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Morse v. County of Merced

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 11, 2017

ETHAN MORSE, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF MERCED, CHARLES HALE, ERICK MACIAS, and JOSE SAM SANCHEZ, individually and as officers of the Merced County Sheriff's Department, and DOES 1-100, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOC. NOS. 61, 65, 66)

         Pending before the court are three separate motions for summary judgment, all of which were filed on May 9, 2017. The first of these motions was submitted by the defendant County of Merced, the second was submitted by defendant Erick Macias, and the third was submitted by defendants Charles Hale, Jose Sam Sanchez, and-again-the County of Merced. (Doc. Nos. 61, 65, 66.)[1] A hearing on these motions was held on June 6, 2017. Attorneys Jayme Walker and Gary Gwilliam appeared at that hearing telephonically on behalf of plaintiff. Attorney Dawn Flores-Oster appeared telephonically for defendants County of Merced, Hale, and Sanchez. Attorneys Mark Rutter and Danielle Foster appeared telephonically on behalf of defendant Macias.

         Having considered the parties' briefs and oral arguments and for the reasons stated below, the court will grant in part and deny in part the defendants' motions for summary judgment.

         BACKGROUND

         Despite many of the core facts in this case being undisputed, the parties have submitted a voluminous amount of evidentiary material in connection with the pending motions for summary judgment. The court has reviewed the evidence before it on summary judgment, and now summarizes the facts as established by that evidence.[2] Plaintiff Ethan Morse and a group of friends-Jacob Tellez, Robert Tern, Sabrina Ceccoli, Jacob Delgadillo, Andrew Masengale, Tony Gomes, and Cameron Johnson, all teenagers-attended a house party at 9258 Westside Boulevard in Atwater, California, on the evening of March 30, 2013. Plaintiff drove the group in his father's Land Cruiser. He parked west of the house, on the southern side of the road. The group was in attendance at the party for only between ten and twenty minutes, before deciding to leave. The group had left the party and re-entered plaintiff's car when gunfire erupted at the house shortly after 11:00 p.m. Hearing this gunfire, plaintiff drove east on Westside Boulevard before heading south on Highway 99. He dropped off Tellez and Tern before the rest of the group returned to plaintiff Morse's house for the night.

         The gunfight at the party resulted in three fatalities-Matthew Fisher, Samantha Parreira, and Bernabed Hernandez Canela-and injuries to two other individuals, Anthony Wiggins and Orasio Fierro. Fisher and Hernandez died at the scene, while Parreira later died at Doctors Hospital in Modesto, California. Hernandez, in particular, was shot with both .25-caliber and .38-caliber bullets. Fisher and Parreira were shot in the yard of the house, Hernandez's body was found approximately 100 yards to the west of the house. (Doc. No. 72-11 at 2.) It appears Hernandez was found somewhere near, albeit across the street from, where plaintiff's vehicle was likely parked during the party.

         Tellez became an initial suspect in the shooting of Hernandez because of a cell phone call inadvertently placed to the local 911 dispatch at approximately 11:52 p.m. that same evening. The 911 operator who answered the call received no response, but could hear a male voice talking in the background about a shooting. It is a matter of considerable dispute what the individual actually said on the phone, but the accidental call was at least sufficient for the 911 dispatcher to conclude the person might have been talking about the shooting that had just occurred in Atwater. The telephone number of the phone from which this inadvertent call was made was ultimately traced to Tellez. Based on that 911 call and what a Merced County Sheriff's Department (“MCSD”) detective-Detective Ruben Orozco-claimed he could hear in the recording of it, an arrest warrant was issued for Tellez on April 3, 2013. Tellez was arrested on April 14, 2013, and was subsequently interviewed by MCSD Detective Duane Pavelski. During that interview, Tellez admitted to Detective Pavelski he was at the party with several people and had a .22-caliber revolver with him. According to Tellez, the group was leaving the party as the shooting started, and Tellez tried to pull his revolver. However, Tellez reported, the gun became caught on the seatbelt, and Masengale grabbed Tellez's arm and told him not to pull out the gun. Tellez stated during his April 2013 interview that he did not shoot a gun that night. (Doc. No. 68-20 at 5-6.) Ultimately, Detective Pavelski released Tellez, with the request that he retrieve the gun for a ballistics comparison. (Doc. No. 68-20 at 47-49.)

