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Deslonde v. State

August 10, 2010

JOSEPH DESLONDE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, DONNA BALICK, ROBERT GROVER, DENNIS NIEVES, NICOLE ALBERT, MICHELLE LIBRADO, LOUIS MANGIONE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joel A. Pisano United States District Judge

OPINION

PISANO, District Judge

Plaintiff Joseph Deslonde has brought this action against Defendants for constitutional violations relating to Plaintiff's detention. Plaintiff alleges violations of his Fifth Amendment right against Double Jeopardy, Fourteenth Amendment right to Equal Protection and Due Process, Sixth Amendment right to a Speedy and Public Trial and Right to Effective Assistance of Counsel, and conspiracy to deprive Plaintiff of these rights. This Court has original jurisdiction to hear this dispute pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

Presently before the Court is the Defendant Grover's unopposed motion for summary judgment. The Court decides this matter without oral argument pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78. For the reasons set forth herein, the Court grants Defendant Grover's motion for summary judgment.

I. Background

On July 14, 2007, Plaintiff Joseph Deslonde was arrested when police responded to a fight between Plaintiff's fiancée and members of her family outside the Marlboro Diner. Amended Compl. at ¶¶ F13, F14. Deslonde was not directly involved in the conflict, but when the police ran Plaintiff's name after questioning him, it was discovered that Deslonde had two traffic warrants out for his arrest. Id. ¶ F14. Since Plaintiff could not make bail, Deslonde was sent to Middlesex County Adult Correction Center ("MCACC"). Id. ¶ F17. After meeting with a social worker two-days later, Deslonde discovered for the first time that there was a third warrant out for his arrest relating to a 1995 probation violation from a 1989 indictment. Id. Plaintiff believed this third warrant for the probation violation was a mistake as he already had served his time in the matter. Id. ¶ F18. Plaintiff remained in MCACC for six months. Id. ¶ F20.

Plaintiff maintains that he was unlawfully detained in MCACC on the allegedly bogus 1995 violation of parole warrant. Id. Deslonde attributes the fraudulent warrant to a conspiracy between his fiancée Defendant Balick and her nephew Defendant Grover who was employed by MCACC in its Records Department. Id. ¶¶ F4, F21. Plaintiff alleges that as a result of a fight with Defendant Balick she conspired with Defendant Grover to place a bogus warrant into the computer system. Id. ¶ F10-11, F17, F21.

Prior to his release, Plaintiff appeared before Judge Nieves to discuss the parole violation warrant. Id. ¶ F24. Up to this point in time, Deslonde had refused to accept any plea agreements believing that the charges were not valid. Id. He claims that Judge Nieves, the State of New Jersey, Prosecutor Albert, and his Public Defender Labrada conspired to cover-up the fact that there had been a mistake with the warrant. Id. On January 1, 2008, Plaintiff was brought to a hearing before Judge Nieves. Id. ¶ F25. Deslonde maintains at this meeting that Judge Nieves and his lawyer tricked him into unknowingly signing a guilty plea by presenting documents as release papers. Id. ¶ F28.

On August 8, 2009, Plaintiff Deslonde filed an amended complaint claiming violations of his constitutional rights relating to his detention. Id. ¶¶ E1-4. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges violations of his Fifth Amendment right against Double Jeopardy, Fourteenth Amendment right to Equal Protection and Due Process, Sixth Amendment right to a Speedy and Public Trial and Right to Effective Assistance of Counsel and conspiracy to deprive Plaintiff of these rights. Id.

II. Discussion

A. Summary Judgment Standard

To prevail on a motion for summary judgment, the moving party must establish "that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). The district court must determine whether disputed issues of material fact exist, but the court cannot resolve factual disputes in a motion for summary judgment. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249-50 (1986).

In determining whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, the court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and extend all reasonable inferences to that party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986); Stephens v. Kerrigan, 122 F.3d 171, 176-77 (3d Cir. 1997). The moving party always bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, regardless of which party ultimately would have the burden of persuasion at trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once the moving party has met its opening burden, the non-moving party must identify, by affidavits or otherwise, specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Id. at 324. Thus, the non-moving party may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of its pleadings. Id. "[T]he plain language of Rule 56(c) mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Id. at 322.

Once the moving-party has demonstrated to the court the absence of a material fact at issue, the Supreme Court has stated that the non-moving party "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts . . . ." Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586-87 (citations omitted). In other words, "[i]f the evidence [submitted by the non-moving party] is merely colorable . . . or is not ...


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