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Boyd v. State

January 26, 2010

RE: DONALD E. BOYD
v.
STATE OF ARIZONA, ET AL.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: William J. Martini Judge

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. FEDERAL BLDG. & U.S. COURTHOUSE 50 WALNUT STREET, P.O. BOX 419 NEWARK, NJ 07101-0419 (973) 645-6340

LETTER OPINION

Dear Litigants:

This matter comes before the Court on the Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendant Sergeant D. Harvey ("Defendant" or "Harvey") pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2). There was no oral argument. Fed. R. Civ. P. 78. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's motion is GRANTED,and Defendant is dismissed from this action.

I. BACKGROUND

This is an action arising out of a pro se prisoner complaint. In 2003, law enforcement officials from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office in Phoenix, Arizona, investigated Plaintiff Donald E. Boyd ("Plaintiff" or "Boyd") in connection with the 1994 assault and rape of a woman that occurred in the Phoenix area. (Am. Cmplt. ¶ 36). At the time of the investigation, Boyd was incarcerated on unrelated charges in New Jersey and serving a life sentence and a consecutive 60 year sentence. (Am. Cmplt. ¶ 48; Dft's Br. at 3). Boyd was apparently linked to the 1994 crime by newly discovered DNA evidence. (Am. Cmplt. ¶¶ 56-57).

After the apparent connection was made between Boyd and the DNA evidence, further blood and DNA tests were conducted and analyzed. (Am. Cmplt. ¶¶ 48, 53). Additionally, the victim of the crime was presented with a photographic array of possible suspects. (Am. Cmplt. ¶ 38). Maricopa County authorities found that the results of these additional tests implicated Boyd and that the victim identified Boyd in the photographic array. (Am. Cmplt. ¶¶ 39, 65). Boyd refutes these findings, asserting that the blood sample did not match his blood type, and that his photograph was not even included in the array given to the victim, such that she could not possibly have picked him out. (Am. Cmplt. ¶¶ 43, 52-53, 60). Boyd also asserts that he was not in Arizona at the time the crime was committed. (Am. Cmplt. ¶ 63).

Nevertheless, based on these findings, Boyd was arrested, indicted for the assault and rape, and extradited to Arizona in 2007, where he was held at the Maricopa County Jail. (Am. Cmplt. ¶ 61, 68). For seven months, he was placed in administrative segregation and his movements were restricted. (Am. Cmplt. ¶ 72). He also alleges that he was denied proper medical treatment during this time. (Am. Cmplt. ¶ 70).

In March 2008, the Maricopa County prosecutor's office dismissed the indictment against Boyd due to insufficient evidence. (Am. Cmplt. ¶ 76-77). He was subsequently returned to New Jersey, where he is serving out his original sentences at New Jersey State Prison in Trenton.

In September 2008, Plaintiff filed a law suit in federal court in New Jersey against numerous law enforcement officers and governmental entities in New Jersey and Arizona for claims arising out of his arrest, indictment, and transfer to Arizona. He filed a complaint and then an amended complaint, but because the amended complaint incorporates the original complaint by reference and given Plaintiff's pro se status, both will be considered here. The gravamen of Plaintiff's grievance is that he was mistreated by law enforcement officials, possibly as retaliation for two law suits that he filed against New Jersey county jail officials, in which he prevailed. (Cmplt. ¶ 37; Am. Cmplt. ¶ 35).

Specifically, Plaintiff alleges (1) violation of his civil rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983, (2) false arrest, (3) malicious prosecution, (4) false imprisonment, (5) conspiracy to violate his civil rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985, (6) violation of his civil rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1986, (7) "emotional [sic] infliction of emotional distress," (8) violation of the state constitution, (9) federal constitutional tort, (10) state constitutional tort, (11) medical malpractice/ deliberate indifference, and (12) tort seeking the return of $750 from his former lawyer. Plaintiff's claims involving Defendant Harvey pertain to Harvey's review of certain police reports, preparation of the photographic array that allegedly did not contain Plaintiff's picture, fabrication of a story that Plaintiff's DNA matched samples from the crime scene, and alleged refusal to turn over to the defense DNA evidence that would have vindicated Plaintiff. (Am. Cmplt. ¶¶ 45, 65, 75). Presently before the Court is Defendant Harvey's Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2), for lack of personal jurisdiction.

II. ANALYSIS

Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2), the court may grant a motion to dismiss when there is a lack of personal jurisdiction over the defendant. A district court sitting in diversity may assert personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant to the extent allowed by the law of the forum state. Time Share Vacation Club v. Atl Resorts Ltd., 735 F.2d 61, 63 (3d Cir. 1984); O'Connor v. Sandy Lane Hotel Co. Ltd, 496 F.3d 312, 316 (3d Cir. 2007). Thus, the court must first apply the relevant state's long arm statute to see if it permits the exercise of personal jurisdiction. Then the court must apply the Due Process Clause of the Constitution. IMO Industries, Inc. v. Kiekert AG, 155 F.3d 254, 258-259 (3d Cir. 1998).

In New Jersey, the appropriate exercise of personal jurisdiction over non-resident defendants is allowed to the fullest limits of the Due Process Clause of the Constitution. Miller Yacht Sales, Inc. v. Smith, 384 F.3d 93, 96 (3d Cir. 2004). In order to assert personal jurisdiction over a defendant, the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment requires that (1) the defendant have "minimum contacts" with the forum, and (2) the exercise of jurisdiction comports with "traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice." Toys "R" US, Inc. v. Step Two, S.A., 318 F.3d 446, 451 ...


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