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Silva v. Andemariam

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

January 9, 2014

MATTHEW G. SILVA, Plaintiff,
v.
DANIEL ANDEMARIAM, et al., Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

BRIAN A. TSUCHIDA, Magistrate Judge.

INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY CONCLUSION

This is a civil rights action brought under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. Plaintiff Matthew Silva is currently under the jurisdiction of the Washington Department of Corrections ("DOC") serving a term of community custody. He alleges in this action that the defendants violated his right to due process when they incarcerated him for nineteen days based on a hearing at which no evidence of guilt was presented. Plaintiff identifies DOC Community Corrections Officer Daniel Andemariam and DOC Hearing Officer Robert Zarate as defendants in this action. Plaintiff seeks damages and injunctive relief.

Defendants have filed a motion for summary judgment seeking dismissal of plaintiff's claims. Plaintiff has filed a response to defendants' motion and a cross-motion for summary judgment. Defendants have filed a response to plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment. The Court, having reviewed plaintiff's complaint, the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment, and all related briefing, concludes that defendants' motion for summary judgment should be granted, plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment should be denied, and plaintiff's complaint and this action should be dismissed with prejudice.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff was convicted in February 2005 on a charge of robbery in the first degree. ( See Dkt. 9, Ex. 1, Attach. B.) He was thereafter sentenced to a term of 150 months confinement and to a term of 18 to 36 months on community custody. ( Id. ) Plaintiff was released from prison on February 27, 2013, and he reported to his assigned community corrections officer ("CCO"), John Fenton, on February 28, 2013. ( See id., Ex. 1 at 2.) On that date, plaintiff was advised of the conditions of his supervision and signed a copy of those conditions thereby indicating his agreement to comply with them. ( See id., Ex. 1 at 2 and Attach. B.)

On March 19, 2013, plaintiff admitted to CCO Fenton that he had ingested crack cocaine and plaintiff's use of cocaine was confirmed by urinalysis ("UA"). ( Id., Ex. 1 at 2.) Plaintiff waived the right to a hearing and entered into a stipulated agreement. ( See id. ) As a part of that agreement, plaintiff agreed not to violate any conditions of community supervision, to attend a chemical dependency treatment evaluation scheduled for March 29, 2013 and follow all recommendations, and to report weekly to his supervising CCO and submit a UA for screening. ( Id., Ex. 1, Attach. C.)

Plaintiff was transferred to the caseload of CCO Daniel Andemariam on April 3, 2013. On April 23, 2013, plaintiff reported to his CCO and submitted a UA which came back positive for cocaine. ( Id., Ex. 1 at 3.) Plaintiff was given an opportunity to respond to this alleged violation of the conditions of his community custody and plaintiff denied using cocaine attributing the positive test to a flawed testing process. (Dkt. 9, Ex. 1 at 3.) Plaintiff claimed that it had been several weeks since he had last used cocaine. ( Id. ) CCO Andemariam apparently found plaintiff's response not credible and thereafter requested, and received, permission to arrest plaintiff. ( Id. ) Plaintiff was sanctioned to three days confinement under DOC's "swift and certain" program.

Plaintiff was released from confinement on Friday, April 26, 2013. ( Id. ) Pursuant to DOC policy, plaintiff was required to report to his CCO within one business day of his release. ( See id. ) Because plaintiff was released on a Friday, he was required to report on Monday, April 29, 2013, the first business day after his release. ( Id. ) CCO Andemariam retrieved a voicemail from plaintiff on April 30, 2013 in which plaintiff acknowledged that he had not reported within one business day of release as required and claiming that he intended to report by 4:00 p.m. on April 30, 2013.[1] ( See id. )

CCO Andemariam returned plaintiff's call on April 30, 2013 and spoke with plaintiff directly. ( Id. ) Plaintiff again indicated during that conversation that he would try to report by 4:00 p.m. that day. ( Id. ) Plaintiff failed to report and CCO Andemariam thereafter requested a Secretary's warrant based on plaintiff's failure to report. ( Id. ) Plaintiff called CCO Andemariam on May 7, 2013 and CCO Andemariam told him he needed to report as soon as possible. ( Id. ) Plaintiff was apprehended by Community Corrections Specialist ("CCS") Jeff Sargent on May 8, 2013 and was taken into custody. ( Id. )

On May 15, 2013, CCO Andemariam authored a violation report alleging that plaintiff had violated the conditions of his supervision by failing to report to his CCO within one business day of his release from custody on April 26, 2013, and by hiding from DOC officers and failing to abide by the verbal directives of CCS Sargent at the time of his arrest. (Dkt. 9, Ex. 1, Attach. D.) On the same date, plaintiff was served with a copy of a Community Custody Notice of Allegations, Hearing, Rights, and Waiver and with a copy of the violation report. ( See id., Ex. 1 at 4, Attach. D and Attach. E.)

Plaintiff's violation hearing took place on May 20, 2013 at the King County Jail before DOC Hearing Officer Robert Zarate. ( See id., Ex. 1 at 4 and Attach. F.) Plaintiff and the DOC both presented evidence at the hearing. ( See id, Ex. 1, Attach. F.) Based on the evidence presented, plaintiff was found guilty of both violations and was sanctioned to nineteen days confinement with credit for time served since the date of his arrest. ( See id. ) Plaintiff was therefore scheduled for release on May 27, 2013. ( See id. ) Plaintiff appealed the hearing officer's decision and a DOC appeals panel affirmed the process and the decision on June 25, 2013. ( Id., Ex. 1, Attach. G.) Plaintiff presented his civil rights complaint to this Court for filing on July 2, 2013. ( See Dkt. 1.)

DISCUSSION

Plaintiff alleges that defendants violated his due process rights when they incarcerated him for 19 days based on a hearing at which no evidence of guilt was presented. Defendants argue in their motion for summary judgment that plaintiff's claims are barred by Heck v. Humphrey. (Dkt. 9 at 7-8.) Defendants further argue that they are entitled to absolute immunity from suit or, in the alternative, that they are entitled to qualified immunity because plaintiff has failed to show a violation of his constitutional rights. (Dkt. 9 at 8-12.) Plaintiff argues in his cross-motion for summary judgment that the Heck bar does not apply in the circumstances of this case, that defendants are not entitled to absolute immunity, and that the record ...


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