Szathmary et al v. Elkton, Maryland Police Department et al

Filing 41

MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge George Levi Russell, III on 3/31/2017. (bas, Deputy Clerk)

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND ROBERT SZATHMARY, et al., : Plaintiffs, : v. : Civil Action No. GLR-14-2224 TOWN OF ELKTON, et al., : Defendants. MEMORANDUM OPINION THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendants’, Sergeant Scott Knauer, Officer Sergeant Matthew Jason Nussle, Hoffman, Officer Officer Lindsey Thomas Newton, Ziegenfuss (the “Officers”),1 and Town of Elkton, Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 36). Also before the Court is Plaintiffs’, Robert and Alyce Brooke Szathmary, Cross Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 37). traffic This 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action arises from the Officers’ stop of the Szathmarys in Elkton, Maryland Officers’ subsequent detention of Robert Szathmary. is ripe for disposition, and no hearing is necessary. Rule 105.6 (D.Md. 2016). and the The Motion See Local For the reasons outlined below, the Court will grant Defendants’ Motion and deny the Szathmarys’ Motion. 1 The Court will direct the Clerk to amend the case caption to reflect the full names and correct spellings of Sergeant Scott Knauer, Sergeant Jason Hoffman, Officer Thomas Newton, Officer Matthew Nussle, and Officer Lindsey Ziegenfuss. BACKGROUND2 I. A. Newton’s Stop of the Szathmarys On June 11, 2012, at approximately 10:10 p.m., Newton was doing speed enforcement on Route 40 in Elkton, Maryland, between Landing Lane and a bridge to the west. 18, 2016, ECF No. 36-3). (Newton Dep. 19–20, Feb. The Szathmarys, driving a Chevrolet Impala, passed Newton traveling forty-seven miles per hour, two miles above the speed limit. (Newton Dep. 22, 25). Newton began following the Szathmarys and pulled them over soon after. (Id. at 24). After stopping the Szathmarys, Newton approached the passenger’s side of their car. (Compl. ¶ 34, ECF No. 1).3 Newton informed the Szathmarys that their license plates were registered to a Nissan, rather than a Chevrolet, and that they were going forty-seven miles per hour where the speed limit was forty-five miles per hour. (Robert Szathmary Dep. 99–100, Feb. 17, 2016, ECF No. 36-10; Alyce Szathmary Dep. 13–14, Feb. 17, 2016, ECF No. 36-11). Newton driver’s license and registration. While waiting registration, for Newton asked Mr. Szathmary for his (Newton Dep. 28). Mr. Szathmary to began asking the provide the Szathmarys car’s other questions, including where they were going and why they had a 2 Unless otherwise indicated, the following facts are uncontroverted. 3 To the extent the Court discusses facts that the Szathmarys allege in their Complaint, they are uncontroverted as well. 2 baseball bat in the car. (Id. at 31). They said they were going to Lewes, Delaware or Cape May, New Jersey. 32). (Id. at 31– After giving the registration to Newton, Mr. Szathmary informed Newton that his driver’s license was in the trunk. (Id. After at 30). Newton told Mr. Szathmary to get his driver’s license from the trunk, Mr. Szathmary advised Newton that there were also (Compl. ¶¶ 39, 40). two unloaded firearms in Newton called for backup. the trunk. (Newton Dep. 43). B. The First Search Between 10:16 p.m. and 10:22 p.m., Ziegenfuss, Nussle, Nussle’s K-9 dog Rommel, and Officer Leffew arrived.4 (Cross Mot. Summ. J. Ex. 6 [“CAD Report”] at 2, ECF No. 38-6). Newton brought Mr. Szathmary to the trunk, Mr. Szathmary gave Newton permission to open the trunk, and Mr. Szathmary gave Newton his driver’s license. (Newton Szathmary’s handguns. Dep. 46). Newton (Id. at 45–46). secured Newton called dispatch and relayed the handguns’ serial numbers at 10:22 p.m. 49; CAD Report at 2). car’s passenger thereafter, asked Szathmarys’ car for drugs. 38; Nussle 4 Dep. 36, (Id. at He also observed loose ammunition in the compartment. Newton Mr. Feb. (Newton Nussle to Dep. do a 58–59). K-9 scan Shortly of the (Cross Mot. Summ. J. at 8, ECF No. 18, 2017, ECF No. Leffew is not a defendant in this case. 3 36-5). Nussle brought Rommel to the Szathmarys’ car for the K-9 scan. Dep. 36–39). (Nussle Rommel alerted near the car’s passenger-side door handle to the presence of drugs. (Id. at 39–41). After Rommel alerted, Newton searched the Szathmarys’ car by performing a “lunge, reach, grab” search of the front and rear passenger compartments, the areas underneath the seats, the glove compartment, the center console, and the floor of the back seats (the “First Search”). find anything illegal. p.m., and dispatch (VIN). again and at told (Newton Dep. 78–79). (Id. at 80). 