Blue v. Prince George's County et al

Filing 59

MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge George Jarrod Hazel on 9/18/2017. (aos, Deputy Clerk)

Download PDF
r" ,- " IN THE UNITED STATES IHSTRICT COURT FOR THE IHSTRICT OF MAI~YLAND Inn SEP \ 8 ~ 3: 52 SOl/tit em DiI'i.\,;ol/ IWGUELL BLUE, * Plaintiff, * CaS(' No.: G.III-15-1024 v. * SUKII.IIT BATTH, * Defendant. * * * * * * * * * MEMORANDUM * * * * * * OPINION This civil ril!hts action. broul!ht undcr 42 U.S.c. ~ 1983. ariscs Irom thc Novcmber 23. " " . 2011 arrest of Plaintiff Roguell Blue by Defendant addressing cross-motions summary judgment for summary judgment. Sukhjit Haith. In a previous Opinion ECF No. 50. the Court declined to grant with respect to the claims against Haith in his individual capacity. but instructed the parties to submit renewed cross motions addressing immunity. Alternative. Now pending bet(Jre the Court is Defendant's the applicability of l}ualilied Renewed Motion to Dismiss or. in the for Summary .Judgment. ECF No. 52. and PlaintiIrs Renewed Cross-Motion I()r Summary .Judgment. ECF No. 53. A hearing on the Motion was held on .July 7. 2017. See I.oe. Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the following reasons. Defendant's summary judgment. I. is grantcd and Plaintitrs BACKGROUND Motion. construed as one 1(11' Motion is dcnicd. I The facts of this casc wcre fully set forth in the Coul1's prcvious Opinion. ECF No. 50 at , 1-4.- but. for case ofrcference. I thc Coul1 will repeat the relevant lacts here. On Novcmber The facts relied on herein arc either undisputed or viewed in the light most t:lvorahlc to the Plaintiff. 23. 2011. Blue. an agcnt working assignmcnt to apprehend Maryland, ';'i 5-6. Court./d'; with thc fugitivc. thc Princc Gcorgc's oflicers. a picturc ofthc 8. While Bluc and Ycargin wcrc County policc arri\'cd in thc parking fugitive. and a copy ofthc Blue ejectcd the magazine warrant. Bluc sho\\cd /I!. from the MPI5. demonstrating 'i 12. At thc thc that it had bccn '1 14, loadcd. /d Bluc and the ofliccrs. including Ofliccr Sukhjit [hlth. law requircd S"" il!. ~ 15. According Bluc to havc a permit. back and li)[lh. Balth handcuflcd lilr questioning, '1 J 6, /d to the ofliccrs. to Blue. ho\\'cvcr. in the State of Maryland:' hc did /d'i 15. Allcr somc Blue and in!i11'l1lcd him that hc was bcing taken in Bluc called his supervisor Blue was on a lawful assignmcnt. .:'Pin cites to documents Bluc was with Blue about thc need lor a pcrmit and statcd "I have always known that you necd a permit to carry anything discussion whcthcr rille. /d A ranking police oflicial arri\'cd at not nced a pcrmit to lawfully carry a scmiautomatic the scenc. had a convcrsation began debating rille. /d '114, According required to have a pcrmit to carry his semiautomatic Maryland in Capitol lleights. who had sccn Bluc. /d '1'111-12. to a 911 call from a ncighbor his idcntification. requcst ofthc Court tmmhomcs At thc time. Blue was wcaring a badgc. tactical vest. and MPI5 thc fugiti\'c at 1015 Iluntsworth leaving the residcnce lot. in rcsponsc Agcncy. was on an around his neck, /d ,; 6, Bluc and his fcllow agcnt. Dana Ycargin. lound rilk' and apprehendcd ofliccrs a male fugiti\'c at thc Ilunts\ ECF No, 44 semiautomatic lor thc Unitcd Statcs Fugitivc Enforccment who spoke to the oflicers and explaincd /d Nevertheless. filed on the COlll1"S electronic Blue was ultimately filing arrcsted that lilr wcapons system (C~1/ECF) refer to the page llumbers gCllcratt:'d bv that svstcm . .•:rhc panies ECF No. 57. See "Maryland refer to this wcapon State Police Criminallllvcstigation Firearms to the tnke judicial li~earm ~s it F.3d Search." an "Mil IY" or an "AR. I 5'" COIJI/hlre EeF No ...