id. at ¶ 4.20. In fact, many of the facts alleged in the complaint stem from the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico's sentence, namely, Pueblo v. Robert Anel Diaz Morales, CC–2006–532 (PRSC May 9, 2012), of which we now take judicial notice. 3

According to the complaint, Rosario's assailants woke her up while she was sleeping in her bedroom and then assaulted, handcuffed, sodomized and lit her on fire. See Docket No. 1 at ¶ 4.1. A neighbor took Rosario to the hospital, where she was found to have suffered extensive burns covering thirty five percent of her body and where she died a little over two months later. Id. Despite the fact that investigators were able to interview Rosario, the record is unclear as to whether it was actually two or three assailants that attacked Rosario. Id. at ¶¶ 4.2–4.3.

On October 31, 2001, a local store owner approached a police agent in Gurabo, Puerto Rico and informed the agent of possible suspects to the crime. Id. at ¶ 4.4. This informant identified Jose Luis Delgado a/k/a “Tony Caneca” and “Luis Caneca” (hereinafter “Delgado” or “Caneca”), an addict who had told the informant that he had been hired by Ismael Roman–Garcia (“Roman–Garcia”) with two other persons to commit the crime. Roman–Garcia, described as being bald and one-handed, had a brief sentimental relationship with Rosario that ended shortly before her attack. Id. This information was relayed to co-defendant Cruz–Velez, who was the agent from the Puerto Rico Police Department (“PRPD”) in charge of the investigation of this crime. Id. Consequently, the police identified Roman–Garcia as the principal suspect and intellectual author of the assault. Id.

Police agent Cruz–Velez interviewed Delgado several times. Id. at ¶ 4.5. He was then a twenty-six (26) year-old drug addict with a third grade special education, who consumed between two and seven bags of heroin on a daily basis. Id. During the interviews, Delgado told Cruz–Velez that the main suspect, Roman–Garcia, another addict called Irving Daniel Carrasquillo

[50 F.Supp.3d 104]

(hereinafter “Carrasquillo”) and a fellow known as “Prieto” were responsible for the crime. Nevertheless, Cruz–Velez later confirmed that “Prieto” did not exist, but was another nickname for Carrasquillo.

Later on, Caneca told Cruz–Velez that there was a fourth assailant known by the name of “Quenepo”, who was also a heroin addict in the company of whom he would regularly consume drugs. See id. at ¶ 4.5. The complaint reveals that Caneca's account of events during his interviews were inconsistent due in large part to his addiction and consumption of controlled substances, heroin in particular. Id. Despite this, Caneca eventually became the prosecution's leading witness in the case. Id.

During the course of the investigation, the PRPD agents in charge of the crime scene were aware that the victim's cellular phone was never located at her home. Id. at ¶ 4.2. However, it was not until several days later, on November 9, 2001, that they tracked its signal. Id. at ¶ 4.6. Cruz–Velez called the victim's cellular phone number and when the Plaintiff answered, convinced him to meet with her. Id. At this time, the Plaintiff was a student at the University of Turabo, with no prior history of criminal proceedings or convictions, and no history of heroin use. The police questioned the Plaintiff about his possession of the victim's cellular phone, which the police occupied without any search warrant or legal justification to do so. Id. Moreover, Cruz–Velez and other agents at the scene questioned the Plaintiff without proper warnings, yet Diaz–Morales responded that he had purchased the phone from an addict for a price between $5 and $10. In fact, that same night, Diaz–Morales took Cruz–Velez to the front of the house where the sale of the phone had taken place and provided her with a description of the addict that sold him the phone. This addict turned out to be Carrasquillo. That night, Diaz–Morales was detained at the Caguas PRPD headquarters until a day later, when he was released with no charges filed. Id.