10:36 dispatch (CAD Report at 2). p.m., the He did not During the search at 10:32 one of vehicle the Officers called identification number At 10:36 p.m., dispatch informed Newton that there was no discrepancy with the car’s registration after all. (Cross Mot. Summ. J. at 9). With Hoffman’s permission, Newton decided nonetheless to bring the car to the police station for another search. (Newton Dep. 80; Hoffman Dep. 16, Feb. 19, 2016, ECF No. 36-8). Mrs. Szathmary and handcuffed her. 19, 2016, ECF No. 36-7). Ziegenfuss patted down (Ziegenfuss Dep. 42–43, Feb. Ziegenfuss drove Mrs. Szathmary to the Elkton police station. (Id. at 41). Newton drove Mr. Szathmary to the police station. (Newton Dep. 81–82). By this point, the length of the traffic stop was approximately thirty minutes. (Robert Szathmary Dep. 67; Alyce Szathmary Dep. 22). 4 C. The Second Search At the police station, Ziegenfuss told Mrs. Szathmary she was released. (Alyce Szathmary Dep. remained in the police station lobby. 24). Mrs. (Id. at 24–25). meanwhile, detained Mr. Szathmary in a holding cell. Dep. 86). Szathmary Newton, (Newton Newton then searched the car again, this time looking underneath the hood, searching the areas around the front and back seats, feeling underneath the dashboard, opening the glove compartment, and searching the trunk (the “Second Search”). (Id. at 90–91). Again, Newton did not find anything illegal. (Id. at 110–12). Newton released Mr. Szathmary and returned the car to the Szathmarys. (Id. at 103–11). he released Mr. Szathmary at 12:45 a.m. According to Newton, (Id. at 87). According to the Szathmarys, however, he released Mr. Szathmary at 4:47 a.m., because they arrived in Dover, Delaware at sunrise, sunrise was at 5:47 a.m., and Dover is an hour from Elkton. (See Alyce Szathmary Dep. 34; Cross Mot. Summ. J. Exs. 9 & 10, ECF Nos. 38-9, 38-10). D. Procedural History The Szathmarys filed the present action against Defendants on July 11, 2014. (ECF No. 1). In their six-count Complaint, they allege: Custom and/or Policy in Violation of Constitutional Rights Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count I); Violation of Constitutional Rights Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count II); 5 False Arrest (Count III); False Imprisonment (Count IV); Battery (Count V); and Attorney’s Fees and Costs (Count VI). (Compl.). On April 15, 2016, Defendants moved for summary judgment on all counts. Cross (ECF No. 36). Motion Motion. for On May 6, 2016, the Szathmarys filed a Summary (ECF No. 37). Judgment and opposed Defendants’ On May 20, 2016, Defendants opposed the Szathmarys’ Cross Motion and filed a Reply in further support of their Motion, (ECF No. 39). On June 2, 2016, the Szathmarys filed a Reply. (ECF No. 40). II. A. DISCUSSION Standard of Review In reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the Court views the facts in a light most favorable to the nonmovant, drawing all justifiable inferences in that party’s favor. Ricci v. DeStefano, 557 U.S. 557, 586 (2009); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986) (citing Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 158–59 (1970)). when the materials movant in the demonstrates, record, Summary judgment is proper through including “particular depositions, parts of documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations . . . admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials,” that “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a), (c)(1)(A). Significantly, a party must be 6 able to present the materials it cites in “a form that would be admissible in evidence,” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3), and supporting affidavits and declarations “must be made on personal knowledge” and “set out facts that would be admissible in evidence,” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(4). Once a motion for summary judgment is properly made and supported, the burden shifts to the nonmovant to identify evidence showing there is a genuine dispute of material fact. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586–87 dispute (1986). material of The fact nonmovant “through cannot mere building of one inference upon another.” create a speculation genuine or the Beale v. Hardy, 769 F.2d 213, 214 (4th Cir. 1985) (citation omitted). A “material fact” is one that might affect the outcome of a party’s case. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; see also JKC Holding Co. v. Wash. Sports Ventures, Inc., 264 F.3d 459, 465 (4th Cir. 2001) (citing Hooven-Lewis v. Caldera, 249 F.3d 259, 265 (4th Cir. 2001)). Whether a fact is considered to be “material” is determined by the substantive law, and “[o]nly disputes over facts that governing judgment.” might law affect will the properly outcome preclude of the the suit entry under of the summary Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; accord Hooven-Lewis, 249 F.3d at 265. A “genuine” dispute concerning a “material” fact arises when the evidence is sufficient to allow a reasonable 7 jury to return a verdict Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. in the nonmoving party’s favor. If the nonmovant has failed to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of her case where she has the burden of proof, “there can be ‘no genuine [dispute] as to any material fact,’ since a complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party’s case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322–23 (1986). Here, judgment. the The parties have court, filed therefore, cross-motions for summary must each motion “review separately on its own merits to ‘determine whether either of the parties deserves judgment as a matter of law.” Rossignol v. Voorhaar, 316 F.3d 516, 523 (4th Cir. 2003) (quoting Morris 1997)). Inc. v. Harshbarger, 122 F.3d 58, 62 n.4 Philip (1st Cir. Moreover, “[w]hen considering each individual motion, the court must take care to ‘resolve all factual disputes and any competing, rational inferences in the light most favorable’ to the party opposing that motion.” Springfield 1996)). Terminal Ry. Co., 100 Id. (quoting Wightman v. F.3d 228, 230 (1st Cir. This Court, however, must also abide by its affirmative obligation to prevent “factually defenses” from going to trial. unsupported claims and Drewitt v. Pratt, 999 F.2d 774, 778–79 (4th Cir. 1993) (citing Felty v. Graves-Humphreys Co., 818 F.2d 1126, 1128 (4th Cir. 1987). 8 If the evidence presented by the nonmovant is “merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249–50 (citations omitted). B. Analysis Defendants argue they are entitled to qualified immunity. The doctrine of qualified immunity shields government officials “from liability for civil damages insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.” v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818 (1982). Harlow In the Fourth Circuit, courts should apply the qualified immunity doctrine “with due respect for the perspective of police officers on the scene and not with the greater leisure and acquired wisdom of judicial hindsight.” Gooden v. Howard Cty., 954 F.2d 960, 964–65 (4th Cir. 1992). Qualified immunity “is an immunity from suit rather than a mere defense to liability.” 526 (1985). that the Mitchell v. Forsyth, 472 U.S. 511, The United States Supreme Court has “made clear ‘driving force’ behind creation of the qualified immunity doctrine was a desire to ensure that ‘insubstantial claims against government officials [will] be resolved prior to discovery.’” Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U.S. 223, 231–32 (2009) (quoting Anderson v. Creighton, 483 U.S. 635, 640 n.2 (1987)). “Because the doctrine seeks to protect government officials from 9 the burdens of trial” and trial preparation, courts must resolve qualified immunity questions “at the earliest possible stage in litigation.” Cloaninger ex rel. Estate of Cloaninger v. McDevitt, 555 F.3d 324, 330 (4th Cir. 2009) (quoting Hunter v. Bryant, 502 U.S. 224, 227 (1991) (per curiam)) (internal quotation marks omitted). There government is a two-prong official is test protected for by determining qualified whether immunity: a (1) whether the facts that the plaintiff has alleged or shown make out a violation of a constitutional right; and (2) whether that right was “clearly established” at the time of the purported violation. Pearson, 555 U.S. at 232 (citing Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194, 201 (2001)). A right is “clearly established” when “it would be clear to a reasonable officer that his conduct was unlawful in the situation he confronted.” Cloaninger, 555 F.3d at 331 (quoting Saucier, 533 U.S. at 202). Courts have discretion to resolve these two prongs in whatever order they consider appropriate based on the circumstances of the case at hand. Pearson, 555 U.S. at 236. The answers to both prongs must be in the affirmative for a plaintiff to defeat a motion for summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds. Gomez, 324 F.3d 288, 293–94 (4th Cir. 2003). Batten v. The plaintiff bears the burden of proof on the first prong, Bryant v. Muth, 10 994 F.2d 1082, 1086 (4th Cir. 1993); the defendant on the second, Wilson v. Kittoe, 337 F.3d 392, 397 (4th Cir. 2003). The Court now addresses whether any of the parties deserves judgment as a matter of law on either prong of qualified immunity’s two-prong test. 1. Whether Newton Diligently Pursued His Investigation The Szathmarys bring their § 1983 claims under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Fourth Amendment protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures and provides that “no warrant shall issue, but