• -t nt ~. ",illl & Wesson M&P 15" is a "Copy of the Colt AR.15:"'P<lgL's/ visioIlIFircarms/FircannSearch.asp.x 615. 621 (4th Cir. notice of information is labeled as notice that the "Smith 8ureau/LicensingDi Uniled Slales \'. Garda. &55 routinel\' interchangeably The COlll1 takes judicial in the Complaint. contained 2(17) (reasoning 011 stale and federal as an "MP 15:' 2 (Inst visited 011 14. 2(17) .. \'{'{' Sept. that "ltJhis co1ll1 and numerous ~o\'ernllleni .. websitcs"), others The COlirt refers violations and taken to thc Princc Gcorgc's County Dctcntion 'i 17. Thc Ccntcr. Id. chargcs Id. against him wcre latcr dropped. This lawsuit 1()II(m"ed. At a motions hcaring held on February 3. 2016. thc Court grantcd Motion to Dismiss Count III of Plaintiffs Defendants' alleged Ibilure to train. supervisc. Princc Gcorge's Motions County. for Summary and discipline Judgment. thc issuc. qualilicd thcrcl(lfc dcnicd thc remaining rencwcd motions discussing havc now submittcd light orthosc common II. which allegcd deprivation immunity 19.2017. in rcsponsc of qualilicd that. while ncithcr party or both motions and lor summary judgment. lOCI' No. 50. Both partics ECF No. 52: lOCI' No. 53. In claims in this action: thc ~ 1983 scizurc against Ofliccr Batth in his individual law Iliise imprisonmcnt/ralsc Count II against but invitcd thc partics to lilc immunity. lilings. thc Court will now address thc rcmaining to Cross- of civil rights pursuant to 42 was relevant to the disposition thc applicability which ~ 1983 against Dcl"cndant the Court also dctcrmincd portions or the motions. as lib!. renewcd cross-motions claim I(lf unconstitutional Complaint. ECF Nos. 45 and 46. thc Court dismisscd ~ 1983. lOCI' No. 50 at 12. Howevcr. had addrcsscd pursuant to 42 U.S.c. ECF No. 36: ECF No. 37. On January Officer Batth in his official capacity. U.S.c. Sccond Amcndcd capacity. and thc arrest claim. STANDARD OF REVIEW A motion to dismiss undcr Rulc 12(b)(6) ..tcstls] thc adcquacy ora complaint'" l're/ich ". ;\led. Res .. II/c.. 813 F. Supp. 2d 654. 660 (D. Md. 2(11) (citing Gerlll(/I/ ". Fox. 267 F. App'~ 231. 233 (41h Cir. 2(08). surrounding Motions to dismiss IlJr Ibilurc to statc a claim do "not rcsolvc contcsts the Ibcts. thc mcrits or a claim. or thc applicability or delcnscs'" I'relich. 813 F. Supp. 2d at 660 (citing I,,!lmr<!s \'. Cily oj"C;oItMwrtI. 178 F.3d 231. 243 (4th Cir. 1999)). To overcomc a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. a complaint must allcgc cnough Illcts to statc a plausiblc claim 3 Itl!' relief. Ashcrofi \', It/hal. 556 U.S. 662. 678 (2009). A claim is plausible when ..the plaintiff pleads !actual content that allows the Court to draw thc rcasonable liable ItJr the misconduct tnte and construes \'. Olil'l!I'. inlercncc Id The Court accepts I~lctual allcgations alleged:' thc laetual allegations that the delendant in the complaint is as in the light most 11lVorabie to the Plaintiff. See Alhl'ighl 510 U.S. 266, 268 ( 1994): /.oll/helh ('I)'.. 407 F.3d 266. \', Bd 01'( '011/11/ of'J)(/\'idsoll '1'.1' 268 (4th Cir. 20(5). Thc Court should not grant a motion to dismiss It)r failure to statc a claim unless "it is clcar that no relief could be granted under any set of 111Ctshat could be proved t consistent with the allegations." GE 548 (4th Cir. 20(1) (citing H..!. /IIC. llere. Dcfendant /11\', l'I'i\'(/le // has moved to dismiss or. in thc altcrnative. the Fedcral Rulcs of Civil Procedure. 788 F, Supp, 2d 431. 436-37 motion:' implicates the court's summary judgment (D. Md. 2(11). discretion If the Court considers summary judgment !t)r reasonable /l7c.. 637 F3d 435. 