         Tellez was not detained following his interview. Detective Pavelski commented in his police report that, following his interview with Tellez, he “listened to the 9-1-1 tape again and was able to make more sense of the story told on the tape. Jacob's story seemed to fit the story being told on the tape.” (Doc. No. 75-12 at 3.) Pavelski testified at his deposition in this case that he was not comfortable arresting Tellez for homicide solely on the basis of the accidental 911 call, because “there's just not enough evidence.” (Doc. No. 86-17 at 16.) Additionally, Pavelski noted that during the interview, Tellez sought to contact Masengale and have him speak to the police, even though “he knew he wasn't going to have the opportunity to say anything to [Masengale].” (Id. at 17.) This, too, bolstered Tellez's credibility in Detective Pavelski's eyes. (Id.) Pavelski also noted that the MCSD “had a snitch that was associated with his [Tellez's] family poking around and nothing they were coming forward with was lent towards his guilt.” (Id. at 18.)

         Detective Erick Macias-one of the defendants in this action-was assigned as the lead detective in the Hernandez homicide in May 2013. Macias testified at his deposition that he did virtually no work on the Hernandez homicide until July 2014, because of his large caseload of other homicide investigations.[3] (Doc. No. 68-6 at 3-7.) In January 2014, plaintiff's father, District Attorney Larry Morse, appeared at a meeting of the Merced County Board of Supervisors and criticized the lack of attention paid by the MCSD to gang-related homicides in Merced County, particularly highlighting differences in gang enforcement strategies employed by the Merced Police Department and the MCSD. (See Doc. No. 86-15 at 25-26.) This criticism upset some members of the MCSD. In particular, defendant Detective Jose Sam Sanchez testified at his deposition that, while he was un sure whether he would say he was offended by District Attorney Morse's comments, he “wasn't expecting for him to make such comments to the public about an agency that he works hand-in-hand with and who's constantly bringing cases for his deputy DA's to file on.” (Doc. No. 86-20 at 8.) Detective Sanchez did not think District Attorney Morse's statement “created a good working relationship.” (Id.) Defendant Sergeant Charles Hale stated that the comments “created a stir in upper administration maybe, ” but denied most staff, including himself, were affected by the comments. (Doc. No. 86-7 at 19.)[4]

         On July 15, 2014, Detective Macias signed a new affidavit in support of an application for an arrest warrant for Tellez for the Hernandez murder, again based solely on Tellez's accidental 911 call. (Doc. No. 67-14; Doc. No. 86-11 at 12.)[5] Tellez was arrested and interviewed again, this time by defendant Detective Sanchez-also a defendant here-on July 17, 2014. Tellez recited a largely similar story to Detective Sanchez as he had earlier related to Detective Pavelski: he had a loaded .22-caliber revolver with him the night of the party; the group had climbed into the vehicle to leave when they heard gunshots; he attempted to draw the revolver only to have it get stuck on the seatbelt; Masengale then prevented him from drawing the gun.

