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Williams v. Barteau

March 18, 2010

CHARLES DAVID WILLIAMS, JR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
DOMINIC BARTEAU, AND THE PORTERVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Anthony W. Ishii Chief United States District Judge

ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

(Doc. No. 41)

This case arises from the arrest of Plaintiff Charles Williams, Jr. ("Williams") by Defendant City of Porterville Police Officer Dominic Barteau ("Barteau") for burglary. Williams filed suit in this Court and alleges claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (for violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments). In essence, Williams challenges the propriety of Barteau's entry into a garage to arrest Williams. Defendants now moves for summary judgment on all claims.*fn1

For the reasons that follow, the motion will be granted.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On December 28, 2005, Barteau was dispatched to 1371 W. Jean Ave. to investigate a residential burglary. See Barteau Dec. ¶ 2. The victim, Ortega, told Barteau that his residence had been burglarized between 4:45 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. and that he had asked his neighbors if they had seen anything. See id. at ¶ 3. According to Ortega, one neighbor, Melissa Williams ("Melissa"),*fn2 "related through Derrald Bowman, that her father, Williams, told her that he had broken into Ortega's residence and stolen money, jewelry, and a $2 bill. See id. at ¶ 4. Ortega informed Barteau that he had checked his residence and that approximately $50.00 in U.S. coins, a new $2 bill, and his girlfriend's jewelry were missing. See id. at ¶ 5. Ortega also told Barteau that he had observed a shoe track on the toilet in the master bedroom and that the window screen had been removed and the window had been opened. See id. at ¶ 6.

Barteau contacted Melissa, who told him that she had seen her father Williams with a large amount of coins, jewelry, and a $2 bill earlier in the day. See id. at ¶ 7. Melissa told Barteau that when she asked Williams where he had obtained those items, Williams told her that he had burglarized Ortega's home. See id. at ¶ 8. Melissa indicated that Williams was not present and had left the residence (presumably 1360 W. Jean Ave.).*fn3

On January 18, 2006, Barteau was informed that Williams had returned to the residence located at 1360W. Jean Ave. See id. at ¶ 9. Barteau requested a records check to verify that there was an outstanding arrest warrant for Williams. See id. Barteau was informed that there were no outstanding arrest warrants for Williams. See id. at ¶ 10. However, Barteau recalled receiving a complaint authorization form from the District Attorney's officer on January 17, 2006, in which charges under Penal Code § 459 (burglary) had been approved. See id.

Barteau and another Porterville police officer went to 1360 West Jean Ave. See id. at ¶ 11. At that time, Charles Williams, Sr. ("Charles") and Melissa (among others) resided at this address. See Melissa Williams Dec. ¶ 3;*fn4 Williams Dec. ¶ 3; see also Charles Williams, Sr. Dec. ¶¶ 1, 2. Charles was the primary renter of 1360 W. Jean Ave. and was the head of the Williams Family. See Charles Williams, Sr. Dec. ¶ 1. Williams lived in the garage of 1360 W. Jean Ave. See Williams Dec. ¶ 3; Charles Williams, Sr. Dec. ¶ 3. Williams "was the sole occupant of the garage area." Charles Williams, Sr. Dec. ¶ 3; Williams Dec. ¶ 3.

Barteau informed Melissa that he and the other officer were there to arrest her father for the suspected burglary of Ortega. See Barteau Dec. at ¶ 11; see also Melissa Williams Dec. ¶ 4. Melissa told Barteau that Williams was in the backyard. See Melissa Williams Dec. ¶ 4.*fn5

Barteau requested that he and the other officer be permitted to enter Melissa's residence to effectuate Williams's arrest. See Barteau Dec. at ¶ 12; Melissa Williams Dec. at ¶ 4. Melissa gave permission for the officers to enter her residence. See id. According to Charles's declaration, a police officer arrived at the house and asked to speak with Williams. See Charles Williams, Sr. Dec. ¶ 5.*fn6 Charles told the officer that he would get Williams. See id. Charles and the officer walked through the house to the kitchen. See id. At the kitchen/garage door, Charles knocked. See id. Charles asked to come in. See Williams Dec. at ¶ 4. Williams told Charles to "come in." See id.; Charles Williams, Sr. Dec. ¶ 5. Charles opened the door and said that a police officer was there to talk to him. See id. The officer then walked by Charles and into the garage "without permission." See Charles Williams, Sr. Dec. ¶ 5. The officers found Williams in the residence's garage and placed him under arrest. See Barteau Dec. ¶ 13; Williams Dec. ¶ 4. After placing Williams under arrest, the officers took him through the house in handcuffs and left. See Charles Williams, Sr. Dec. ¶ 6.

SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate when it is demonstrated that there exists no genuine issue as to any material fact, and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157 (1970); Fortyune v. American Multi-Cinema, Inc., 364 F.3d 1075, 1080 (9th Cir. 2004). The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of informing the court of the basis for its motion and of identifying the portions of the declarations (if any), pleadings, and discovery that demonstrate an absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986); Soremekun v. Thrifty Payless, Inc., 509 F.3d 978, 984 (9th Cir. 2007). A fact is "material" if it might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248-49 (1986); Thrifty Oil Co. v. Bank of America Nat'l Trust & Savings Assn, 322 F.3d 1039, 1046 (9th Cir. 2002). A dispute is "genuine" as to a material fact if there is sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; Long v. County of Los Angeles, 442 F.3d 1178, 1185 (9th Cir. 2006).

Where the moving party will have the burden of proof on an issue at trial, the movant must affirmatively demonstrate that no reasonable trier of fact could find other than for the movant. Soremekun, 509 F.3d at 984. Where the non-moving party will have the burden of proof on an issue at trial, the movant may prevail by presenting evidence that negates an essential element of the non-moving party's claim or by merely pointing out that ...


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