448-49 cannot complain (1989)), ECF under Rule 12(d) of See Kel7sil7glol7 Vo/. Fire Dep/ .. /I7C, \', MOlIIgolI/e/:\' Fed, R, Cil', P, 12(d), Ordinarily. Kolol7 /l1llus/I'ies, 247 F,3d 543. matters outsidc the under Rule 56:' and "[alii 0PpoJ1ltnity to present all the material that is pertinent parties have not had an opportunity I'. /'ol'ker. !tJr summary judgment. plcadings ... the motion must be treated as one for summary judgment parties must be given a reasonable 1', Bell Tel Co .. 492 U.S. 229. 249-50 NOl'lllIl'e,llem I', No. 45. A motion styled "in the alternative" Coullly. l'/ocell/ellll'ol'llIers discovery:' is inappropriate to the "II here the E. 1. du /'0111 de Nell/ours olld CO, (4th Cir. 2011). Ilowever ... thc party opposing that summary judgment was grantcd without discovery unlcss that party has madc an attcmpt to opposc the motion on the grounds that morc time lI'as necded for discovcry:' 20(2). / /lilTodl' l.Id 1'. Sixly /17/emel DOlI/oil7 NOII/es. 302 F.3d 214. 244 (4th Cir. And whcre ..the movant expressly summary judgment ... captions its motion. 'in the alternative' the parties are deemcd to be on notiee that the conversion as one Itl!' under Rule 12(d) may occur: the court 'does not have an obligation to notify parties of the obvious .... liar! \', L~lI'. 973 F. Supp, 2d 561. 572-73 (D, Md. 2(13) (quoting I.aughlill \', ,II~/ro, Wash. llirpor/s Au/h.. 149 F,3d 253. 260 (4th Cir. 1998)). Here. both sides have moved for summary judgment. and neither side has tiled an aflidavit or declaration pursuant to Fed, R. Civ. P. 56(d) c:\plaining why "for specilied reasons. it eannot present filcts essential to justify its opposition:' I'~/~rs \', Raillier. No. G.lII-14-00955. 2014 WL 4855032. at *3 (D. Md, Sept. 29. 2(14), City o(Molllll Therefore. Defendant's Motion will be construed as one for Sllll1maryjudgment. Under Rule 56(a). the Court "shall grant summary judgment if the mO\'ant shO\\s that there is no genuine dispute as to any material lilct. and the movant is entitled to judgment as a maller of law:' Fed. R, Civ. P, 56(a), A material fact is one that "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law:' A lIt/ersoll 1', Lih~r/y Lohhy, filL'.. 477 U.S, 242. 248 (1986), A genuine dispute as to a materialfilct e:\ists "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party:' Id The Court considers the filCtsand draws all reasonable inlerences in the light most filvorable to the nonmoving party. Scol/ \'. I/arris. 550 U,S, 372. 378 (2007), However. the Court must also abide bv its aflirmative obli1!illion to . ~ prevent filclUally unsupportcd claims and defenscs from going to trial. f)r~\l'il/ \', I'ml/. 999 F.2d 774.778-79 (4th Cir. 1993). Thc party sccking summary judgment bcars thc initial burden of identifying thosc portions of the rccord demonstrating thc abscnce of a genuille issue of material fact. .';~~ ('"Io/"x Corp, \'. Ca/r~l/. 477 U.S, 317. 323 (1986): Fed, R, Civ, P, 56(c), Once the mo\'ing party has met that burden. thc non-moving party must come forward and show that such an issue does e:\ist. S~~ Ma/sushi/a EI~(', Co .. \', Z~lIi/h Rat/io Corp .. 475 U.S, 574. 586-87 (1986), "The party opposing a properly supported motion for summary judgment may not rest upon the mere 5 allegations or denials of [hisl pleadings. but rather must set lilrth specific !llets showing that there is a genuine issue li)r trial:' fJollcllllt 1'. Baltimore Rm'clls Foothall Cillh, Illc .. 346 F.3d 514. 525 (4th Cir. 2(03) (internal alterations omitted). Cross-motions for summary judgment require that the Court consider "each motion separately on its own merits to determine whether either of the parties deserves judgment as a matter of law:' Rossigllol \'. "oorllllar. 316 F3d 516. 523 (4th Cir. 2003). "The Court must deny both motions if it !inds there is a genuine issue of material fllet. 