         The next day, July 18, 2014, MCSD officials held a press conference to announce Tellez's arrest. Immediately after the press conference, District Attorney Larry Morse contacted defendant Sergeant Hale and advised that his son, plaintiff Ethan Morse, had information about Tellez's involvement in the Hernandez murder. Two days later, on July 20, 2014, Detective Macias and Sergeant Hale interviewed plaintiff. Plaintiff told the detectives essentially the same version of the events that Tellez had told: the group of teenagers had gone to the party together; Tellez had a gun; the group did not stay very long at the party; after they returned to their car, gunfire erupted at the party; plaintiff drove away, at one point slamming on his brakes to avoid hitting someone fleeing the party; and then they got on Route 99 and drove back to Merced. Plaintiff recalled Masengale telling Tellez to chill. Most importantly, plaintiff stated he was 100 percent sure Tellez did not shoot anyone from the car-all of the car windows were rolled up and he would have heard the shot because Tellez was seated immediately behind him. Plaintiff offered to try to persuade the other individuals in the group to contact the detectives to verify his ///// version of the events. Plaintiff also offered to take a polygraph test, though the detectives neither took him up on this offer nor documented that it had been made. (Doc. No. 86-7 at 36.)

         At plaintiff's urging, most of the other individuals who had been in the car that night spoke with police in the coming days. Only Masengale was not interviewed, after his parents refused to allow him to speak to the MCSD detectives without a lawyer present. Each of these witnesses corroborated the account of the events that evening given by plaintiff and Tellez. However, after significant police persuasion, two witnesses-Robert Tern and Jacob Delgadillo-made statements inculpating plaintiff and Tellez. One other witness, Sabrina Ceccoli, made statements that were presented as inculpatory by the detectives in the affidavit, though a review of her interview by police does not support the account presented in the affidavit.

         Robert Tern was interviewed by Detectives Macias and Sanchez on July 22, 2014 around 8:15 a.m. (Doc. No. 65-10 at 8.) Tern told the detectives that he was “hammered” before the group arrived at the party. Throughout the interview, despite his corroboration of the other accounts, the detectives pressured Tern to tell a different story, employing what they describe as “ruses” against Tern.[6] Eventually, the detectives succeeded in getting Tern to say that Tellez had fired the gun twice out of the window of the vehicle. (Doc. No. 68-26 at 152.) They also got Tern to say that Tellez had fired the gun at somebody running out of the party. (Doc. No. 68-26 at 158.)

         Beyond the detectives' employment of “ruses, ” the evidence suggests that the detectives-intentionally or unwittingly-provided details about their theory of the shooting to Tern through the use of leading questions and affirmative statements throughout the interview. For example, Tern only began to acknowledge the possibility that Tellez might have fired a gun from the car after the detectives told him they already had evidence Tellez had done so. (See Doc. No. 68-26 at 100.) Additionally, Tern acknowledged that another individual in the car- which the detectives would later allege was plaintiff-verbally encouraged Tellez, after the detectives offered the encouragement as fact. (See Id. at 170.)

         Tern testified later at his deposition in this civil action that when he had tried to leave during the police interrogation, one of the detectives grabbed him by his neck and “put me back in the room.” (Doc. No. 86-25 at 8.) Tern also testified that he had attempted to leave the police station because he felt uncomfortable with the interview, and was chased down in the parking lot by the officers and handcuffed.[7] (Id. at 11.) In his deposition testimony, Tern reiterated his original statement that Tellez never fired a gun from the car. (Id. at 9.) He said he was “scared for [his] life” during the police interview, because the detectives told him they were “going to put [him] for attempted murder.” (Id.) He told the detectives Tellez had fired a gun because they No. 68-26 at 116 (“[I]f I can clear your name, you need to help me do that.”); id. at 120 (“[T]his is Robert's opportunity . . . and I really don't want you to piss it away, because after today, there isn't going to be any more opportunities.”); id. at 153 (“This is saving your ass from going to jail right now.”); id. at 158 (“[I]f you don't use this time to clear your name, we're -- our hands are tied.”)). These are all tactics employed pursuant to the Reid Technique, a method of interrogating individuals for the purpose of eliciting specific information-typically confessions-which has been linked to a high number of false confessions. See, e.g., Laurel LaMontagne, Children Under Pressure, 41 W. St. U. L. Rev. 29, 43-45 (2013); Melissa B. Russano, et al., Investigating True and False Confessions Within a Novel Experimental Paradigm, 16 Psych. Science 481, 484 (2005) (concluding that, based on a controlled experiment, when both minimization tactics and the suggestion of leniency were used by interrogators, 87 percent of test subjects truthfully confessed to wrongdoing while 43 percent of test subjects falsely confessed to wrongdoing). said “they were going to lock [him] up.” (Id. at 13.) According to Tern, he felt as though the detective made him say that Tellez had fired the gun. (Id.)

