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Washington v. Cline

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

September 3, 2019

FRANKIE DELANO WASHINGTON and FRANKIE DELANO WASHINGTON, JR., Plaintiffs,
v.
TRACEY CLINE, ANTHONY SMITH, WILLIAM BELL, JOHN PETER, ANDRE T. CALDWELL, MOSES IRVING, ANTHONY T. MARSH, EDWARD SARVIS, BEVERLY COUNCIL, STEVEN CHALMERS, PATRICK BAKER, THE CITY OF DURHAM, NC, and THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, Defendants.

          Heard in the Court of Appeals 24 April 2019.

          Appeal by Plaintiff from order entered 11 May 2018 by Judge C. Winston Gilchrist in Durham County Superior Court.No. 11 CVS 5051

          Ekstrand & Ekstrand LLP, by Robert Ekstrand and Stefanie Smith, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

          Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Special Deputy Attorney General Kathryn H. Shields, for Defendants-Appellees.

          COLLINS, JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Frankie Delano Washington ("Plaintiff") appeals from an order granting Defendants Tracey Cline and the State of North Carolina's ("Defendants") motion for summary judgment pursuant to North Carolina Rule of Civil Procedure 56, denying Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment, and dismissing Plaintiff's claims. Plaintiff contends that the trial court erred by granting Defendants and denying Plaintiff summary judgment on his cause of action seeking injunctive relief and money damages directly under Article I, section 18, of the North Carolina Constitution for harms he allegedly suffered as a result of the deprivation of his right to a speedy trial thereunder. We affirm.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff was arrested in 2002 as a suspect in a Durham home invasion that involved an armed robbery and an attempted sexual assault. Plaintiff was held in custody for over a year following his arrest pending investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation ("SBI") of various articles of evidence. Plaintiff was eventually released from jail on bond, and moved the trial court twice to compel SBI analysis of the State's evidence. The trial court ordered the SBI to conduct the analysis in 2004, but the SBI was never notified of the trial court's order. Plaintiff moved to dismiss the charges in 2005 for violation of his right to a speedy trial, but the trial court denied Plaintiff's motion. In February 2007, approximately four years and nine months following his arrest, Plaintiff was tried and convicted of various offenses in connection with the home invasion.

         Plaintiff appealed the convictions to this Court, and on 2 September 2006, in State v. Washington, 192 N.C.App. 277, 665 S.E.2d 799 (2008), this Court concluded that Plaintiff had been deprived of his right to a speedy trial as guaranteed by the United States and North Carolina Constitutions, vacated the convictions, and dismissed the underlying indictments with prejudice.

         On 21 September 2011, Plaintiff[1] sued the State of North Carolina, the City of Durham, and various individuals who worked for the SBI, the Durham Police Department, and the Durham County District Attorney's Office (including Defendant Cline, the principal prosecutor of Plaintiff's criminal case) for a permanent injunction and money damages to redress harms allegedly suffered in connection with Plaintiff's pre-trial detention, investigation, and prosecution. In his complaint, Plaintiff brought 23 causes of action, including a direct cause of action under the North Carolina Constitution against Defendant Cline in her official capacity as District Attorney and Assistant District Attorney for North Carolina's Fourteenth Prosecutorial District, seeking redress for harms allegedly caused by, inter alia, the denial of Plaintiff's right to a speedy trial as guaranteed by North Carolina Constitution Article I, section 18 (the "direct constitutional claim").

         On 11 January 2012, Defendants moved to strike and dismiss the complaint pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1A-1, Rules 8, 10, and 12. On 9 February 2012, Plaintiff moved for partial summary judgment pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1A-1, Rule 56, including on his direct constitutional claim. On 5 August 2016, the trial court entered an order that, in relevant part, denied Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's direct constitutional claim, and reserved ruling on Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment on the same. On 13 September 2017, Defendants moved for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 on the remaining claims, including on Plaintiff's direct constitutional claim.

         On 11 May 2018, the trial court entered an order granting Defendants' motion for summary judgment on all remaining claims (including the direct constitutional claim), denying Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment on the same, and dismissing all remaining claims as to all defendants.

         Plaintiff timely appealed.

         II. ...


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