'but if there is no genuine issue and one or the other party is entitled to prevail as a matter of law. the court will render judgmenl. ... Wallace 1', POlllos. No, CIV.A DKC 2008.0251. 2009 WI. 3216622. at *4 (D. Md, Sept. 29. 2009) (citation omitted), III. ANAL YSIS A. 42 U.S.c. ~ 1983 Claim Blue's suit is brought under 42 U.s.c. Imhler \', Pachlmall. 424 U.S. 409. 4 17 (1976). lilr "the deprivation of any rights. privileges. or immunities secured by the Constitution:' (citing 42 U.S.c. * 1983. which creates a "species of tort liability:' Mallllci \'. City o(Jolict, * 1983). "A plaintiJTprevails on a III.. 137 S, Cl. 91 1.916 (20 17) * 1983 claim ifhe can demonstrate (I) the defendant deprived him ofa right secured by the Constitution or the laws of the United States. and (2) the deprivation was achieved by the delendants acting under color of state la",:' Ross \'. Ear~l'. 899 F. Supp. 2d 415. 426 (D. Md. 2(12). atf'<!. 746 F.3d 546 (4th Cir. 2014) (citing Palll 1'. f)m'is. 424 U.S. 693. 696-97 (1976 )). Here. Blue alleges that Officer Batth violated his civil rights by "!llisely detainl ingl" llIue for carrying his loaded MI'15 in a residential area without a permit. ECF No, 44'i I. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States protects ..the right of the people to be secure in their persons against unreasonable seizures:' Manuel, 137 S, Ct. at 917 (internal citations omitted). The "seizure of an individual effected \\"ithout probable cause is unreasonable:' r. Cily of Winslon-Salem. Hrooks N. c., 85 F.3d 178, 183 (4th Cir. 1(96). There is no dispute that Blue was seized when he was arrested by the oflicers. Thus. in determining whether Bluc's ~ 1983 elaim survives Dclendants' Motion, the Court must lirst decide whether the officers had probable cause to arrest Plainti II I. Probable Cause Probable cause exists when the "totality of the circumstances:' ineluding the I~lctsand circumstances within an officer's knowledge, would "convince a person of reasonable caution that an offense has been or is being committed:' Wadkins \'. ,/mold, 214 F.3d 535, 539 (4th Cir. 2(00) (quoting Hrinegar \'. Uniled Slales, 338 U,S, 160, 175-76 (1949)). "The evidence needed to establish probable cause is more than a mere suspicion, rumor, or strong reason to suspect but less than evidence suflicient to convict:' Uniled Siales r. flan, 74 FJd 537, 541 (4th Cir. 19(6). Probable cause "is an objective test:' and courts "examine the I~lctswithin thc knowledgc of arresting ot1lccrs to determine whether they provide a probability on which reasonable and prudent persons would act: we do not examine the subjective belicfs of the arrcsting ofliccrs to determine whcther Ihey thought that the facts constituted probable cause:' Uniled Siaies ,'. Gray, 137 F,3d 765, 769-70 (4th Cir. 1(98) (emphasis in original): see also UniledSlales \'. fill/I, 74 F.3d 537, 541 (4th Cir. 19(6) (reasoning that ..[tjhe Supreme Court's dennilion of probable cause asks not whether the arresting oflicer reasonably believed thai the arrestee had committed a crime. but whether the evidence was suflicient to support such a reasonablc belicf' (citing Michigan \'. DeFil!i/,/w, 443 U,S. 31, 37 (1979)), "The Fourth Amendment requires gO\wnment oflicials to act reasonably. not perfectly, and gives those oflicials 'I~lir leeway fill' enl()rcing thc 7 "'//' 1aw. elen I'. \'(' al'O /'II/a. !. Maryland and Princc Gcorge's possessed suflicicnt 1'-SC-'0-'7(701.')