The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOSEPH E. IRENAS
This matter comes before the Court on cross motions for summary judgment. In this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 plaintiff seeks damages for an alleged violation of his Fourth Amendment rights when defendant forcibly entered plaintiff's home to arrest him. Because his arrest in New Jersey was 1) authorized by the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:160-6 to 35 (the "Extradition Act") and 2) based on a probable cause finding by a New York Supreme Court Judge who issued a New York bench warrant for plaintiff's arrest, defendant's conduct did not infringe plaintiff's Fourth Amendment rights. Defendant's motion is granted.
The plaintiff, Samuel G. Allen, was initially arrested at his home in Merchantville, N.J. on January 15, 1987 by defendant, James F. Wrightson, a State Investigator with the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of Criminal Justice. Plaintiff was thereafter convicted in New York for "failure to file taxes" and sentenced to probation. On June 19, 1989, a judge of the New York Supreme Court issued a bench warrant for plaintiff's arrest based on his violation of probation.
Defendant received a copy of the New York bench warrant and a letter requesting plaintiff's arrest in New Jersey for extradition to New York from the New York Attorney General's Office. Defendant also received notice of the warrant through a routine NCIC (National Crime Information Center) check.
Officer Saunders subsequently spoke with a Ms. Mary Jane Stevens, Allen's landlord. The officer identified himself, explained the purpose of their visit and offered to show Ms. Stevens the bench warrant for Allen's arrest.
The officers then called for and received assistance from the Pennsauken Police Department.
The officers made numerous efforts to contact Allen by knocking on the door and calling by telephone. When all efforts were ignored, the officers forced open the front door. They found Allen hiding beneath a bed in an upstairs bed room and arrested him. The area to which Mr. Allen had access was searched, and the officers found a loaded .32 caliber revolver, holster and military knife.
A. Summary Judgment Standard
Under Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 56(c), "summary judgment is proper 'if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.'" Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986).
There are no material facts in dispute. Allen's complaint challenges the lawfulness of defendant's entry, specifically asserting that his arrest following a forcible entry constituted an unreasonable search
and seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment. He relies primarily upon Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573, 63 L. Ed. 2d 639, 100 S. Ct. 1371 (1980) for the proposition that his arrest after a forcible entry without a New ...