On November 11, 1991, Plaintiff filed this lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Village of West Winfield and the County of Herkimer in the United States Court for the Northern District of New York, Syracuse Division. Plaintiff proceeded pro se and claimed violations against nineteen ...
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On November 11, 1991, Plaintiff filed this lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Village of West Winfield and the County of Herkimer in the United States Court for the Northern District of New York, Syracuse Division. Plaintiff proceeded pro se and claimed violations against nineteen defendants of his First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendment Rights. Specifically, plaintiff claimed that his arrest for speeding and obstruction of governmental administration, and his subsequent strip search and detention, violated his constitutional rights.
On August 11, 1990, plaintiff was driving through the town of Winfield when he was pulled over for speeding. He asked the officer if he was under arrest, and when the officer informed him that he was technically under arrest, Plaintiff immediately invoked his Miranda right to counsel, and refused to identify himself. He was taken in front of a judge, and further refused to identify himself, and refused to post bail. He was detained in the Herkimer County Jail overnight, where he was strip-searched.
On October 1, 1993, the Court (Judge Thomas McAvoy) dismissed plaintiff’s amended complaint and granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants on the basis of judicial, qualified immunity, or failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Plaintiff appealed.
On September 9, 1994, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, (Judge Ralph K. Winter, then-Judge Stephen Breyer, and Judge Frank X. Altimari) issued an opinion written by Judge Winter. (35 F.3d 77). The Court found that the arresting officer was entitled to qualified immunity on the false arrest charge; the specific officers involved in the strip search were entitled to qualified immunity because the contours of reasonable suspicion in these circumstances is not clearly established federal law; that absolute immunity attached to judicial and prosecutorial defendants. However, the Court found that Herkimer County was not entitled to qualified immunity.
On January 11, 1995, a jury trial was held between the plaintiff and defendant Herkimer County. At the close of plaintiffs case, the Court granted the Defendant’s motion to dismiss, and judgment was entered for Herkimer County.Blase Kearney - 05/09/2012