/\).,_ .,) . I.)J. _ ••. County law to dctcrminc facts and circumstanccs IIC . s SUC1. t lC ourt cxamlncs rc Icvant whether Officer Baath objectively to have probable causc that Bluc was committing a crimc by carrying his loadcd M I' IS in a residentialncighborhood. /\t thc timc of Bluc's arrcsl. Maryland law considcred tircanns" certain lirearms to be "rcgulatcd such that Maryland regulatcd who could purchase. possess. or transport such lircanns. but did not rcquire a pcrmit for all "regulatcd lireanns."' See Md. Code. Pub. Satety. (listing as rcgulated lircarms all "handgunlsJ"' as wcll as a number of"assault including thc "/\K-47 weapons" in all forms" and thc "Colt AR-IS" "and all imitations"). rcquircd a permit only for an individual possessing a "handgun."' * S-I 0 I(p) Maryland Md. Codc. Pub. Salety. (2003). and made it a crime to "wcar. carry. or transport a handgun" without a pcrmil. Code. Crim. Law. * 4-203 (2011). , In the context of this crime. a "handgun" * 5-303 Md. is dclined as cither "a pistol. reHllver. or other lircann capablc of being conceal cd on the person."' or"a shortbarreled shotgun and a short-barrelcd rille."' Md. Code. Crim. Law. * 4-201(c) (2008). A short- barreled rille is defined as a "rille that has one or more barrels less than 16 inchcs long" or which "has an overall length of less than 26 inches and that was madc Irom a rille ... .".!d A short-barreled * 4-201 (I). shotgun is defined as a "shotgun that has one or more barrels Icss than 18 inches long" or which "has an overall length of less than 26 inches and was made Irom a shotgun."' !d * 4-201 (g). Viewing the filets in the light most lil\'(Jrable to the Plaintilf 13atth objectively the Court cannot lind that had probable cause that Blue was in violation of Maryland state law. While the MPIS likely qualilies as a "regulated Iireann.".4 this f~ICtalone did not require Blue to have a In correspondence with the Court. Batth's atlorllcy contends thaI the MPI5 is a "regulated lircarlll" hecause .'the AR-I.5 is a cheaper. civilian copy orille 1\1'.-47," EeF No. 157. V.•hether the MP 15 is "copy of the I\K-"'T' or a ' .1 permit for the gun. Balth would have had probable cause that Blue was in violation of Maryland law only ifBlue's MpI5 qualilies as a "handgun:' Balth docs not allege that the MpI5 is "a pistol. rcvolver. or other lirearm capable of being concealed on the person:' proffered to the Court in argument that the MP 15 is 16 inches or longer.; and counsellor Blue As such. \'ie\wd in the light most lil\'orable to the PlaintifL Balth did not have probable cause that Hlue was in violation of Maryland law. as Maryland law did not require that Blue have a permit to carry his Mp 15. Ilowevcr. Prince Gcorge's pre\'iously. Balth eontcnds that he had probable cause that Blue was in violation of a County ordinance. See ECF No. 52 at 5, As this Court acknowledgcd it is undeniablc Code of Ordinanccs possession. that Blue was openly in violation of Prince Georgc's County. Md .. ~ 14-140(a). which provides that ..,n 10 person shall ... have in his while loaded ... any lireann ... within onc thousand feet (I.OO(n of any home or residencc. other than his own ... :. See ECF No. 50 at 6. Thus. Oflicer Batth would havc objectively had probable causc that Blue was in violation of this ordinance. as at the time of his arrest. Blue was wearing a loaded MpI5 rille around his neck in a residential neighborhood. See it!. (citing ECF No. 44 at 2). Blue responds that while he was in violation of ~ 14-140(a). the Prince George' s County ordinance "was preempted previously firearms. acknowledged by Maryland state law:' ECI' No. 53 at 5. Indecd. the Court that Titles 4 and 5 of the Maryland Code preempt local regulations of See ECI' No. 50 at 7 (citing to Md. Code. Pub. Safety ~ 5-133(a)). and at 7 n. 6 (citing to Md. Code. Crim. Law ~ 4-20<)(a)). It is true that Maryland has preemptcd ..thc right of a "Copy of the COIl AR 15." s('e supra n.3. both of these weapons arc included in Maryland's definition of .'regulated firearm:" Sce Md. Code. Pub. Salely. ~ 5-IOI(p) (listing as "regulated firearms" both the "AK-47 in all forms" and the "Colt AR-15 ... and all imitations"). ~ \Verc this case 10 survive. the Court would have required Plaintiff to amend the Complaint bcforc considering this fact. <) county to regulate the Ann .. Crim. Law. Ilowever. provided * possession of in its preemption statute. Maryland included a grandllllher enacted in 1963. control. a county ... may exercise 31. 