upon probable cause.” U.S. Const. amend. IV. “Temporary detention” of suspects during a traffic stop by the police, “even if only for a brief period and for a limited purpose, constitutes a ‘seizure’ of ‘persons’ within the [Fourth Amendment].” United States v. Vaughan, 700 F.3d 705, 709 (4th Cir. 2012) (quoting Whren v. United States, 517 U.S. 806, 809–10 (1996)) (internal quotation marks omitted). seizure” custodial more akin arrest,” to the Because traffic stops are a “limited an “investigative Supreme Court’s detention than framework a for investigative detention set forth in Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), also applies to police conduct during traffic stops. Id. (citing United States v. Guijon–Ortiz, 660 F.3d 757, 764 (4th Cir. 2011)). 11 Under Terry’s framework for investigative detention, traffic stops are analyzed in two steps. First, courts ask “whether justified the inception.” police officer’s action was at its United States v. Digiovanni, 650 F.3d 498, 506 (4th Cir. 2011) (citing United States v. Rusher, 966 F.2d 868, 875 (4th Cir. 1992)). subsequent Second, courts inquire “whether an officer’s actions were reasonably justification for the stop. Here, the parties do related in scope” to the Id. not dispute the first step under Terry; they agree that Newton was justified in stopping the Szathmarys for going two miles over the speed limit. the Szathmarys argue that Defendants’ actions Instead, violated the second step under Terry because (1) Newton asked the Szathmarys questions unrelated to the stop, and (2) Defendants delayed checking the car’s VIN to do a K-9 scan of the car for drugs. The Court disagrees. Under Terry’s second step, “a traffic reasonable both in its scope and duration.” stop must be Digiovanni, 650 F.3d at 509 (citing Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, 500 (1983)). For a traffic stop to be reasonable in its duration, an officer “must diligently pursue the investigation of the justification for the stop.” purpose Id. addressing The scope of the stop is defined by its “the traffic violation that warranted stop” and “attend[ing] to related safety concerns.” 12 the Rodriguez v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 1609, 1614 (2015) (citing Illinois v. Caballes, 543 U.S. 405, 407 (2005)). To accomplish the purposes of the stop, an officer may not “detain the vehicle for longer than necessary.” United States v. Ortiz, 669 F.3d 439, 444 (4th Cir. 2012) (citing Caballes, 543 U.S. at 407–08). So, the “[a]uthority for the seizure . . . ends when tasks tied to the traffic infraction are -- or reasonably should have been -completed.” Cir. 2015) United States v. Williams, 808 F.3d 238, 245 (4th (quoting Rodriguez, quotation marks omitted). 135 S.Ct. at 1614) (internal “Any detention longer than necessary to accomplish the purposes of the stop must be justified by at least a reasonable suspicion of other criminal activity.” Ortiz, 669 F.3d at 444; see Caballes, 543 U.S. at 407–08. The Court now addresses the Szathmarys’ claims in turn under Terry’s second step. i. During driver for Newton’s Questions Unrelated to the Stop a routine a driver’s traffic stop, an and car license computer check, and issue a citation. officer may registration, ask the run a United States v. Green, 740 F.3d 275, 280 (4th Cir. 2014) (quoting Rusher, 966 F.2d at 876). An officer may also ask questions unrelated traffic stop without rendering the stop unlawful. 660 F.3d at 766. prolong the stop to the Guijon-Ortiz, The unrelated questions, however, may not “beyond the period 13 reasonably necessary to effectuate the purpose” of the traffic stop. Mason, 628 F.3d 123, 131 (4th Cir. 2010). officers diligently pursue their United States v. Ultimately, whether investigation examination of “the totality of circumstances.” requires Digiovanni, 650 F.3d at 509 (citing United States v. Everett, 601 F.3d 484, 494 (6th Cir. 2010)). Here, the undisputed facts show that Newton’s actions met Terry’s second prong. they exceeded the Newton pulled the Szathmarys over because speed registration discrepancy. Dep. 100; Alyce limit and because there was a (Newton Dep. 22–23; Robert Szathmary Szathmary Dep. 13–14). Newton asked the Szathmarys some questions unrelated to this purpose, but it is uncontroverted that he did so while waiting for Mr. Szathmary to find his registration. the unrelated (Newton Dep. 31–32). questions while waiting for Because he asked Mr. Szathmary’s registration -- which Newton is permitted to request, see Green, 740 F.3d at 280 -- the unrelated questions did not prolong the stop. See Guijon-Ortiz, 660 F.3d at 766. Thus, Newton’s questions unrelated to the stop did not violate Terry’s second prong. ii. It is Defendants’ Delay Checking the VIN undisputed license at 10:22 