         Detective Macias and Sergeant Ruiz interviewed Jacob Delgadillo on July 24, 2014. The detectives employed similar “ruses” on Delgadillo as the ones they had used on Tern, including accusing him of lying, misleading him regarding what they had evidence of, and minimizing any culpability he may have had. (See Doc. No. 68-24.) Delgadillo largely persisted throughout his interrogation in maintaining that there were no shots fired from plaintiff's car that night. (Doc. No. 68-24 at 80-81, 86, 92, 95-97, 114, 128, 133-34, 140.) However, after the interrogating officers led him to believe that other witnesses were implicating him and Tellez had already confessed to the shooting (id. at 78), Delgadillo told the detectives he saw Tellez with his hand out the window holding a gun (id. at 136). Eventually, Delgadillo agreed with the detectives' statement that “there's a possibility that maybe [a bullet] might've come from Jacob's gun and you just didn't hear the -- the bang?” (Doc. No. 68-24 at 141.) Delgadillo told detectives he “guess[ed]” he “did hear a pop, ” “maybe one or two.” (Doc. No. 68-24 at 173-74.) Delgadillo then related to the officers he saw a flash come from Tellez's gun. (Id. at 174, 179-80.) He also told the officers, after further repeated questioning by detectives, that the group had made up their story together to try to protect Tellez. (Doc. No. 68-24 at 201.)[8]

         Detective Macias and Sergeant Ruiz interviewed Sabrina Ceccoli on July 23, 2014. Despite her general corroboration of the events of that evening given by Tellez and plaintiff, Ceccoli did tell detectives that as the vehicle was driving past the house, it slowed down, Tellez rolled down his window, and plaintiff asked Tellez, “[A]re you going to do it? Are you going to do it?” (Doc. No. 68-23 at 54-57.) Ceccoli's statement in this regard was not prompted by the detectives. Nevertheless, Ceccoli maintained that no shots were fired from the car. (Doc. No. 68-23 at 55, 64, 76.) According to Ceccoli, there was an initial burst of gunfire and then, as the group was driving past the house and had slowed down, two additional, louder shots. (Doc. No. 68-23 at 47-50, 81-83.) Ultimately, the officers convinced Ceccoli to acknowledge that “probably” the two later shots “could” have been fired from the car, and that she was only “95 percent sure” no gunshots were fired from the car. (Doc. No. 68-23 at 76, 92.) However, Ceccoli testified at her deposition in this action that no gun was fired from plaintiff's vehicle. (Doc. No. 86-3 at 7 (“I've been around guns all my life. I would know if a gun was shot inside of a vehicle. . . . I'm not an idiot.”).)

         In addition to the law enforcement interviews described above, the detectives also interviewed Cameron Johnson and Tony Gomes, the remaining two passengers in the vehicle driven by plaintiff that night, on July 22 and July 24, 2014, respectively. Both corroborated plaintiff's account of the events in question and denied that Tellez had fired a gun from the vehicle, despite pressure from the detectives to say otherwise. (See, e.g., Doc. No. 65-4 at 109- 19; Doc. No. 68-25 at 129, 133-34, 158, 164-65, 178, 191-93.) Gomes testified at his deposition in this action that he felt uncomfortable during the police interview. (Doc. No. 86-6 at 7-9 (“The more I leaned one way, the more they tried to push me the other way.”).)