1984'" Id see Prince George's so long as it docs not create an inconsistency regulatory control. The Court need not conclude grandl~llher clause or is preempted. that this ordinance violated a presumptivcly DeFillippo.443 arrest Blue.' If the ordinance Even if the ordinance * 4-209(e)." llere. * to amend any 14-140(a) was with Maryland law or expand existing whether the ordinance is still valid under the in was unclear at the time. as ..there was no was or was not I preempted]. valid ordinance'" U.S. 31 (1979) (upholding unconstitutional)).' its existing authority because Officer Batlh is entitled to summary judgment either case. At mos1. the status of the ordinance precedent with this section or County. Md .. Gen. Res. No. 11-1963. and is not preempted controlling MD. Code clause. which that ..[tlo the extent that a local law docs not create an inconsistency local law that existed on or before December observed rille. or shotgun 4-209 (2010). expand existing regulatory originally a handgun. lleien. and hence the conduct 135 S. C1. 530 (citing ,1/ichig{l/l \'. arrest made under a criminal law later declared is still valid. Orticer Batlh clearly had probable cause to is in I~let preempted. Batlh is entitled to (]ualilied immunity. as discussed however. the Court linds that Officer below. by the partics nor was it identified in the Court"s previous opinion. The Court notes that its previous Memorandum Opinion cites ,\Iofa \'. Cify t{(jairhl.!l',\'hurg. 462 F. Supp. 2d 675. 690 (D. rvld. 20(6). for the proposition that "State law has so thoroughly and pervasively cm"ercJ the subject of firearms regulation and the subject so demands uniform State treatment. that any non-specified regulation by local governments is clearly pre-cl1lptcd." In a recent Maryland COllrt of Special Appeals case. however. the court reasoned that ..the State has HoI so extensively regulated the field of fireann use. possession, and transfer that all local laws relating. to fireanns arc preempted:. ,\'101(' \'. Phillips, 63 A.3d 51. 76 (Md. 20 IJ) (emphasis addt.:d). This lack of clarity regarding the preemption of local law on this issue further enforces I\atth. s argument fix qllali liL.d iml11unitv, discussed below. II The C(;urt acknowledges that based 011 the facts alleged-which Defendant has not disputed-- Orticer Balth detained BIlle not for a violation of ~ 14-140(a). but for an incorrect dctermination that "you need a penn it to carry !any firearm] in the State of Mar viand:. ECF No. 44 at 4. Counsel for Defendant conceded at an.Wl11elltthat this was incorrect. and that Blue did "not need a pennit for his MP 15 .• discussed above. the Fourth Circuit has made clear that probable cause .. is an objective test:' and courts '.cxamine the facts within the knowledge of I> This clause has not been raised 7 10 2. Qualified Immunity The doctrine of qualilied immunity shields police oflieers performing discretionary duties "'om "eivil damages insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly estahlished statutory or constitutional ". Fi/~gl'ro/d. rights of \dlich a reasonahle 457 U.S. 800. 