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Patterson v. State

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Statesville Division

January 13, 2015

DARON ALLEN PATTERSON, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, CARRIE NITZU, THOMAS W. THOMPSON, Defendants.

ORDER

ROBERT J. CONRAD, Jr., District Judge.

THIS MATTER comes before the Court on a Motion for Summary Judgment by Defendant Thomas Thompson. (Doc. No. 20).

I. BACKGROUND

A. Procedural Background

Pro se Plaintiff pled guilty in Iredell County, North Carolina, on July 18, 2012, to felony stalking of his ex-girlfriend Frances Katsoudas, and he was sentenced to a term of 20 to 24 months of imprisonment. The North Carolina Department of Public Safety website indicates that Plaintiff was released from prison on February 27, 2014. According to this Court's docket report, Plaintiff now resides in Ohio.

On November 19, 2012, while he was still incarcerated on the felony stalking conviction, Plaintiff filed this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, naming as Defendants the State of North Carolina, attorney Carrie Nitzu, and Thomas W. Thompson, a Captain with the Mooresville Police Department. On January 16, 2013, this Court dismissed all Defendants except for Thompson.[1] Plaintiff purports to bring a Fourth Amendment claim for an unreasonable search against Thompson based on a search of a residence and vehicle that Defendant Thompson conducted after Plaintiff was charged with felony stalking of Katsoudas. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Thompson did not receive consent from either Plaintiff or the owner of the residence or vehicle before conducting the search. According to Plaintiff, Defendant Thompson was searching for a gun that was never found.

On May 14, 2014, Defendant filed the pending summary judgment motion. On May 16, 2014, this Court entered an order in accordance with Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), advising Plaintiff of the requirements for filing a response to the motion for summary judgment and of the manner in which evidence could be submitted to the Court. (Doc. No. 22). Plaintiff did not file a response to the summary judgment motion, and the time to do so has passed.[2]

B. Factual Background

1. Defendant Thompson's Summary Judgment Materials

Defendant's evidence on summary judgment shows that on Thursday, September 30, 2010, Frances Katsoudas went to the Mooresville Police Department complaining that Plaintiff was stalking her. (Doc. No. 21-1 at ¶ 7: Affidavit of Thomas W. Thompson). Katsoudas reported to officers that she and Plaintiff had been in a romantic relationship and that on September 26, 2010, September 27, 2010, September 28, 2010, and September 29, 2010, Plaintiff had engaged in various threatening and harassing behaviors at Katsoudas' home, place of employment, and church, including but not limited to threatening to shoot her. (Id.). Katsoudas stated that she was afraid because Plaintiff had assaulted her in the past and she believed he planned to hurt her and/or kill her. (Id.). Katsoudas also brought three other women with her to the police station that day. Defendant Thompson interviewed the three women and obtained written statements regarding Plaintiff's abusive treatment of Katsoudas. (Id. at ¶ 8).

Defendant Thompson researched Plaintiff's criminal history and saw that he had a prior conviction for stalking Katsoudas, as well as a lengthy criminal history. (Id. at ¶ 9). Based on the statements by Katsoudas and the three witnesses, as well as Plaintiff's prior conviction for stalking Katsoudas on July 28, 2009, Defendant Thompson sought to obtain a warrant for Plaintiff's arrest based on felony stalking. (Id. at ¶ 10). On October 5, 2010, a state magistrate concluded there was probable cause for Plaintiff's arrest for felony stalking. See (Doc. No. 21-3: Arrest Warrant, Exhibit B to Thompson Aff.). The arrest warrant stated that the magistrate found probable cause to believe that between September 26, 2010, to September 29, 2010, Plaintiff:

[feloniously stalked] Frances Katsoudas by following her, trespassing at her residence, harassing her at her place of employment and threatening to shoot her. These actions have caused Frances Katsoudas emotional distress by placing her in reasonable fear or death or bodily injury. The defendant has been previously convicted of stalking Frances Katsoudas 07/28/2009 in Iredell County Court.

(Id. at 2).

On October 5, 2013, at around 10:45 a.m., after obtaining the arrest warrant, Defendant Thompson went to a residence at 125 London Road, which was Plaintiff's last known address. Defendant was accompanied by Lieutenant David Clanton, K-9 Officer David Fortson, and a police canine. (Doc. No. 21-3: Arrest Warrant, Exhibit B to Thompson Aff.; Doc. No. 21-1 at ¶ 11). Lieutenant Clanton and Defendant Thompson went to the back ...


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