p.m. that Newton received Mr. Szathmary’s (See Newton Dep. 46) (describing that Mr. Szathmary opened his trunk to give Newton his license and for 14 Newton to secure his handguns); (CAD Report at 2) (showing Newton called dispatch and relayed the handguns’ serial numbers at 10:22 p.m.). It is also undisputed that Defendants did not begin checking the car’s VIN until 10:32 p.m. 2). (CAD Report at During the intermediate ten minutes, Defendants began a K-9 scan of the Szathmarys’ car for drugs. (Nussle Dep. 36–39). Defendants argue prolonging the stop by ten minutes to do a K-9 scan did not violate Terry’s second prong because Newton had reasonable suspicion of other criminal activity. The Court agrees. As described above, any detention longer than necessary to accomplish the original purposes of the stop must be justified by at least a reasonable suspicion of other criminal activity. Ortiz, 669 F.3d at 444; Reasonable suspicion is see Caballes, 543 U.S. at 407–08. present “when an officer is able to ‘point to specific and articulable facts which, taken together with rational inferences from those facts, evince more than an inchoate and activity.’” 336 (4th unparticularized suspicion or hunch of criminal Id. (quoting United States v. Branch, 537 F.3d 328, Cir. 2008)). The reasonable suspicion standard requires considering the totality of the circumstances, looking at all “of officer.” the facts Branch, 537 and F.3d inferences at 337. produced When by a looking police at the totality of the circumstances, circumstances “consistent with 15 innocent travel can, when taken together,” constitute reasonable suspicion. Sokolow, Digiovanni, 650 F.3d at 511 (citing United States v. 490 U.S. 1, 9 (1989)). To constitute reasonable suspicion, the innocent circumstances must “serve to eliminate ‘a substantial portion of innocent travelers.’” Id. (quoting United States v. Foreman, 369 F.3d 776, 781 (4th Cir. 2004)). Finally, when an officer has reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, the officer may detain the suspect to “permit the officer to (quoting allay Mason, the 628 suspicion.” F.3d at 128) Ortiz, (internal 669 F.3d at quotation 444 marks omitted). Here, the uncontroverted facts establish that Newton had sufficient reasonable suspicion of criminal activity consistent with drug trafficking.5 Newton observed a baseball bat and loose loaded ammunition magazines in the car’s passenger compartment, and he observed loose handguns in the trunk. 27, 45–46, 58–59). Newton’s training (Newton Dep. 26– advised him that drug traffickers carry weapons to protect themselves. 62); see United States v. Arvizu, 534 U.S. 266, (Id. at 61– 273 (2002) (holding that officers may rely on “specialized training to make inferences from and deductions about the cumulative information available to them that ‘might well elude an untrained person’” 5 The Court observes that the Szathmarys never contested whether Newton had reasonable suspicion. 16 in forming reasonable suspicion (quoting United States v. Cortez, 449 U.S. 411, 418 (1981))). In addition, Newton registration discrepancy. still had not resolved (Newton Dep. 41). the car’s What is more, when Newton asked where the Szathmarys were going, the Szathmarys gave inconsistent answers; they said they were going to Lewes, Delaware or Cape May, New Jersey. (Newton Dep. 32–33); see Digiovanni, 650 F.3d at 513) (holding that an unusual travel itinerary may be considered in forming reasonable suspicion (citing United States v. Brugal, 209 F.3d 353, 360–61 (4th Cir. 2000)).6 While some of these circumstances are consistent with innocent travel,7 reasonable taken suspicion together, because they they portion of innocent travelers.’” constitute “eliminate ‘a sufficient substantial Digiovanni, 650 F.3d at 511 (quoting Foreman, 369 F.3d at 781). Thus, the Court concludes that Terry permitted Newton to detain the Szathmarys further and request a trafficking. K-9 scan “to allay [his] suspicion” of drug See id. (quoting Mason, 628 F.3d at 128). 6 The Szathmarys maintain that because the Cape May ferry leaves from Lewes, Delaware, Mr. Szathmary’s answer was not suspicious and that Newton’s suspicion “was due to his ignorance.” (Pls.’ Reply at 6, ECF No. 40). It is undisputed, however, that Newton was aware that the Cape May ferry leaves from Lewes. (Newton Dep. 33). He nonetheless thought it was suspicious that the Szathmarys were not sure which location was their destination. (Id.). 7 Indeed, the Defendants never found any drugs in the Szathmarys’ car or on their person. 