Rosenberg v. Martin, No. 649

CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
Writing for the CourtFRIENDLY, , LUMBARD, Circuit , and THOMSEN
Citation478 F.2d 520
Decision Date27 April 1973
Docket NumberDocket 72-2262.,No. 649
PartiesJerome ROSENBERG, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Raymond V. MARTIN, Defendant-Appellant.

478 F.2d 520 (1973)

Jerome ROSENBERG, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Raymond V. MARTIN, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 649, Docket 72-2262.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.

Submitted March 28, 1973.

Decided April 27, 1973.


478 F.2d 521
COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED
478 F.2d 522
Jerome Rosenberg, plaintiff-appellee, pro se

Norman Redlich, Corp. Counsel of New York City (Stanley Buchsbaum, and Bernard Burstein, New York City, of counsel), for defendant-appellant.

Before FRIENDLY, Chief Judge, LUMBARD, Circuit Judge, and THOMSEN,* District Judge.

FRIENDLY, Chief Judge:

Jerome Rosenberg, the successful plaintiff in this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the District Court for the Eastern District of New York, had been convicted, upon the testimony of several eyewitnesses, of the felony murder of two police officers while he was engaged in an armed robbery of the Borough Park Tobacco Company in Brooklyn. After the Governor had commuted his death sentence to life imprisonment, his conviction and that of a co-defendant were affirmed by the New York Court of Appeals, People v. Portelli and Rosenberg, 15 N.Y.2d 235, 257 N. Y.S.2d 931, 205 N.E.2d 857 (1965).1 One of the contentions on that appeal was that the defendants' constitutional rights had been violated by denial of their motion for a change of venue because of prejudicial publicity, and the Court of Appeals amended its remittitur to show that it had considered this argument and had held that "no constitutional rights of appellants had been violated." 16 N.Y.2d 537, 260 N.Y.S.2d 649, 208 N.E.2d 458 (1965). The Supreme Court denied certiorari, Rosenberg v. New York, 382 U.S. 1009, 86 S.Ct. 612, 15 L.Ed.2d 1009 (1966). A petition for federal habeas corpus by Rosenberg on the ground that the pre-trial publicity had denied him a fair trial was denied by Judge Bartels, without an evidentiary hearing, in an unreported opinion, and we affirmed. United States ex rel. Rosenberg v. Mancusi, 445 F.2d 613 (2 Cir. 1971), cert. denied, 405 U.S. 956, 92 S. Ct. 1186, 31 L.Ed.2d 234 (1972).

On April 15, 1968,1a Rosenberg brought this action under section 1983 against three defendants. The only one who remained in the case after the grant of dismissal motions was Raymond V. Martin, a retired Assistant Chief Inspector of Police. Rosenberg's complaint alleged that Martin had "caused him to be convicted, by illegal means in lying and inflaming the public about him through various News Media," and had deliberately fed the news media false information "to slander and influence the courts, people and general public against him." Martin served an answer denying these allegations and pleading the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense. Plaintiff, who has been appearing pro se throughout, countered, on December 1, 1969 with a "cross-defense" arguing that Martin's defense was "void and defeated"; he annexed a "supplement pleading" wherein he moved that "this pleading be amended" under F.R.Civ.P. 15(c) in various

478 F.2d 523
respects, including the statement of a claim of assault set forth in the margin.2 Without having expressly acted on the motion to amend, the court, on May 11, 1970, struck the defense of the statute of limitations, citing Swan v. Board of Higher Education, 319 F.2d 56, 59 (2 Cir. 1963), which had held the six-year provision of former N.Y. Civil Practice Act § 48(2) to be applicable to actions under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. At the trial the court allowed plaintiff to present testimony on both claims and instructed the jury that he could recover on either

The crime occurred on May 18, 1962. As would be expected in a case where two officers had been killed while discharging their duty, the full force of the police was brought to bear on finding the offenders. It is undisputed that there was extensive news coverage of the murder, the police investigation, and the apprehension of the suspected killers, and that the police were largely responsible for this. Rosenberg was unable to establish, however, that anything like all of the publicity was attributable to Martin. The first newspaper received in evidence was an issue of The New York Daily News for May 22, 1962, reporting Portelli's arrest in Chicago on May 21. A reporter from the News identified portions of the article as having emanated from Martin. These included statements that Rosenberg was the man who had accompanied Portelli into the Borough Park Tobacco Company and had rushed out, over the bodies of the two detectives, after the murder; that both Portelli and Rosenberg had been identified by a half dozen witnesses from their rogues' gallery photos; and that Portelli, Rosenberg and Dellernia were members of a top hoodlum element and formed part of a stick-up mob in Brooklyn. In a set of excerpts from the News of May 23, after Dellernia had surrendered, Martin was referred to as saying that Rosenberg reportedly had been seen in Manhattan, dressed in women's clothing; that the police had the gun used in the killing and bullets to match; and that the police had positive identification of the three men in ten other Brooklyn holdups.

