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Brown v. Cantineri

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

February 6, 2017

STEVEN BROWN, Plaintiff,
v.
MELISSA CANTINERI, Defendant. STEVEN BROWN, Plaintiff,
v.
LAURA SCHRECK, Defendant.

          OPINION

          KEVIN MCNULTY United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND

         The plaintiff, Steven Brown, is a pretrial detainee at the Passaic County Jail. He is proceeding pro se with this civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He has filed separate actions, captioned above, against two parole officers. The complaints are similar, however, and they arise from the same events. I therefore consider them together, and direct that this opinion be filed in both actions.

         Previously, this Court screened Mr. Brown's original complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A. Mr. Brown's original complaint raised two distinct claims: (1) that these defendant Parole Officer, conspired to illegally search his home and arrest him without a warrant on May 2, 2012; and (2) that they provided false testimony against him before a grand jury on March 13, 2013. The second claim I dismissed with prejudice because a grand jury witness has absolute immunity from any § 1983 claim based on the witness's testimony. The first claim I dismissed as untimely under the applicable two-year statute of limitations. This dismissal, however, was without prejudice, and I instructed Mr. Brown that he could file a proposed amended complaint asserting facts tending to establish that the statute of limitations should be tolled or otherwise did not apply.

         Mr. Brown filed a request for an extension of time to file a proposed amended complaint, and thereafter filed an application to amend, with a proposed amended complaint. Mr. Brown's request for an extension of time to file his proposed amended complaint will be granted, and the Clerk will be ordered to reopen the file and file the proposed amended complaint.

         The proposed amended complaint, like the original complaint, is subject to screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A. Under these statutes, I review the complaint to determine whether it should be dismissed as frivolous or malicious, for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or because it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from suit. For the following reasons, the amended complaint will be dismissed with prejudice.

         II. DISCUSSION

         These facts are based on the amended complaint and documents attached to it.

         In 1999, Mr. Brown pled guilty to sexual assault and was sentenced to 3 years' imprisonment. The sentence, under Megan's Law, also included community supervision for life. Attached to the complaint is a form entitled "Community Supervision for Life, " signed by Mr. Brown, containing the conditions of supervision. Among them are a provision that "18.1 am to permit the assigned parole officer to visit me at any time at home or elsewhere and permit confiscation of an[y] contraband observed in plain view by the parole officer." A special condition of supervision is that "2.1 am to refrain from possession or use of a computer with internet access without the prior approval of the District Par[ole] Supervisor."

         On May 2, 2012, Parole Officers Cantineri and Schreck, along with some police officers, went to Mr. Brown's home. They were admitted by a third person. Inside they seized a phone and computer, and arrested Mr. Brown for violation of his conditions of parole supervision. A complaint and arrest warrant were immediately obtained. Mr. Brown was charged with a violation of N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:43-6.4(d). The allegation was that, having been convicted of a sexual offense carrying a condition of community supervision for life, he violated the condition of his supervision that forbade him from possessing a computer with internet capability.

         On March 13, 2013, the grand jury heard testimony. Mr. Brown was indicted for the parole violation offense.

         Mr. Brown now sues for damages under the civil rights laws. The basis for the claims is somewhat unclear. At the root of it seems to be a contention that Mr. Brown is not a danger and should never have been placed on lifetime supervision in the first place. He claims that the defendant Parole Officers arrested him without probable cause, were responsible for the filing of a false arrest report, and testified falsely before the grand jury.

         A. Grand Jury Testimony

         Mr. Brown has re-alleged his claims against the defendant Parole Officers based on their allegedly false grand jury testimony. As noted above, similar claims have already been dismissed with prejudice based on absolute immunity. See Rehberg v. ...


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