818 (1982). Qualilied claims of constitutional violations person \Hllild have knmm:' I/orlmr immunity "protects police oflicers and puhlic oflicials li'OI11 'for reasonahle mistakes as to the legality of their actions ... , ,\/c/)clI7ie! \'. Al"I1o/d, 898 F. Supp. 2d 809, 831-32 (D. Md. 2012) (citing ;\/1'rc/WIl/ \', HOI/I'r.677 F.3d 656. 661 (4th Cir. 2012)), This doctrine "applies regardless of whether the oflicer's error is a mistake of law, a mistake of fact. or a mistake hased on mixed questions of law and fact." (;mh \', ROll7ire~, 540 U.S, 551. 567 (citing Hl//~ \', Ecollo/l/ol/. 438 U,S, 478, 507 (1978)): see also (jo/l/e~ ,', Alkim. 296 F,3d 253, 261 (4th Cir. 2002) (noting that qualilied oflieers li'OIll "had guesses in gray areas'" such that they arc personally transgressing immunity protects law liahle only ..tor hright lines"). An oflicer is protccted from liahility under ~ 1983 hased on qualilied the facts alleged show the oftieer's violated was clearly estahlished Wilsoll. 565 F. App'x. conduct violated a constituti()nal immunity unless I) right. and 2) the right at the time the ofticer"s conduct occurred. See Slreoll'r \', 208. 210 (4th Cir. 2014), With respect to the second prong. "lfJora to he clearly estahlished, would [havc] understlood] its contours 'must he sufticiently right clear Isuch I that a reasonahle oflicial that \lhat he is doing violates that right. ... (hrells \', Rolli/l/ore Cily Stale's Al/ol"l1eys Ollice. 767 F.3d 379. 398 (4th Cir. 2014) (citing Alldl'rSOIl \', Creigh/oll.483 U.S, 635. 640 (1987)), A "case directly on point"' is not required, "hut existing precedent must have placed the statutory or constitutional question heyond dehate," Ashem/i \', ol-Kidd. 563 arresting officers to determine whether they provide n probability 011 which rC3sonabie and prudent persons would act: \\c do not examine the subjective beliefs orthc arresting officers to determine whether /hey thought that the facts constituted probable cause." (irtW. 137 F.3d al 769-770 (emphasis in original). 11 U,S, 731. 741 (20 II ): see also Molhis \', McDonough, 3853087. at *23 (D, Md. June 19.2015) established. No, CIV,A, ELI 1.13.2597, ("'In determining courts in this Circuit ordinarily 2015 WI. whether a right was clearly need not look beyond the decisions of the Supreme Court. the Fourth Circuit. and the highest court of the stale in which the case arose. as of the date sc. of the conduct at issue."') (citing Doe ex rei. .Iohl7Son \'. 170 (4th Cir. 2010» (internal alterations Del'l, o(Soc. omitted). Here. the Court finds that it was not "clearly established" through a residential previously discussed. neighborhood in Prince George's Blue was clearly in violation of Prince George's of a loaded lirearm in a residential contends was "preempted was not clearly established. preempted Maryland As discussed by Maryland law. or expanded the regulatory County Ordinance neighborhood. whether the ordinance of whether the ordinance researching the question case law'. but what a reasonable the constitutionality of the conduct." person in a defendant's omitted). placing as "beyond debate." Ct. 348. 350 (2014). Blue's right to earry a loaded. semi.automatic neighborhood. with required of lawyers. whether an oflicer is not what a I,myer would learn or intuit li'OI11 (internal quotations nor is the Court aware of. any precedent was was inconsistent (r All/ore \'. NO\"{/I'm. 624 F.3d 522. 533-34 (2d Cir. 20 I0) ("In determining immunity. Blue scope: while the Court linds that oflicers must know the law. it cannot ask that oflieers also engage in the type of interpretation is entitled to qualilied Although ~ 14. state law."' the Court finds that this above. to determine would have required a determination that Blue could lawfully walk County with a loaded M1'15. As 140. as hc was in possession that this ordinance Sen's .. 