         Plaintiff was arrested on July 25, 2014 for the murder of Hernandez. Detective Macias authored the affidavit in support of the arrest warrant for plaintiff under Sergeant Hale's supervision. (See Doc. No. 86-7 at 21-22.) Plaintiff was charged by complaint with the two felony offenses of murder in violation of Penal Code § 187 and knowingly permitting the use or discharge of a firearm from his vehicle in violation of Penal Code § 26100(b), arraigned on July 29, 2014, and denied bail. (Doc. No. 65-11 at 162-63.) Each charge was accompanied by various gang and firearm enhancement allegations. (Id.) On September 11, 2014, plaintiff entered pleas of not guilty to all charges. (Id. at 65-11 at 166-67.) The case was prosecuted by the California Deputy Attorney General Barton Bowers, in light of the conflict of interest posed by the fact that plaintiff's father was the Merced County District Attorney.

         Plaintiff's preliminary hearing was held from November 10, 2014 to November 14, 2014. At the close of the evidence, the Merced County Superior Court Judge presiding over the preliminary hearing concluded, largely on the basis of the in-court testimony of Masengale and the judge's own review of the tape recording of the accidental 911 call, “[t]hat Mr. Logan [Tellez] did not fire a gun from the Morse vehicle while on Westside Boulevard the evening of March 30, 2013. Therefore, Mr. Morse [plaintiff] is not held to answer.” (Doc. No. 86-18 at 25-31.) Plaintiff filed suit in Merced County Superior Court on November 19, 2015, and the action was removed by defendants to this federal court on January 28, 2016. (Doc. No. 1.) As noted above, motions for summary judgment were filed by the various defendants on May 9, 2017. (Doc. Nos. 61, 65, 66.) Plaintiff filed one consolidated opposition[9] to these various motions on May 23, 2017. Defendants replied on May 30, 2017. (Doc. Nos. 91, 94.)

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Summary judgment is appropriate when the moving party “shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).

         In summary judgment practice, the moving party “initially bears the burden of proving the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” In re Oracle Corp. Sec. Litig., 627 F.3d 376, 387 (9th Cir. 2010) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986)). The moving party may accomplish this by “citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials” or by showing that such materials “do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that the adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A), (B). When the non-moving party bears the burden of proof at trial, “the moving party need only prove that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case.” Oracle Corp., 627 F.3d at 387 (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325.). See also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1)(B). Indeed, summary judgment should be entered, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial. See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. “[A] complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial.” Id. In such a circumstance, summary judgment should be granted, “so long as whatever is before the district court demonstrates that the standard for entry of summary judgment . . . is satisfied.” Id. at 323.

         If the moving party meets its initial responsibility, the burden then shifts to the opposing party to establish that a genuine issue as to any material fact actually does exist. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). In attempting to establish the existence of this factual dispute, the opposing party may not rely upon the allegations or denials of its pleadings but is required to tender evidence of specific facts in the form of affidavits, and/or admissible discovery material, in support of its contention that the dispute exists. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1); Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586 n.11; Orr v. Bank of America, NT & SA, 285 F.3d 764, 773 (9th Cir. 2002) (“A trial court can only consider admissible evidence in ruling on a motion for summary judgment.”). The opposing party must demonstrate that the fact in contention is material, i.e., a fact that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law, see Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pacific Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987), and that the dispute is genuine, i.e., the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party, see Wool v. Tandem Computs., Inc., 818 F.2d 1433, 1436 (9th Cir. 1987).

         In the endeavor to establish the existence of a factual dispute, the opposing party need not establish a material issue of fact conclusively in its favor. It is sufficient that “the claimed factual dispute be shown to require a jury or judge to resolve the parties' differing versions of the truth at trial.” T.W. Elec. Serv., 809 F.2d at 631. Thus, the “purpose of summary judgment is to ‘pierce the pleadings and to assess the proof in order to see whether there is a genuine need for trial.'” Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587 (citations omitted).

