§ Borough of Clifton Heights, Police Corporal Robert Keates, Police Officer Zimath, and Robert Roe # 1. ,JOHN DOE v. BOROUGH OF CLIFTON HEIGHTS, ET AL." />

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DOE v. BOROUGH OF CLIFTON HTS.

September 13, 1989

JOHN DOE
v.
BOROUGH OF CLIFTON HEIGHTS, ET AL.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: KATZ

 MARVIN KATZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 On November 14, 1987, police officers arrested plaintiff John Doe, a juvenile. Plaintiff stated that he was a juvenile and provided the officers with a Pennsylvania Personal Identification Card confirming his juvenile status. Arresting officers Keates and Zimath questioned plaintiff repeatedly about his date of birth; at one point, plaintiff "fumbled."

 Plaintiff informed the arresting officers that he had a valid Pennsylvania driver's license, but did not have the license with him. When Officer Keates ran a computer search for the license, he discovered a valid license under the same name as plaintiff's, but which bore an adult date of birth. This driver's license contained a different street address than the one shown on plaintiff's identification card, but Officer Keates was informed (incorrectly) that the two addresses were in the same area. Keates did not consider plaintiff's identification card reliable, and his experience led him to believe that an individual using a false address typically chooses one from his own neighborhood. Taking the conflicting information into account, Keates incorrectly determined that plaintiff was an adult. Plaintiff was incarcerated with adult offenders for approximately 60 hours.

 In his action, plaintiff brings four distinct claims against the arresting officers, the municipality of Clifton Heights and the Delaware County Prison. Plaintiff claims that defendants' actions violated: (1) his federal statutory rights under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act and the Juvenile Justice Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 5633(a)(12)-(14), which prohibit states from incarcerating juveniles in the same facility as adults except under limited circumstances; (2) his substantive due process rights; (3) his procedural due process rights; and (4) his eighth amendment right to be free from assault by fellow prisoners.

 The Municipal Defendants: Borough of Clifton Heights and Delaware County Prison

 Rule 56(c) "mandates the entry of summary judgment, 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. In such a situation, there can be 'no genuine issue of material fact. . . .'" Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 1, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986).

 As the Supreme Court recently stated, "our first inquiry in any case alleging municipal liability under § 1983 is the question of whether there is a direct causal link between a municipal policy or custom, and the alleged constitutional deprivation." City of Canton v. Harris, slip op. at 7 (Feb. 28, 1989). Here, the record contains no evidence of any municipal policy or custom, formal or informal, of incarcerating juveniles with adult offenders. The experience of John Doe appears to have been an isolated incident. As a result, this Court must grant summary judgment in favor of the municipal defendants on all of plaintiff's claims.

 The Individual Defendants: Corporal Robert Keates and Officer Zimath

 1. Plaintiff's constitutional due process claims

 To succeed on his substantive and procedural due process claims, plaintiff must demonstrate that defendants were more than merely negligent. I find that plaintiff has failed to do so.

 Defendants were negligent in determining that plaintiff was an adult. The best course of action for the arresting officers to follow would have been to proceed on the assumption that plaintiff was a juvenile, pending further investigation. Such action would have prevented the tragic mistake which was made in this case. However, the officers did make some attempts to verify plaintiff's age, and the record contains no evidence that their actions constituted more than ...


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