Baltas v. Rivera et al
For the reasons set forth in the attached, the plaintiff's 111 motion for sanctions is DENIED.Signed by Judge Michael P. Shea on 7/16/2021. (Silva, Madeline)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
HECTOR RIVERA, et al.,
CASE NO. 3:19-cv-1043 (MPS)
July 16, 2021
RULING AND ORDER
Plaintiff Joe Baltas has filed a motion seeking sanctions or criminal investigation and
prosecution against the defendants, counsel, and David Maiga for altering documents. For the
following reasons, the plaintiff’s motion is denied.
The plaintiff does not cite any authority for his request for sanctions. As he refers to
documents filed in federal cases, the Court assumes that the plaintiff seeks sanctions under Rule
11 of the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure. Rule 11 provides: “By presenting to the court a
pleading ... or other paper ... an attorney or unrepresented party certifies that to the best of the
person’s knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the
circumstances ... the factual contentions have evidentiary support ....” Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(b)(3).
Rule 11(c) and the court’s inherent powers afford the court the power to assess sanctions when a
party “has made a false statement to the court and has done so in bad faith.” SEC v. Smith, 710
F.3d 87, 97 (2d Cir. 2013). The factual misrepresentation must be “utterly lacking in support.”
StreetEasy, Inc. v. Chertok, 752 F.3d 298, 307 (2d Cir. 2014) (internal quotation marks and
citation omitted). The applicable standard is one of objective reasonableness; it is not based on
the subjective beliefs of the person making the statement. Storey v. Cello Holdings, L.L.C., 347
F.3d 370, 387 (2d Cir. 2003).
Request for Investigation and Prosecution
The plaintiff has no constitutional right to have the defendants criminally investigated or
prosecuted. See Linda R.S. v. Richard D., 410 U.S. 614, 619 (1973) (in American jurisprudence
at least, a private citizen lacks a judicially cognizable interest in the prosecution or
nonprosecution of another”); McCrary v. County of Nassau, 493 F. Supp. 2d 581, 588 (E.D.N.Y.
2007) (“A private citizen does not have a constitutional right to compel government officials to
arrest or prosecute another person.”); Lewis v. Gallivan, 315 F. Supp. 2d 313, 316-17 (W.D.N.Y.
2004) (“There is ... no constitutional right to an investigation by government officials.”) (internal
quotation marks and citation omitted). The plaintiff’s request for a criminal investigation and
prosecution is denied.
Request for Sanctions
The plaintiff cites two examples of allegedly altered documents, his movement record
and a chronic discipline release form. He also alleged that Director Maiga submitted a perjured
declaration disavowing the plaintiff’s second document.
The Court first considers the movement record. In the first copy, dated January 3, 2019,
the plaintiff’s movement on that date is listed as “READMISSION, FROM CUSCOM.” In the
second copy, dated November 4, 2019, the entry for January 3, 2019 states “RETURN FROM
CUSCOM.” The plaintiff contends that, after he filed this action, the defendants, counsel, and
Director Maiga altered the form so it would not reflect a readmission.
In opposition, the defendants state that the entry on January 3, 2019 was made by
custodial staff during intake at the correctional facility. Those entries are reviewed for accuracy
the following day by a records specialist and any incorrect coding is corrected. See Tugie Decl.,
ECF No. 113-1 ¶ 5. The defendants also note that correctional records show that the plaintiff
was admitted to the Department of Correction in 2006 and has not been discharged from his
sentence. Id. ¶ 9. The plaintiff presents no evidence of completion of his sentence. In his reply,
he merely argues that the defendants are attempting to mislead the court.
As the plaintiff fails to present evidence that he was discharged from his sentence prior to
January 3, 2019, he has not shown that the use of readmission rather than return in the initial
report entry was other than a coding error by correctional staff. Both records indicate that the
plaintiff was returning to the facility from CUSCOM, i.e., he was being transferred under an
interstate corrections compact. See Baltas v. Rivera, No. 2:19-cv-1043(MPS), 2020 WL
6199821, at *3 n.3 (D. Conn. Oct. 22, 2020). Further, he presents no evidence showing when the
record was changed. The most his evidence shows is that the entry was changed between
January 3, 2019 and November 4, 2019. Thus, the plaintiff fails to show that the record was
altered in response to his filing of this lawsuit on July 1, 2019 instead of on review in early
January 2019. The motion for sanctions is denied with regard to the movement record.
The plaintiff has submitted two versions of a Chronic Discipline release record. The
plaintiff states in his motion that both forms were signed by the warden on October 22, 2019 and
by Director Maiga on October 24, 2019. However, the copies he attaches to his motion as
Exhibits 3 and 4 appear to have been signed by the Unit Administrator on April 18, 2018 and
Director Maiga on April 20, 2018. See Pl.’s Mot., ECF No. 111, Ex. 3 & 4. He compares these
forms to another form, submitted as Ex. 5. The form in Ex. 5, completed in 2017, is different
from the forms in Ex. 3 and 4, requiring signatures in different places. The form in Ex. 5 does
not support the plaintiff’s argument.
In his motion, the plaintiff contends that Director Maiga and counsel altered a document
that showed Director Maiga approved the plaintiff’s release from Chronic Discipline status on
October 24, 2019. As the plaintiff submits no form with an October 24, 2019 signature by
Director Maiga, the plaintiff provides no factual support for his argument. The motion for
sanctions is denied as to the Chronic Discipline documents.
Further, whether the plaintiff was released from Chronic Discipline for completion of the
program or transferred from Chronic Discipline to Administrative Segregation is not the issue in
this case. As the Court previously explained, the issue was what defendant Rivera knew at the
time the plaintiff returned to Hartford Correctional Center. See Ruling on Motion for
Reconsideration, ECF No. 85 at 3-4.
Finally, the plaintiff contends that Director Maiga committed perjury when he denied
knowledge of the report indicating that the plaintiff had completed the Chronic Discipline
Program and denied that the signature approving the release was his. The plaintiff has presented
the document but has not provided any evidence that it is an authentic Department of Correction
record or that the signature at the bottom of the form, in a space designated for the Unit
Administrator, is that of Director Maiga. Thus, he provides no evidence of perjury and his
motion is denied.
The plaintiff’s motion for sanctions [ECF No. 111] is DENIED.
SO ORDERED at Hartford, Connecticut, this 16th day of July 2021.
Michael P. Shea
United States District Judge
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