         “In evaluating the evidence to determine whether there is a genuine issue of fact, ” the court draws “all reasonable inferences supported by the evidence in favor of the non-moving party.” Walls v. Central Costa County Transit Authority, 653 F.3d 963, 966 (9th Cir. 2011). It is the opposing party's obligation to produce a factual predicate from which the inference may be drawn. See Richards v. Nielsen Freight Lines, 602 F.Supp. 1224, 1244-45 (E.D. Cal. 1985), aff'd, 810 F.2d 898, 902 (9th Cir. 1987). Finally, to demonstrate a genuine issue, the opposing party “must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts . . . . Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there is no ‘genuine issue for trial.'” Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587 (citation omitted). Finally, the granting of summary judgment may still be inappropriate even where the material facts are largely undisputed, if “the evidence is susceptible of different interpretations or inferences by the trier of fact.” Hunt v. Cromartie, 526 U.S. 541, 553 (1999).

         ANALYSIS

         Plaintiff here alleges that: (1) the detective defendants-Sergeant Hale, Detective Macias, and Detective Sanchez-violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable seizures by arresting him without probable cause; (2) the detective defendants violated his Fourteenth Amendment due process rights by detaining him following his arrest until his preliminary hearing despite being aware of exculpatory evidence; (3) the detective defendants maliciously prosecuted plaintiff under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; and (4) all defendants violated the Bane Act, California Civil Code § 52.1, by making material misstatements to the court in seeking the issuance of the warrant for his arrest and in using intimidating and coercive interrogation tactics.[10]Plaintiff also alleges a state law claim of false arrest against all defendants and intentional infliction of emotional distress against the detective defendants. (See Doc. No. 37 at 13-17 (Second Amended Complaint).)[11] Defendants seek summary judgment in their favor with respect to each of plaintiff's claims. The arguments of the parties are addressed in turn below.

         A. Fourth Amendment Claims Against Detective Defendants

         “A claim for unlawful arrest is cognizable under § 1983 as a violation of the Fourth Amendment, provided the arrest was without probable cause or other justification.” Dubner v. City & Cty. of San Francisco, 266 F.3d 959, 964 (9th Cir. 2001); see also Velazquez v. Long Beach, 793 F.3d 1010, 1018 (9th Cir. 2015). “Probable cause exists when there is a fair probability or substantial chance of criminal activity.” Velazquez, 793 F.3d at 1018 (quoting United States v. Patayan Soriano, 361 F.3d 494, 505 (9th Cir.2004)). In order to prevail on such a claim, the plaintiff must “demonstrate that there was no probable cause to arrest him.” Norse v. City of Santa Cruz, 629 F.3d 966, 978 (9th Cir. 2010) (quoting Cabrera v. City of Huntington Park, 159 F.3d 374, 380 (9th Cir. 1998)); see also Harper v. City of Los Angeles, 533 F.3d 1010, 1022 (9th Cir. 2008) (“An arrest without probable cause violates the Fourth Amendment and gives rise to a claim for damages under § 1983.”). Generally, “[w]here the facts or circumstances surrounding an individual's arrest are disputed, the existence of probable cause is a question for the jury.” Harper, 533 F.3d at 1022.

         Plaintiff's theory of liability with respect to Detective Macias, who signed the affidavit in support of the warrant for plaintiff's arrest, is a “judicial deception” claim that while the affidavit might support a finding of probable cause within its four corners, important information was deliberately omitted or misrepresented so as to mislead the approving magistrate. See KRL v. Moore, 384 F.3d 1105, 1117 (9th Cir. 2004); see also Smith v. Almada, 640 F.3d 931, 937 (9th Cir. 2011); Ewing v. City of Stockton, 588 F.3d 1218, 1223-24 (9th Cir. 2009). Plaintiff's theories of Fourth Amendment liability as to Sergeant Hale and Detective Sanchez are, however, less clear.[12] The court understands plaintiff to be alleging that Sergeant Hale is subject to Fourth Amendment liability in his role as the supervisor who signed off on Detective Macias's arrest warrant affidavit, and Detective Sanchez is subject to liability for threatening Tern and leading him to make statements inculpating plaintiff. Finally, plaintiff alleges that the state court findings at his preliminary hearing have preclusive effect in this litigation. The court will address plaintiff's issue preclusion argument before turning to whether summary judgment is appropriate ///// with respect to plaintiff's claims against defendants Detective Macias, Sergeant Hale, and Detective Sanchez, respectively.