Late in the evening of May 23 Rosenberg turned himself in at the office of the News. He testified that Martin and other officers arrested him there and that Martin stated before the television cameras covering the scene that he was the killer and that he had a criminal record. Rosenberg was then removed to the 66th Precinct station house in Brooklyn. He testified that he was taken out of the police car a half block away from the station, where television cameras and newsmen were lined up on the street; that, as he was dragged toward the cameras, Martin said "He is the killer, and he is going to burn"; and that he later saw video tapes of the scene, of Martin's remark, and of the crowd's angry response.3 Photographs of the booking of the three men, published in unidentified newspapers, were also received in evidence.

As to the assault claim, Rosenberg testified that at the police station he was brought into a small interrogation room, where Martin and a number of other officers began questioning him. When he refused to answer questions, he testified, "Martin started kicking me," though "just softly." Later, "He grabbed my throat and he started choking me"—though this was "slight" and "did no real physical damage"—and told him that "you're going to suffer as best we could make you suffer." Rosenberg claimed that after a few hours of unsuccessful interrogation, Martin "placed his hand on my ear, like a suction-cup" and

478 F.2d 524
then quickly pulled it away; that his ear started to bleed; and that after a week he could no longer hear out of it. Martin denied having taken any such actions, and there was no evidence that Rosenberg had ever brought the alleged assault to anyone's attention

The judge instructed that if plaintiff proved either that he was physically abused and maltreated while in custody or that he "was the object of prejudicial publicity that went beyond the police needs of the situation" he was entitled to recover damages, provided that Martin was acting under color of state law, custom or usage. The judge fleshed out the prejudicial publicity claim by charging that while the police were entitled to publicize the fact of a crime and "such information as is reasonably related to the task of locating the suspect and taking him securely into custody," it was for the jury to say:

on all the evidence you have heard whether or not you are satisfied that the publications that occurred between the date of the crime and the date of the plaintiff\'s trial chargeable to the defendant Martin himself, exceeded the limits of proper police procedure and was prejudicial to the plaintiff in exposing him to defamation, misrepresentation and public obloquy that might have affected his right to a fair trial and that subjected him to personal humiliation and apprehension or bodily harm.

The jury returned a...

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167 practice notes
  • McCord v. Bailey, No. 79-1085
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • October 15, 1980
    ...See United States v. McCord, 509 F.2d at 351-53. Thus McCord has already litigated the issue twice and lost, see Rosenberg v. Martin, 478 F.2d 520, 565 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 414 U.S. 872, 94 S.Ct. 102, 38 L.Ed.2d 90 (1973), making defensive invocation of collateral estoppel appropriate, ......
  • Guyton v. Phillips, No. C-74-0357 MHP.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • December 18, 1981
    ...those standards, they have resorted to the broad generalizations of Rochin v. California, Johnson v. Glick, and Rosenberg v. Martin, 478 F.2d 520 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 414 U.S. 872, 94 S.Ct. 102, 38 L.Ed.2d 90 (1973). They have looked to the American Law Institute (ALI) Model Penal Code ......
  • Crain v. Krehbiel, No. C-76-1018-CBR.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • February 3, 1978
    ...create such a corpus. The Constitution does not secure all individual rights against governmental interference. See Rosenberg v. Martin, 478 F.2d 520, 524-525 (2 Cir. 1973); Johnson v. Hackett, 284 F.Supp. 933, 939-940 (E.D.Pa.1968). Just as it is not a Freedom of Information Act, Stewart, ......
  • Paka v. Manson, Civ. No. H-241.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • November 22, 1974
    ...chooses takes some coloration from the right to privacy. But, as Judge Friendly (formerly Chief Judge) pointed out in Rosenberg v. Martin, 478 F.2d 520, 524-525 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 414 U.S. 872, 94 S.Ct. 102, 38 L.Ed.2d 90 (1973), "thus far only the most intimate phases of personal lif......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
167 cases
  • McCord v. Bailey, No. 79-1085
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • October 15, 1980
    ...See United States v. McCord, 509 F.2d at 351-53. Thus McCord has already litigated the issue twice and lost, see Rosenberg v. Martin, 478 F.2d 520, 565 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 414 U.S. 872, 94 S.Ct. 102, 38 L.Ed.2d 90 (1973), making defensive invocation of collateral estoppel appropriate, ......
  • Guyton v. Phillips, No. C-74-0357 MHP.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • December 18, 1981
    ...those standards, they have resorted to the broad generalizations of Rochin v. California, Johnson v. Glick, and Rosenberg v. Martin, 478 F.2d 520 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 414 U.S. 872, 94 S.Ct. 102, 38 L.Ed.2d 90 (1973). They have looked to the American Law Institute (ALI) Model Penal Code ......
  • Crain v. Krehbiel, No. C-76-1018-CBR.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • February 3, 1978
    ...create such a corpus. The Constitution does not secure all individual rights against governmental interference. See Rosenberg v. Martin, 478 F.2d 520, 524-525 (2 Cir. 1973); Johnson v. Hackett, 284 F.Supp. 933, 939-940 (E.D.Pa.1968). Just as it is not a Freedom of Information Act, Stewart, ......
  • Paka v. Manson, Civ. No. H-241.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • November 22, 1974
    ...chooses takes some coloration from the right to privacy. But, as Judge Friendly (formerly Chief Judge) pointed out in Rosenberg v. Martin, 478 F.2d 520, 524-525 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 414 U.S. 872, 94 S.Ct. 102, 38 L.Ed.2d 90 (1973), "thus far only the most intimate phases of personal lif......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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