United States District Court, D. Maryland
GARY WARREN HANCOCK. JR. #56765-037 Plaintiff,
THOMAS M. SULLIVAN, MICHAEL THOMAS PACKARD, JOHN CHAMBLE, GARY EDWARD PROCTOR, LAKEYTRIA WINDRAY FELDER, PATRICIA SLATER, ERICK GONZALEZ, EUGENE WHITE, ROBERT STEVENSON, RICHARD WOHKITTEL, VALENCIA MOSS, DESMON DAWSON, MAIUSZ RICHTER, Defendants.
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW United States District Judge.
29, 2013, a criminal indictment was filed against Gary Warren
Hancock. After a six-day jury trial, on May 6, 2015, Hancock
was found guilty of interference with commerce by robbery,
possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of
violence, and possession of a firearm by a person convicted
of a crime punishable by imprisonment for one year or more,
in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1951(a),
924(c)(1)A)(ii), and 922(g)(1). Hancock was sentenced on
March 3, 2016 and the judgment was docketed on March 4, 2016.
See United States v. Hancock, Criminal No.
GJH-13-0274. (D. Md.). A Notice of Appeal was filed that same
day and remains pending before the United States Court of
Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. See United States v.
Hancock, No. 16-4122, ECF No. 84 (4th Cir.
March 28, 2017) (unpublished order placing case in abeyance
for Dimaya, last reviewed May 30, 2018).
January 9, 2018, Hancock, who is currently confined at the
United States Penitentiary in Jonesville, Virginia, filed a
self-represented civil rights complaint, citing to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 and 28 U.S.C. § 1331 or a
“Bivens” action. The complaint was accompanied by a
motion to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 2.)
Hancock's complaint names multiple defendants, including
Assistant United States Attorneys, employees of the Office of
the Federal Public Defender, Hancock's court-appointed
Criminal Justice Act (CJA) defense attorney, several police
officers, and an Information Technology (IT) specialist
employed by the Bowie, Maryland Police Department, and a
police officer with the Prince George's County Police
complains that he was forcefully rammed off of his motorcycle
by an unmarked police cruiser on May 2, 2013. He states that
the “dash-cam” video of him being rammed off his
motorcycle in a PIT maneuver was shown to him by his defense
attorney at the time (LaKeytria Windray Felder) while he was
detained at a local jail. Hancock alleges that this defense
attorney refused to raise Fourth Amendment excessive force
issues per Hancock's request, causing him to request a
new attorney. He states that a new attorney (Gary Proctor)
was appointed to represent him. ECF No. 1, pp. 6-8.
claims that upon review of the “defense file”
provided by the prosecution, it was determined that defense
attorney Proctor had possession of all digital discovery
except for the “dash-cam” video showing the
vehicular pursuit and the PIT maneuver. He claims that
Proctor was also not provided the original police report,
which set out the route of the pursuit. Hancock states that
the replacement video that was provided to Proctor and
Hancock had been altered and was
“different” from the one he had previously seen at
the local jail. ECF No. 1, pp. 9-11. He claims that a number
of his self-represented motions filed in the criminal case
were supported by the original/authentic dash-cam video and
the continued use of the fabricated video caused him severe
and permanent emotional distress and psychological trauma.
Id., p. 12. Hancock claims that there was a second
fabricated video provided by a prosecutor at an in-court
hearing purportedly taken from the police cruiser of Prince
George's County Police Officer Dawson. He states that the
route of pursuit shown on the video, as well as a detail of
his motorcycle (without a license plate) was altered from the
original video. Id., pp. 16-17.