         1. Issue Preclusion

         Plaintiff claims defendants are collaterally estopped from asserting that probable cause existed in support of the arrest warrant for plaintiff on the charge of murder, given that the Merced County Superior Court's ultimate decision not to hold him to answer on any charges. (Doc. No. 85 at 32.) “The preclusive effect of a state court judgment in a subsequent federal lawsuit generally is determined by the full faith and credit statute.” Marrese v. American Acad. of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 470 U.S. 373, 380 (1985). By statute, a state's judicial proceedings “shall have the same full faith and credit in every court within the United States . . . as they have by law or usage in the courts of such State . . . from which they are taken.” 28 U.S.C. § 1738. This court must look to the preclusion law of California in order to decide whether preclusion applies in this case. Marrese, 470 U.S. at 380. Therefore, the court looks to California law concerning whether issue preclusion applies in this case.

         Issue preclusion prevents the relitigation of certain issues argued and decided in a previous case. DKN Holdings LLC v. Faerber, 61 Cal.4th 813, 824 (2015). To establish issue preclusion, a party must show there was (1) a final adjudication (2) of an identical issue (3) that was actually litigated and necessarily decided in the first suit and (4) that issue preclusion is being asserted against “one who was a party in the first suit or one in privity with that party.” Id. at 825; see also Lucido v. Superior Court of Mendocino Cty., 51 Cal.3d 335, 341 (1990). Generally, a prior judicial determination at a preliminary hearing to hold a criminal defendant over for trial has preclusive effect as to whether probable cause existed for the arrest. McCutchen v. City of Montclair, 73 Cal.App.4th 1138, 1144-47 (1999); see also Wige v. City of Los Angeles, 713 F.3d 1183, 1185 (9th Cir. 2013) (adopting McCutchen).[13]

         Nonetheless, this court finds that the superior court's decision not to hold plaintiff to answer at the conclusion of his preliminary hearing has no preclusive effect on the claims he has presented in this civil action. The core of each of plaintiff's Fourth Amendment claims is that the affidavit supporting the warrant for his arrest omitted material information and that Detective Macias omitted that information from his affidavit with deliberate or reckless disregard for the truth. See Chism v. Washington State, 661 F.3d 380, 386 (9th Cir. 2011) (“For the Chisms' judicial deception claim to survive summary judgment, the Chisms ‘must 1) make a substantial showing of [the officers'] deliberate falsehood or reckless disregard for the truth and 2) establish that, but for the dishonesty, the [searches and arrest] would not have occurred.'”); see also Smith, 640 F.3d at 937; Ewing, 588 F.3d at 1223-24; KRL, 384 F.3d at 1117. In plaintiff's preliminary hearing in state court, however, the court decided based upon the evidence presented that as a factual matter Tellez did not fire a gun from the vehicle on the evening in question, and therefore there was no probable cause to hold Morse over for trial. (See Doc. No. 86-18 at 31.) The issues in dispute in this civil action-whether Detective Macias included material misstatements in or omitted material facts from his affidavit in support of the arrest warrant for plaintiff, and whether Sergeant Hale and Detective Sanchez are liable for supervising or assisting him while doing it- were simply never addressed by the state court and were not necessary to that court's decision not to enter a holding order. Therefore, issue preclusion is inapplicable here.[14]

         2. Summary Judgment as to Defendant Detective Macias

         Detective Macias maintains that the undisputed evidence on summary judgment establishes that he had probable cause to arrest plaintiff. (Doc. No. 65 at 14-19.)[15] Plaintiff alleges Detective Macias violated his Fourth Amendment rights when he deliberately or recklessly omitted material information ...


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