597 F.3d 103. Even viewing the f~lcts in the lighlmost 12 position should know about Plaintiff has nol idcntified. COl'mll \', ('ol'lI/on. 135 S. rille in a residential I~lvorable to Plaintiff. this right was not clearly established. and Defendant 13atth is thus entitled to qualified immunity. Defendant's Motion is granted with respect to the ~ 1983 claim. H. Falsc Imprisunmcnt/Falsc Arrcst To prcvail on a claim for common establish that he was deprived Me!' 81. 92 (2006): eray to detain is equivalent law 11\lse imprisonment of liberty without consent or legal justilieation. ". ,1/(//:1'11I1It!.228 F. Supp. 2d 628 (D. Md. 20(2). to legal authority S/ll/e ,'. Dell. 391 The legal justilication under the law of arrest. See .IIoJ1lgollle/:1' WlIrt! ". 339 Md. 70 I. 721 (1995). "Thercforc. Wilsoll. or 1111sc rrest. Blue must a where the basis of a 1~\lse imprisonment an arrest by a police oflicer. the liability of the police oflicer for false imprisonment ordinarily depend upon whether or not the oflicer acted within his legal authority In Maryland. committed "[aJ police oflicer who has probable in the oflicer's presence 339 Md. 70.122 Br{)\l'I1. (granting authority (1995) (internal 1~t1searrest and imprisonment warrantless plaintifL ElIrly. believe to have committed alterations in his presence): omitted): the coul1must summary judgment Ash/Oil oflicer witnesses a misdemeanor ifan oflicer had legal authority to make a ask iL in the light most 11\vorable to the 430 (D. Md. 2(12).1I(1'd. For the same reasons as discussed such offense." Me!' Code. Crim. I'roc .. ~ 2-202 a l~lCt-linder could inter the plaintiff was not committing 899 F. Supp. 2d415. is being see 1Iiso /loss. 899 F. Supp. 2d at 430 (discussing claims). "To determine arrest liJr a non-Ielony. to arrest." Id \'iew. may arrest without a warrant to make an arrest without a warrant ifpoliee or felony being committed will cause to bclieve that a misdemeanor or within the oflicer's any person whom the oflieer may reasonably action is the charged crime:' /loss 1'. 746 F.3d 546 (4th Cir. 2(14). above. the Court linds that Batth is entitled to on Blue's false arrest/false imprisonment claims. At the time of his arrest. Blue was carrying a loaded firearm within 1000 leet of a residential IJ home other than his own. ". constituting a misdcmeanor under county ordinancc. See Princc Gcorgc's County. Md .. Codc of Ordinances * 14-140. Blue displayed this weapon in thc plain vicw ofthc officcrs. Thus. as a police officer empowered to arrest a person who commits a misdcmcanor in his presence. Officcr I3atth cxcrcised his legal authority to arrcst I31uc.Morcovcr. good faith and a rcasonablc belief that a misdemeanor is bcing committcd is a dcfcnsc to thc common law torts of t~llsearrcst and imprisonmcnt. See Piersoll ". Ray. 386 U.S. 547. 557 (1967): Tholllpsoll \'. ;Imlcr.lwi. 447 F. Supp. 584. 600 (D. Md. 1977) (finding good l~lithdctCnsc precludcd rccovery on f~llsc imprisonmcnt claim bccausc officcr rcasonably bclicvcd arrcst was legal). Givcn thc unccrtain application of the compcting lirearm rcstrictions. no rcasonable fact lindcr could concludc that Officer Balth did not act in good I~lithin making thc arrcst of Blue. Accordingly. Defcndant's Motion is also grantcd with rcspcct to thc falsc imprisonmcnt/falsc arrcst claim. IV. CONCLUSION For thc foregoing rcasons. Dcfendant's Motion for Summary Judgmcnt. lOCI'No. 52. is granted. Plaintiffs Cross-Motion It))'Summary Judgmcnt. ECF No. 53. is dcnicd. A scparatc Order shall issuc. Date: Scptember ( ( 4/C- 2017 GEORGE .I. IIAZEL United Stales District Judgc 14

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?