United States District Court, D. New Jersey
GARRY D. LLOYD, Plaintiff,
TROOPER MICHAEL C. MURRAY, Defendant.
MICHAEL A. CAUDO On behalf of Plaintiff.
P. PREUSS OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL DIVISION OF LAW On
behalf of Defendant Trooper Michael C. Murray.
L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
Garry D. Lloyd, was arrested on February 6, 2012 by
Defendant, New Jersey State Trooper Michael C. Murray, for
receiving a stolen Bobcat excavator. Presently before the
Court is the motion of Defendant for summary judgment on
Plaintiff's claims that Defendant violated
Plaintiff's federal and state constitutional rights by
maliciously prosecuting him. For the reasons expressed below,
Defendant's motion will be granted.
January 2012, Murray received a dispatch call indicating that
a mini excavator belonging to the Martin Corporation, with
the serial number 514016890, had been stolen from a work
site. Murray met with Thomas Martin, the owner of the stolen
excavator, who gave him a description of the excavator as
well its serial number.
February 6, 2012, Murray received a phone call from Martin.
Martin told him that he had received a tip from an informant
in response to an offer of a reward,  which indicated that the
excavator had been seen at 1479 Coles Mill Road,
went to 1479 Coles Road, and met with the property owners,
Gerry and Patricia Swain. The Swains granted Murray
permission to enter onto their property to search for the
excavator. Murray did not find the excavator during his
search of the 1479 property, but the informant who gave the
tip came to the property and directed him to where the
excavator was located. Gerry Swain also told Murray that he
had seen a man named Garry, the boyfriend of the woman who
owned the adjoining property - 1497 Coles Mill Road -
directing another man in using an excavator fitting the
description of the stolen excavator to do work on the
adjoining property. 1479 and 1497 were large, adjacent lots
on agricultural land that did not have clear demarcations
Murray searched the indicated area on 1497 Coles Mill Road,
he found an excavator that matched the description received
from Martin between two trailers. Although the serial numbers
had been removed from the main part of the excavator, the
number on the engine block matched the number for
Martin's excavator, which definitively identified it as
the one that had been stolen from Martin. Murray allowed
Martin to retrieve his excavator.
continued his investigation by checking the tax records for
1497 Coles Mill Road, which showed that it was owned by a
woman named Gail Stadtler. Murray traveled to 1332
Franklinville-Williamstown Road, where he was told Plaintiff
and Stadtler resided. He was not able to make contact at that
time. Murray returned to that address to following day and
spoke with Plaintiff. Plaintiff agreed to come to the
Bridgeton police barracks to make a statement. Once at the
barracks, Murray presented Plaintiff with a Miranda card.
Plaintiff signed the card but refused to make a statement.
Murray then arrested Plaintiff.
March 2014, Murray testified before the grand jury. Murray
testified that Martin had reported a Bobcat excavator stolen
from his work site; that the Bobcat's serial number was
514016890; that the Bobcat was found at 1497 Coles Mill Road,
in Monroe Township; that Martin identified the Bobcat as the
one that was stolen from him; that the 1497 property was
owned by Gail Stadtler, and that her boyfriend, Garry Lloyd,
was scrapping trailers on the property.
Murray's testimony, the grand jury indicted Plaintiff,
charging him with one count of receiving stolen property, in
violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7(a). Murray was never called to
appear in court as part of the prosecution of Plaintiff and
took no further part in the prosecution. On August 30, 2013,
the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office dismissed the
indictment against Plaintiff.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
removed Plaintiff's Complaint to this Court. Because
Plaintiff has brought federal constitutional claims pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as a claim under New Jersey
law, this Court has jurisdiction over Plaintiff's federal
claims under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and may exercise