17 In sum, the undisputed facts demonstrate that Newton’s questions unrelated to the stop and Defendants’ delay checking the car’s VIN to do a K-9 scan did not violate the Szathmarys’ Fourth Amendment rights under Terry’s second prong. Accordingly, the Court concludes that Defendants are protected by qualified immunity for their actions and deserve judgment as a matter of law. 2. Whether Probable First Search The parties do not Cause dispute “Dissipated” that after After Rommel Newton’s alerted Defendants to the presence of drugs in the Szathmarys’ car, they had probable cause to execute the First Search. Instead, the Szathmarys argue that Defendants violated their Fourth Amendment rights when, after no drugs were found during the First Search, Defendants took the car to the police station to execute the Second Search. The Court disagrees. During a traffic stop, when an officer “has probable cause to believe that a car is carrying contraband,” the officer may do a warrantless search of the car at the scene or later at the police station. United States v. Fattaleh, 746 F.Supp.599, 601 (D.Md. 1990) (quoting United States v. Haley, 669 F.2d 201, 203 (4th Cir. 1982)). The Szathmarys first contend that a search at the police station requires Defendants to make an arrest. under United States v. Brookins, 18 the existence of But probable cause, rather than the arrest of a suspect, is what permits a warrantless search at the police station. See 345 F.3d 231, 238 (4th Cir. 2003) (holding that “the ongoing existence of probable cause . . . not the factual happenstance of search incident to arrest,” entitles an officer to a warrantless search at the police station). The Szathmarys next assert that because the First Search was fruitless cause and other “exculpatory” circumstances, “dissipated,” Second Search. preventing Defendants from probable executing the The Szathmarys’ dissipation theory relies on only two cases with binding authority: McDaniel v. Arnold, 898 F.Supp.2d 809 (D.Md. 2012) and United States v. Grubbs, 547 U.S. 90 (2006). In McDaniel, the Szathmarys overlook that the court was addressing how cause from exculpatory circumstances may being circumstances established may -- dissipate rather prevent than probable how cause probable exculpatory after establishment, which is what the Szathmarys argue here. its See 898 F.Supp.2d at 842 (“[I]n order to arrive at probable cause, ‘an officer may not disregard readily available exculpatory evidence of which he is aware’” (emphasis added) Arnold, 214 F.3d 535, 541 (4th Cir. 2000))). (citing Wadkins v. And the parties do not dispute that there was probable cause for Newton to execute the First Search. 19 In Grubbs, the Supreme Court observed that probable cause “may cease to exist after a warrant is issued,” but only after an officer learns that “contraband is no longer located at the place to be searched” or because the probable cause has grown “stale.” 547 U.S. at 95 n.2. Here, Defendants never learned after the First Search that drugs were no longer located in the Szathmarys’ car because Newton did not search the entire car. During the First Search, Newton did not search underneath the hood, underneath the dashboard, the glove compartment, and perhaps most significantly, the trunk; he searched these areas only during the Second Search. (Newton Dep. 91). Hence, only after the Second Search did Defendants “learn” that drugs were not located in the Szathmarys’ car. At best, therefore, probable cause “cease[d] to exist” only after the Second Search. See 547 U.S. at 96. For similar reasons, the authority outside of the Fourth Circuit that the Szathmarys rely on to advance their dissipation argument is readily distinguishable. The Szathmarys rely mostly on United States v. Bowling, 900 F.2d 926 (6th Cir. 1990), but in that case, the Sixth Circuit held that “where an initial fruitless consent search dissipates the probable cause that justified a warrant, new indicia of probable cause must exist to repeat a search of the same premises pursuant to the warrant.” Id. at 932 (emphasis added). Here, searched different areas 20 during the Second Search – he did not repeat the First Search.8 Grubbs and Bowling aside, in the Fourth Circuit, once an officer has probable cause, the officer “may search ‘every part of the vehicle and its contents that may conceal the object of the search.” United States v. Kelly, 592 F.3d 586, 590 (4th Cir. 2010) (quoting United States v. Ross, 456 U.S. 798, 825 (1982)). The uncontroverted facts show that Newton’s First Search and Second Search did just that. Thus, the Court concludes that Newton had probable cause to conduct the Second Search. In sum, the undisputed facts establish that the Second Search did not violate the Szathmarys’ Fourth Amendment rights. Accordingly, the Court concludes that Defendants are protected by qualified immunity for Newton’s actions and deserve judgment as a matter of law. 3. Whether Ziegenfuss Unlawfully Seized Mrs. Szathmary In addition to protecting a citizen’s right to be free from unreasonable searches, unreasonable seizures. the Fourth Amendment protects against Unus v. Kane, 565 F.3d 103, 119 (4th Cir. 2009). Reasonableness of a seizure “depends on a balance between public the interest and 8 the individual's right to For the aforementioned reasons, the parties’ disagreement over whether Newton conducted two searches, as the Szathmarys contend, or whether Newton began his search on Route 40 and simply finished the same search at the police station, as Defendants maintain, is inconsequential. The relevant issue is whether there was overlap between the areas Newton searched, not whether there was continuity between the searches. 