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McCauley v. Shaw

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

February 28, 2017

ARCHIE SHAW, et al., Defendants.



         This matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff, Jerry McCauley, registration no. 170121), an inmate at Algoa Correctional Center, for leave to commence this action without payment of the required filing fee. For the reasons stated below, the Court finds that plaintiff does not have sufficient funds to pay the entire filing fee and will assess an initial partial filing fee of $4.77.[1] See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Furthermore, based upon a review of the complaint, the Court will stay and administratively close this action pursuant to the Supreme Court case of Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384 (2007), based on the pendency of an underlying criminal case against plaintiff that arises out of the same facts.


         Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 asserting violations of his Fourth Amendment rights. Prior to this case being filed, a related underlying criminal case was filed against plaintiff in Missouri State Court. See State v. McCauley, Case No.1422-CR02392-01 (21st Judicial Circuit, St. Louis City Court). After a jury trial in St. Louis City Court, plaintiff was found guilty of Class A misdemeanors of resisting a lawful detention, § 575.150, RSMo 2000, and possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia, § 195.233, RSMo 2000. The Honorable Dennis Schaumann sentenced plaintiff to one year in a Medium Security Institution on each count. Plaintiff subsequently appealed his conviction to the Missouri Court of Appeals where the matter is currently under review. See State v. McCauley, Case No. ED104138.

         The State filed a cross-appeal of the trial court's order granting plaintiff's motion for judgment of acquittal notwithstanding the verdict as to one count of unlawful possession of a firearm. The State's appeal has been consolidated with plaintiff's appeal. Id.

         The Complaint

         In this case, plaintiff asserts claims for false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution as a result of an alleged false arrest that allegedly occurred on June 19, 2014. He brings this action against the seven St. Louis City Police Detectives who were involved in his arrest, as well as an unnamed, Unknown Confidential Informant who was also part of his arrest.

         In the complaint, plaintiff alleges that the seven St. Louis City Police Detective defendants started surveilling him, his car and his girlfriend's residence during the week of June 2, 2014, acting on a “tip” from defendant Unknown Confidential Informant that plaintiff was selling heroin. Plaintiff states that on June 12, 2014, defendant Shaw obtained a search warrant from a St. Louis City Circuit Court Judge; however, plaintiff believes that the search warrant was based on material misstatements and omissions of material facts. Plaintiff claims that the defendant Detectives gathered on June 19, 2014 to execute the warrant, waiting until plaintiff showed up at his girlfriend's residence. Plaintiff claims that when he exited the residence, he saw the Detectives exit their car and he started running across a field and felt a pain in his right arm, and found out he had been hit by a taser in his arm. He was then ordered by the Detectives to get on the ground, and he states he was subdued by the defendant Detectives and “pounced upon” until he was placed in handcuffs.

         After plaintiff was taken into custody he claims that he was taken to his girlfriend's residence and both the residence and his car were searched and evidence was “manufactured” in a ninety-minute search, which was used to “charge, indict and try” plaintiff. Plaintiff states that this manufactured evidence was also used in a parole revocation hearing in order to revoke his parole.

         According to public records, a search of the residence resulted in finding in the kitchen, heroin, a digital scale, sandwich bags, empty capsules, and a nine millimeter semi-automatic pistol. Police also found two pairs of scissors with a white powder on them and a toothbrush in a drawer in the kitchen. In the bathroom the officers located a .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol under the sink. See State of Missouri v. McCauley, No. ED104138, Appellant's Brief, p. 6. In the bedroom, police located a plastic bag of marijuana, approximately $5000 in cash, a .380 semi-automatic pistol, a prescription medicine and doctor's cards for future appointments in the plaintiff's name. Also located was men's clothing and bank statements addressed to the plaintiff. In a separate closet, the officers located women's clothing and ammunition and a box for a .380 caliber pistol. Id.

         After a jury trial, plaintiff was found guilty, as noted above, of one count of unlawful possession of a firearm, one count of possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia, and one count of misdemeanor resisting arrest. See State v. McCauley, Case No.1422-CR02392-01 (21stJudicial Circuit, St. Louis City Court). The trial court then granted plaintiff's motion for acquittal as to the charge of unlawful possession of a firearm and sentenced plaintiff to one year on each of the remaining counts. Id.

         Plaintiff's claims in this lawsuit arise under the Fourth Amendment and include: lack of probable cause; false/misleading affidavit; plaintiff/manufacturing evidence; malicious prosecution; false arrest; false imprisonment; warrantless search; warrantless seizure; and two claims of excessive force, primarily against defendant Willis for shooting a Taser at plaintiff during the course of his arrest.[2]


         In Wallace v. Kato, the United States Supreme Court held that ''the statute of limitations upon a § 1983 claim seeking damages for a false arrest in violation of the Fourth Amendment, where the arrest is followed by criminal proceedings, begins to run at the time the claimant is detained pursuant to legal process.'' Wallace, 549 U.S. at 397. The Court observed that ''[f]alse arrest and false imprisonment overlap; the former is a species of the latter.'' Id. at 388. The Court instructed that where ''a plaintiff files a false arrest claim before he has been convicted . . . it is within the power of the district court, and in accord with common practice, to stay the civil action until the criminal case or the likelihood of a criminal case is ended.'' Id. at 393-94. Otherwise, the court and the parties are left to ''speculate about whether a prosecution will be brought, whether ...

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