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Craig and Natalee Lewis Young v. Cape May County

August 13, 2012

CRAIG AND NATALEE LEWIS YOUNG, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CAPE MAY COUNTY, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Joseph E. Irenas

OPINION

IRENAS, Senior District Judge:

Plaintiffs Craig and Natalee Lewis Young (collectively "Plaintiffs") initiated this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 to recover for alleged constitutional violations stemming from Craig Young's conviction and subsequent incarceration for distribution of cocaine.*fn1 Pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6).

I.

On February 21, 2007, Defendant Detective McLaughlin of the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office received a telephone call from "RB" stating that he could arrange a drug transaction. (Compl. ¶ 18.) On that same date, Plaintiff Craig Young (hereinafter "Young") went to the apartment of RB located in Rio Grande, New Jersey, to allegedly collect money owed to him. (Id. ¶ 20.) According to the Complaint, Young collected $80.00 from RB and left.*fn2 (Id. ¶ 21.)

On June 20, 2007, Detectives from the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office filed a criminal complaint and affidavit of probable cause for an arrest warrant, asserting that Young had committed the crime of knowingly and purposely distributing or possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute. (Id. ¶ 27.)

On July 15, 2007, Young was arrested on a warrant for possession and distribution of cocaine stemming from his February 21, 2007 visit to RB's apartment. (Id. ¶ 22.) The affidavit in support of the warrant allegedly stated that information was received from a confidential informant identified as RB that

Young came to the Rio Grande apartment to sell drugs. (Id. ¶ 23.) The Complaint alleges that Defendant Detectives McLaughlin and Skill knew that RB was not a confidential informant and knew that Young did not sell drugs to RB. (Id. ¶¶ 24-25.) The Complaint further alleges that Defendant McLaughlin verified on the warrant and later testified at Young's criminal trial that he met Young at the Rio Grande apartment, which he knew to be a falsehood. (Id. ¶ 26.)

Young was indicted and charged with third degree distribution of a controlled dangerous substance. (Id. ¶ 31.) Young was detained at the county jail, unable to post the $25,000 bail. (Id. ¶ 30.) From May 19, 2008 through May 21, 2008, a jury trial was held before the Honorable Raymond Batten and Young was found guilty. (Id. ¶ 32.) The Complaint alleges that Defendants McLaughlin and Skill fabricated their testimony and that Defendant Assistant Prosecutor Saverio Carrocia withheld evidence. (Id. ¶ 32.) On July 25, 2008, Young was sentenced to eight years of incarceration with four years of parole ineligibility. (Id. ¶ 33.)

On May 4, 2010, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, overturned Young's conviction and ordered a new trial.*fn3

(Id. ¶ 36.) Defendant Cape May County Office of the Prosecutor elected not to retry Young. (Id. ¶ 37.) On June 11, 2010, Young was released from jail. (Id. ¶ 38.) The charges against Young were formally withdrawn on September 24, 2010. (Id. ¶ 39.)

On September 16, 2011, Plaintiffs filed a Complaint in the instant action.*fn4 On February 15, 2010, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint.

II.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides that a court may dismiss a complaint "for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." In order to survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must allege facts that raise a right to relief above the speculative level. Bell Atlantic ...


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