Several months thereafter, on August 28, 2002, the police arrested the Plaintiff and formally charged him of Rosario's assault and ultimate death despite his continuous cooperation during the investigation and despite having made himself available for fingerprinting, drug tests, hair and blood samples, as well as questioning. Id. at ¶¶ 4.6–4.7. What is more, Diaz–Morales was accused even though no forensic evidence existed tying him to the crime scene. Id. at ¶ 4.7. Additionally, Plaintiff claims he was charged of assaulting and murdering Rosario without the legal required warnings and without allowing him to be accompanied by legal counsel. Id. at ¶ 4.7.

Plaintiff complains that Cruz–Velez had never been trained or was improperly trained to handle the compilation of evidence and the investigation of this case. Id. at ¶ 4.4. In addition, Diaz–Morales asserts that his mistaken accusation resulted from Cruz–Velez's intentionally and/or grossly negligent investigation, which she conducted in callous and reckless disregard and/or with deliberate indifference to his constitutional rights. Id. at ¶ 4.8.

According to Plaintiff, co-defendant Rubio–Paredes was the district attorney of the Puerto Rico Department of Justice (PRDOJ) in charge of the investigation, prosecution and trial against him. Plaintiff complains that Rubio–Paredes prosecuted him in disregard of his constitutional rights insofar as the evidence against him was inconsistent and incompatible with the forensic evidence gathered. Id. at ¶ 4.8. According to Diaz–Morales, Rubio–Paredes interviewed him several times in the presence of his own supervisor, co-defendant Arill–Garcia, and threatened him with

[50 F.Supp.3d 105]

filing charges against him if he didn't “tell the truth.” Id. Moreover, Diaz–Morales contends that Cruz–Velez and Rubio–Paredes charged him with the crime despite knowing that another person in the area called Javier Francisco Sanchez–Gonzalez (hereinafter “Quenepo” or “Sanchez–Gonzalez”) was known by the nickname “Quenepo” and had been seen several times consuming narcotics with the prosecution's lead witness, Delgado. Id. at ¶ 4.10.

On November 13, 2003, a jury convicted the Plaintiff of first degree murder, aggravated burglary and aggravated restriction of liberty based on the testimonies of witnesses Delgado and Cruz–Velez. Id. at ¶ 4.9. Notwithstanding, in a motion for new trial, the Plaintiff attached, after being able to obtain, an affidavit from Sanchez–Gonzalez dated September 9, 2005, wherein he admits he is known as “Quenepo” and states that Caneca had lied when the latter had identified the Plaintiff as the “Quenepo” that partook in the crime. Id. at ¶¶ 4.11–4.12. In 2005, Carrasquillo 4 sent to attorney Jose Lozada (“Lozada”), Director of the Special Investigations Bureau (known for its Spanish acronym as the “NIE”), an affidavit asserting Plaintiff's lack of responsibility for the crime and stating that the Plaintiff was not at the crime scene. Id. at ¶ 4.19. In addition, Mr. Rufino Cotto Martínez, who was sheltered at the NIE's Witness Protection Center from July 31, 2001 until September 19, 2003 with Delgado or “Caneca”, sent another letter to Lozada stating under oath that he had overheard Delgado say that the defendants in this case had coerced him into lying by threatening to only prosecute him for the crime if he did not cooperate in the prosecution against the Plaintiff. Id. However, the investigation that ensued as a result of these letters was halted after co-defendant Rubio–Paredes replaced Lozada as the director of...

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  • Diaz-Morales v. Rubio-Paredes, CIV. No. 13–1360 PG.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Puerto Rico
    • September 30, 2014
    ...50 F.Supp.3d 98Robert Anel DIAZ–MORALES, Plaintiffv.Sergio RUBIO–PAREDES, et als., Defendants.CIV. No. 13–1360 PG.United States District Court, D. Puerto Rico.Signed Sept. 30, 2014.50 F.Supp.3d 102Ramon Coto–Ojeda, Angel E. Rotger–Sabat, Coto & Associates, San Juan, PR, for Plaintiff.Jaime ......

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