additionally complains that an investigator for the Federal
Public Defender, Patricia Slater, provided a copy of the
fabricated video and passed it off as the original video. He
states that in furtherance of the “conspiracy, ”
defense counsel Gary Proctor allowed the criminal case to
proceed with the fabricated videos and refused to investigate
or hire an investigator to help prove the false nature of the
evidence and requested a mental evaluation of Hancock,
causing a delay in the proceedings. He further asserts that
several Bowie police officers, Eugene White, Erick Gonzalez,
and Robert Stevenson, testified in support of the fabricated
evidence. He complains that he filed several subpoenas for
the original “dash-cam” video with the Bowie
Police Department but received multiple blank discs in
response. He alleges that an IT Specialist, Mariuz Richter,
with the Bowie Police Department, testified falsely at trial
as to the authenticity of the video presented and that Bowie
Police Officer Moss wrote a statement that had incorrect
information in it. He accuses Defendants Felder and Proctor
of legal malpractice. ECF No. 1, pp. 19-26, & 29.
seeks declaratory relief related to the alleged perjured
testimony, furnishing of a false statement, and presentation
of evidence regarding the aforementioned fabricated material.
He also seeks unspecified compensatory damages, jointly and
severally against Defendants for the denial of his due
process rights and legal malpractice, as well as unspecified
punitive damages. Id., pp. 29-40.
sought leave to amend or correct his complaint, to delete one
section and include another paragraph which raises
allegations against Defendants Proctor, Sullivan, and Chamble
regarding the fabricated “dash-cam” video. ECF
No. 3 & ECF No. 3-1. The motion to amend/correct
complaint will be granted.
Hancock has filed a motion to change venue. ECF No. 5. He
opines that as this suit names several prosecutors and public
defenders associated with the Southern Division courthouse,
he believes a conflict of interest exits as the court has a
“friendly rapport” with the Defendants. He asks
that the case be reassigned to the Northern Division court in
Baltimore, Maryland. Id.
motion to change venue will be denied. Under 28 U.S.C. §
1391(b), venue is proper in a given “judicial
district, ” not a specific division within
that district. 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) (emphasis added).
Moreover, “[t]he assignment of a case to the Southern
Division…or the Northern Division … is governed
by Local Rule 501, ” which “is simply a
‘rule of administrative convenience' that does not
‘confer any rights upon any litigant.'”
Tall v. P'ship Dev. Grp., Inc, No. RDB-15-3352,
2016 WL 1696466, at *4 (D. Md. Apr. 28, 2016) (quoting Loc.
R. 501.1), aff'd sub nom. Tall v. P'ship Dev.
Grp., Inc., 669 Fed App'x 679, 2016 WL 6123507 (4th
Cir. Oct. 20, 2016). Under Local Rule 501.3, “[a]ll
district judges shall be assigned a pro-rata share of all (i)
habeas corpus cases and (ii) civil rights cases filed by
prisoners.” This case was assigned to the undersigned
based upon the bench's pro-rata share of cases and the
fact that Hancock's prior civil rights cases were so
assigned. There is nothing improper about the current case
assignment. See Tall, 2016 WL 1696466, at *4; Loc.
R. 501.1, 501.3.
court has reviewed the matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915A and generously construes the complaint to
raise Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment claims seeking
declaratory relief and damage claims going to the legality of
Hancock's federal district court convictions, convictions
which remain before the Fourth Circuit on appeal.
Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994), the
Supreme Court ruled:
We hold that, in order to recover damages for alleged
unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for other
harm caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render a
conviction or sentence invalid, a § 1983 plaintiff must
prove that the conviction or sentence has been reversed on
direct appeal, expunged by executive order, declared invalid
by a state tribunal authorized to make such determination, or
called into question by a federal court's issuance of a
writ of habeas corpus, 28 U.S.C. § 2254. A claim for
damages bearing that relationship to a conviction or sentence
that has not been so invalidated is not cognizable under
§ 1983.... But if the district court determines that the
plaintiff's action, even if successful, will not
demonstrate the invalidity of any outstanding criminal
judgment against the plaintiff, the action should be allowed
to proceed in the absence of some other bar to the suit.
complaint allegations, if allowed to proceed, will go to the
validity of Hancock's criminal judgment. As in
Heck itself, the pendency of an appeal does not
change the result. Unlike where criminal trial proceedings
are ongoing or imminent, as in Wallace v. Kato, 549
U.S. 384, 393-94 (2007), a judgment has ...