21 personal security officers.” (1975). free from arbitrary interference by law United States v. Brignoni-Ponce, 422 U.S. 873, 878 The Fourth Circuit has identified three categories of police-citizen interactions: (1) an arrest, which requires probable cause; (2) a brief investigatory stop, which requires reasonable suspicion; and (3) brief encounters, which do not implicate the Fourth Amendment. United States v. Weaver, 282 F.3d 302, 309 (4th Cir. 2002) (internal citations omitted). first See two id. categories A seizure constitute occurs Fourth when, Amendment under the The “seizures.” totality of the circumstances, “a reasonable person would not feel free to leave or otherwise (citing United States v. Sullivan, 138 F.3d 126, 131 (4th Cir. 1998)). “[T]he crucial test circumstances terminate is the whether, surrounding encounter.” taking the Id. into account encounter, the all police of the conduct would ‘have communicated to a reasonable person that he was not at liberty business.’” to ignore Florida the v. police Bostick, presence 501 U.S. and go 429, about 437 his (1991) (quoting Michigan v. Chesternut, 486 U.S. 567, 569 (1988)). Here, the parties do not dispute that Ziegenfuss seized Mrs. Szathmary when she placed Mrs. Szathmary in handcuffs, put her in the back of Ziegenfuss’s patrol car, and took her to the police station. Defendants argue this seizure was permissible under the Fourth Amendment. The Court agrees. 22 Mrs. Szathmary’s seizure falls between the first and second kinds of police-citizen interactions identified in Weaver: the K-9 provided Ziegenfuss probable never cause formally of illegal arrested Mrs. drug activity, Szathmary. In yet any event, Ziegenfuss’s detention of Mrs. Szathmary was reasonable because Ziegenfuss had probable cause to believe Mrs. Szathmary was involved in illegal drug activity. See Jones v. Ashford, No. TDC-14-3639, 2017 WL 221783, at *5 (D.Md. Jan. 18, 2017) (concluding that plaintiff’s detention was reasonable because defendant officer had probable cause to believe plaintiff had trespassed). The Szathmarys also argue that even though Ziegenfuss released Mrs. Szathmary at the police station, she was still not free to leave because she lacked a purse, money, identification, mobile phone, or awareness of where she was. constitute a seizure. When determining This does not whether there is a seizure, courts do not consider factual circumstances unrelated to what the officer’s conduct communicated to the suspect. See Bostick, 501 U.S. at 437 (quoting Chesternut, 486 U.S. at 569) (describing the test for seizure as whether the “police conduct would ‘have communicated to a reasonable person that [she] was not at liberty to ignore the police presence and go about [her] business” (emphasis added)). It is uncontroverted that when they got to the police station, Ziegenfuss told Mrs. Szathmary 23 that she is released, and in fact, commanded her to leave. (See Ziegenfuss Dep. 24) (“You’re going to be released . . . You need to go.”). In sum, the undisputed facts establish that Ziegenfuss did not violate the Mrs. Szathmary’s Fourth Amendment rights. Accordingly, the Court concludes that Defendants are protected by qualified immunity for Ziegenfuss’s actions and deserve judgment as a matter of law. 4. Whether Newton Held Mr. Szathmary for an Unreasonable Amount of Time The Szathmarys’ final Fourth Amendment argument is that Newton detained Mr. Szathmary for an unreasonable amount of time under the Fourth Amendment. To review, a The Court is not persuaded. detention may be longer than necessary to accomplish the purposes of a routine traffic stop if there is at least some Ortiz, 669 reasonable F.3d at suspicion cause Mr. seizure, additional Id. (citing Herring v. United States, 555 U.S. 135, 136 that intrusive this arrest. assert more of activity. activity To a criminal illegal (2009)). permits other Probable 444. of Szathmary’s including detention was unreasonably long, the Szathmarys rely on Chambers v. Maroney, 399 U.S. 42 (1970), to maintain that Mr. Szathmary’s detention may only last as long as it would take Defendants to obtain a warrant. But Chambers does not address detentions at all. 24 The Szathmarys also rely on Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, 500 (1983), for the proposition that the scope of Mr. Szathmary’s detention Royer, must be however, tailored for addressed the its underlying scope of seizures detention is based on less than probable cause. 