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Barber v. Santa Maria Police Department

May 27, 2010

KENNETH RICHARD BARBER, JR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
SANTA MARIA POLICE DEPARTMENT, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Marc L. Goldman United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DENYING MOTION TO FILE THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT

I. Factual and Procedural Background

On November 18, 2008, Plaintiff Kenneth Richard Barber, Jr., who is currently incarcerated in the California prison system, filed a second amended pro se civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.*fn1 In his second amended complaint ("SAC"), Plaintiff named Santa Maria Police Officer Joe Lopez; Santa Barbara County Corrections Officers Barroca, Duarte and Masters; Danny R. Macagni, Santa Maria Chief of Police; Laurence Lavagnino, Mayor of Santa Maria, California; and an unknown Santa Maria Police Officer as Defendants.

The SAC alleged various constitutional violations based on two separate incidents. First, Plaintiff claimed that a few weeks prior to June 25, 2007, he was detained while walking on the street and subjected to an unconstitutional investigatory stop and field test to determine if he was under the influence of drugs by Officer Lopez and the unknown Santa Maria police officer, who has since been identified as Officer Ricardo Arias.*fn2 (SAC at 6.) Plaintiff contends that the investigatory stop violated his Fourth Amendment right against unlawful seizure.

Second, Plaintiff alleged that, in the early morning hours of June 25, 2007, while driving with his girlfriend, Tamara Bonnes, he was pulled over by Officer Lopez either because Officer Lopez recognized him from the investigatory stop a few weeks prior or because Plaintiff had an expired license plate. (Id.) He was then arrested by Officer Lopez on an outstanding warrant on an unrelated matter. (Id.) Plaintiff contended that the vehicular stop and arrest violated his Fourth Amendment right against unlawful search and seizure.

Plaintiff further alleged that, once he arrived at the Santa Maria Police Station for booking after being arrested, he was interrogated by Officer Lopez in violation of his Miranda rights.*fn3 (Id.) Plaintiff contended that Officer Lopez violated his Miranda rights by continuing to question him about alleged stolen computers found in Plaintiff's car, even after Plaintiff asserted his right to remain silent. (SAC at 7.) Officer Lopez then allegedly coerced Plaintiff into confessing to possession of the stolen computer equipment and other contraband by threatening to detain Plaintiff's girlfriend at the police station so that she would miss a child custody hearing the following day. (Id.) Plaintiff contended that his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and his Sixth Amendment right to counsel were violated by this interrogation.

Plaintiff further claimed that, once he confessed, he was transported to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Station, where he was subjected to an unconstitutional strip search by Lopez and Santa Barbara County Corrections Officers Duarte, Barroca, and Masters. (Id.) Plaintiff states that he was ordered to strip down to his boxer shorts at the booking window. (Id.) Officer Duarte then allegedly "sexually assaulted" Plaintiff by grabbing his genitals while searching for contraband. (Id.) After feeling an object sewn into Plaintiff's boxer shorts, Officer Duarte cut a hole in the boxer shorts and found four "baggies" containing a powdered substance. (SAC at 8.)

Plaintiff was then taken to a secured cell where he was ordered to take off his boxer shorts to determine if he had any other contraband. (Id.) After Plaintiff was ordered to "squat and cough," another "baggy" fell onto the floor. (Id.) When Plaintiff attempted to stuff this bag down into a drainage pipe in the floor, Officers Duarte and Barroca held Plaintiff down on his stomach, while Officer Lopez kneed Plaintiff in the face and "started grinding [Plaintiff's] face into the cement." (Id.) Plaintiff contended that his Fourth Amendment right against illegal search and seizure as well as his Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment were violated by this strip-search.

On December 30, 2008, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the second amended complaint in its entirety. On February 9, 2009, I issued a Report which recommended that:

1. Plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment claims against Defendants Macagni and Lavagnino for failure to adequately respond to Plaintiff's citizen complaint be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

2. Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment claim against Defendant Macagni for failure to train and/or supervise be DENIED.

3. Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment claims against Defendants Lopez and an Unknown Santa Maria Police Officer (Arias) related to the investigatory stop be DENIED.

4. Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment claims against Defendant Lopez for the vehicular stop on June 25, 2007 be DENIED.

5. Plaintiff's Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment claims against Defendant Lopez related to Plaintiff's arrest on June 25, ...


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