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Stamps v. Rollins

United States District Court, D. Maryland

March 15, 2018

RUPERT STAMPS, Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICER LEROY ROLLINS and DETECTIVE PARIS CAPALUPO, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          THEODORE D. CHUANG JUDGE

         Plaintiff Rupert Stamps, a prisoner incarcerated at Western Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Maryland, has brought this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Officer Leroy Rollins of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (“MPDDC”) and Detective Paris Capalupo of the Montgomery County Police Department (“MCPD”) in Maryland. Stamps alleges that Rollins violated his rights under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution by providing untruthful and inadequate information in an affidavit supporting Stamps's extradition from Washington, D.C. to Maryland. Stamps further alleges that Capalupo violated his Fourth Amendment rights by providing to Rollins the untruthful information that appeared in the affidavit, and by searching Stamps's cell phone without a warrant. Defendants have each filed a separate Motion to Dismiss. Having reviewed the pleadings and briefs, the Court finds that no hearing is necessary to decide the Motions. See D. Md. Local R. 105.6. For the reasons set forth below, Rollins's Motion is GRANTED, and Capalupo's Motion is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

         BACKGROUND

         On November 18, 2014, the District Court for Montgomery County, Maryland issued a warrant for Stamps's arrest.[1] The warrant listed 17 charges, including two counts each of attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit second-degree murder, arising from separate armed robberies of Sweeney Building Services (“SBS”) in Gaithersburg, Maryland on August 14, 2014 and November 6, 2014. On November 18, 2014, Stamps was arrested in Washington, D.C. by the MPDDC's Fugitive Unit based on an entry in the National Crime Information Center (“NCIC”) system.

         On November 19, 2014, Rollins signed an “Affidavit in Support of an Arrest Warrant” before the Deputy Clerk of the Superior Court for the District of Columbia (“D.C. Superior Court”). In the Affidavit, he affirmed that (1) MPDDC had received an NCIC alert that the MCPD had an outstanding arrest warrant for Stamps; (2) the outstanding warrant charged Stamps with “Homicide”; (3) the warrant was dated November 18, 2014; and (4) Stamps had been arrested in Washington, D.C. on November 18, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. Stamps was arraigned in D.C. Superior Court, where he waived extradition while represented by counsel. He was then extradited to Maryland.

         During Stamps's arrest in Washington, D.C., the arresting officer took his cell phone. Stamps alleges that his phone was then provided to Capalupo, the MCPD detective investigating the SBS robberies, and that Capalupo retrieved “phone numbers, pictures, texts, incoming calls, outgoing calls, [and] personal data” from the phone. Compl. at 6-7, ECF No. 1.[2] The record contains no evidence that a search warrant was obtained prior to this search.

         On January 29, 2015, Stamps was indicted on four counts of conspiracy to commit armed robbery. During the ensuing jury trial in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, the government introduced cell phone records and cellular location data, as well as expert testimony regarding this evidence, to show phone calls between Stamps and his alleged co-conspirators at times relevant to the robberies, and his location at the time of those calls. See Stamps v. State, No. 2260, 2017 WL 695371, at *3 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. Feb. 22, 2017). On August 21, 2015, Stamps was convicted on all four counts.

         Stamps appealed his conviction to the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, raising multiple arguments not relevant to this case. The Court of Special Appeals affirmed the trial court on all issues but one: it ruled that Stamps could be convicted on only two counts, one conspiracy charge for each armed robbery of the SBS, because the other two counts were multiplicitous. See Stamps, 2017 WL 695371, at *13-14. His case was remanded for resentencing.

         While that appeal was pending, Stamps filed a motion in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County seeking a hearing pursuant to Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154, 155-56 (1978) (holding that “where the defendant makes a substantial preliminary showing that a false statement knowingly and intentionally, or with reckless disregard for the truth, was included by the affiant in the warrant affidavit, and if the allegedly false statement is necessary to the finding of probable cause, the Fourth Amendment requires that a hearing be held at the defendant's request”). Neither the Motion for a Franks Hearing nor the related briefing are in the record. The Circuit Court denied the motion. Stamps then appealed to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, which described Stamps's motion as follows:

In that motion, Stamps claimed that prior to being charged in this case, he was arrested pursuant to a warrant in another case that was supported by an affidavit containing materially false statements of fact. He further asserted that when he was arrested on that warrant, some of his personal belongings were improperly seized and that one of those items, a cell phone, was introduced as evidence at his trial in this case.

Stamps v. State, No. 1164, 2017 WL 2858945, at *1 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. July 5, 2017). The Court of Special Appeals affirmed the Circuit Court's denial of the motion, stating that Stamps had failed to provide more than conclusory allegations that the warrant contained a deliberate falsehood or showed a reckless disregard for the truth. Id. The Court of Appeals of Maryland denied Stamps's petition for a writ of certiorari. Stamps v. State, 170 A.3d 299 (Md. 2017) (unpublished).

         Several months before the Court of Special Appeals issued its decision, on March 27, 2017, Stamps filed this case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking $500, 000 in damages based on his Fourth Amendment claims that he was arrested without probable cause and that Capalupo unlawfully searched his cell phone without a warrant. Stamps argues that Rollins is liable for Stamps's allegedly unlawful arrest because he included a false statement that Stamps was wanted for “homicide” in the extradition affidavit submitted to the D.C. Superior Court, and because his affidavit included insufficient information to support a finding of probable cause. Stamps argues that Capalupo is liable for his arrest because he believes that Capalupo provided the false information about Stamps's homicide charge to Rollins, and that Capalupo is liable for searching Stamps's cell phone without a warrant. Both Defendants have filed Motions to Dismiss. Stamps has filed a Motion for Default Judgment.

         DISCUSSION

         Defendants seek dismissal on the grounds that (1) service of process was inadequate; (2) Stamps's arrest in Washington, D.C. and extradition to Maryland were lawful; (3) Capalupo is entitled to qualified immunity; and (4) Stamps's claims are barred by collateral estoppel and Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994). Before addressing Defendants' Motions, the Court will first address Stamps's pending Motion for Default Judgment.

         I. Motion for Default Judgment

         On February 23, 2018, after briefing on both Motions to Dismiss had been completed, Stamps filed a Motion for Default Judgment. Stamps asserts that Rollins incorrectly filed his reply memorandum in support of his Motion to Dismiss and did not remedy that error when the Court asked Rollins to re-file that brief. See ...


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