500 (“The reasonableness requirement of justification. the when the See 460 U.S. at Fourth Amendment requires no less when the police action is a seizure permitted on less than enforcement probable interests. cause The because scope of of the legitimate detention law must be carefully tailored to its underlying justification.”). The Szathmarys cite no other authority, and the Court’s own exhaustive research reveals none, that address how to evaluate the reasonableness of a detention’s length based on probable cause. Ordinarily, circumstances suspect, give those no such guidance is needed because rise same arrest that suspect. to probable circumstances cause usually for lead when detaining officers a to This typically renders the length of the preceding detention unimportant. Here, instead, there is the unique circumstance of a K-9 scan alerting Defendants to the presence of drugs in the Szathmarys’ actually finding any drugs. car, yet Newton never As a result, Newton detained Mr. Szathmary but later releasing him without arrest. The Fourth most Circuit analogous case, instance United States 25 occurred v. in an unreported Ramirez–Jimenez, where criminal defendant Ramirez–Jimenez was a passenger in a car that officers had probable cause to believe was involved in a drug deal. 652 F.App’x 211, 212 (4th Cir. 2016). An officer pulled the car over and multiple officers searched the car twice. at 213. Id. After “just over an hour,” the officers did not find any drugs and Ramirez–Jimenez was free to go. Id. On appeal, Ramirez–Jimenez the stop argued the “constitutionally excessive.” duration of Id. at 214. was The Fourth Circuit held that the presence of probable cause justified the “extended stop” and “protracted detention” of the car’s passengers. Id. at on the detained Mr. 215–16. The court, however, did not elaborate protracted detention’s limits under the Fourth Amendment. Here, the parties dispute how long Newton Szathmary. According to Newton, he released Mr. Szathmary at 12:45 a.m. (Newton Dep. 86–87).9 According to the Szathmarys, he released Mr. Szathmary at 4:47 a.m. Dep. 34 (testifying that the (See Alyce Szathmary Szathmarys arrived in Dover at sunrise); Cross Mot. Summ. J. Exs. 9 & 10 (stating that sunrise that day was 5:47 a.m. and that Dover is a one hour drive from Elkton)). But assessing whether either detention’s length was unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment requires the Court, at 9 To the extent the Szathmarys ask the Court to make a credibility determination as to Newton’s recordkeeping, the Court will not assess the credibility of a witness when considering a motion for summary judgment. 26 best, to apply the vague standard in Ramirez–Jimenez. Because the Fourth Circuit decided Ramirez–Jimenez in June of 2016, a little over four years after Newton detained Mr. Szathmary, the Court concludes that Mr. Szathmary’s rights were not “clearly established” at the time of Newton’s purported violation. See Pearson, 555 U.S. at 232 (citing Saucier, 533 U.S. at 201). Thus, Defendants have met their burden under the second prong of qualified immunity. See Wilson, 337 F.3d at 397. Accordingly, the Court concludes that Defendants are protected by qualified immunity for Newton’s actions and deserve judgment as a matter of law. 5. Claims under Maryland Law Finally, the sole remaining claims under Maryland law are the Szathmarys’ claims relating to Newton’s detention of Mr. Szathmary. jurisdiction District courts may decline to exercise supplemental over a state claim if “the district court has dismissed all claims over which it has original jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3) (2012). District courts “enjoy wide latitude” in making this determination. F.3d 106, 110 (4th Cir. 1995). Shanaghan v. Cahill, 58 The Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over these claims. Accordingly, the Court will grant Defendants’ Motion and deny the Szathmarys’ Motion. 27 III. CONCLUSION For the foregoing reasons, the Court will GRANT Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 36) and DENY Plaintiffs’ Cross Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 37). also ENTER judgment in favor of Defendants. The Court will A separate Order follows. Entered this 31th day of March, 2017 /s/ ________________________ George L. Russell, III United States District Judge 28

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