Salaman v. DeJesus et al
PRISCS - INITIAL REVIEW ORDER. The complaint is dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). The Clerk is directed to enter judgment and close this case. Signed by Judge Stefan R. Underhill on 2/7/2012. (Carter, J.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
LUIS A. SALAMAN,
EDWIN DeJESUS, et al.,
CASE NO. 3:11-cv-1993 (SRU)
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
Luis A. Salaman (“Salaman”), currently incarcerated at the Corrigan-Radgowski
Correctional Center in Uncasville, Connecticut, has filed a complaint pro se under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 (2000). He names as defendants Police Officer Edwin DeJesus, Captain J. Peterson, Chief
Frank Limon, Mayor John DeStefano, Police Commissioner John Doe and the City of New
Haven. Defendants DeJesus, Peterson, Limon, DeStefano and Doe are named in their individual
capacities only. Salaman contends that the defendants denied him due process in connection
with a civil action in federal court.
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A (2000), the court must review prisoner civil complaints and
dismiss any portion of the complaint that is frivolous or malicious, that fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted, or that seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
such relief. Id.
In reviewing a pro se complaint, the court must assume the truth of the allegations, and
interpret them liberally to “raise the strongest arguments [they] suggest.” Abbas v. Dixon, 480
F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007). Although detailed allegations are not required, the complaint must
include sufficient facts to afford the defendants fair notice of the claims and the grounds upon
which they are based and to demonstrate a right to relief. Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555-56 (2007). Conclusory allegations are not sufficient. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). The plaintiff must plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. But “‘[a] document filed pro se is to be
liberally construed and a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.’” Boykin v. KeyCorp, 521 F.3d
202, 214 (2d Cir. 2008) (quoting Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)).
Salaman alleges that, on January 5, 2009, he participated in a civil rights trial in federal
court on a claim for use of excessive force. Defendant DeJesus testified falsely at the trial. After
the trial, Salaman obtained dispatch tapes and verifies that defendant DeJesus had testified
falsely. In April 2009, Salaman informed, inter alia, the Internal Affairs Unit of the New Haven
Police Department and defendant DeStefano. Defendant Peterson told Salaman that the Internal
Affairs Unit only investigates complaints filed within one year of the occurrence. As the incident
about which defendant DeJesus had testified occurred in 2003, he would not investigate.
Defendant Peterson ignored Salaman’s response that the issue he wanted investigated was
defendant DeJesus’ false testimony in January 2009, not the underlying incident. In August
2011, Salaman submitted complaints to defendants DeStefano, Doe and Limon. He did not
receive any response.
Salaman contends that defendant DeJesus testified falsely at a civil trial. A police officer,
like any other witness, is protected by absolute immunity regarding his testimony at trial. See
Briscoe v. LaHue, 460 U.S. 325, 342-46 (1983). Thus, Salaman cannot pursue a section 1983
action against defendant DeJesus as a result of prior testimony. The claims against Officer
Edwin DeJesus are dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(2).
Salaman’s claim against defendants Peterson, DeStefano, Limon and Doe is that they
failed to investigate his allegation regarding defendant DeJesus. Salaman has no constitutional
right to have defendant DeJesus prosecuted or investigated. See Town of Castle Rock v.
Gonzales, 545 U.S. 748, 768-69 (2005) (victim of crime has no procedural or substantive due
process interest in investigation or prosecution of perpetrator); see also S. v. D., 410 U.S. 614,
619 (1973) (“a private citizen lacks a judicially cognizable interest in the prosecution or
nonprosecution of another”). The claims against defendants Peterson, DeStafano, Limon and
Doe are dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1).
Finally, Salaman argues that because the other defendants were employees of the City of
New Haven, the city is responsible for their actions. Municipalities may be included as
defendants under section 1983. See Monell v. Department of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690
(1978). To state a claim under Monell, however, the plaintiff must show that an official policy,
practice or custom was the “motivating force [behind] the constitutional violation.” Dodd v. City
of Norwich, 827 F.2d 1, 5 (2d Cir. 1987). Salaman contends that defendant DeJesus acted in
violation of departmental policy. He alleges no facts suggesting that any conduct in this case was
motivated by an official policy or custom. Thus, all claims against the City of New Haven are
dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1).
In accordance with the foregoing analysis, the court enters the following orders:
The complaint is DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
The Clerk is directed to enter judgment and close this case.
SO ORDERED this 7th day of February 2012, at Bridgeport, Connecticut.
/s/ Stefan R. Underhill
Stefan R. Underhill
United States District Judge
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