premises and in Plaintiffs' home. (Showers Dep., vol. I, at 91. 94-98, 104-05, 117-23).
On May 19, 1993, Defendant Spangler placed a seizure tag on the wolf-caribou mount. At the time, the mount was on display at Bowhunters Warehouse, in Wellsville, Pennsylvania. The mount included a grey wolf, for which Showers possessed a CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) export permit from Quebec. (Spangler Decl., P 8; Plaintiffs' Doc. 5, at 9; Showers Aff., P 14). Showers possessed no other permits pertaining to the grey wolf. (Spangler Decl., P 8; Showers Aff., P 14). Spangler believed that Showers was attempting to sell the mount. (Spangler Decl., P 5).
On May 19, 1993, in connection with the seizure of the wolf-caribou mount, Spangler filed charges with two District Justices regarding the possession and sale of an endangered species without a permit. Showers and his attorney met with Game Commission officials, including Defendants Beard, Clouser, and Sloan on June 3, 1993. (M.F. P 39; Beard Dep. at 89-90)
Spangler withdrew the charges regarding sale of an endangered species on June 4, 1996, at the direction of his superiors. (M.F. PP 38-39). Spangler withdrew the possession of an endangered species charges on August 5, 1993, at the direction of his superiors. (M.F. P 41). On August 19, 1993, Spangler removed the seizure tag from the mount. (M.F. P 42).
Plaintiffs contend that both the April 13 search and the seizure of the wolf-caribou mount were unlawful under the United States and the Pennsylvania Constitutions. Defendants have moved for summary judgment under Rule 56, arguing that the searches and seizures were constitutional, and that all Defendants are protected by the doctrine of qualified immunity.
II. Standard of Review
Summary judgment is appropriate "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56; Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 106 S. Ct. 2548, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265 (1986). In reviewing the evidence, facts and inferences must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S. Ct. 1348, 1356, 89 L. Ed. 2d 538, 553 (1986). Summary judgment must be entered in favor of the moving party "where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party. . . ." Id., 475 U.S. at 586-87, 106 S. Ct. at 1356, 89 L. Ed. 2d at 552 (citations omitted).
When a moving party has carried his or her burden under Rule 56, the nonmoving party "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts. . . ." Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586-87, 106 S. Ct. at 1356, 89 L. Ed. 2d at 552 (citations omitted). The nonmoving party "must present affirmative evidence in order to defeat a properly supported motion for summary judgment," and cannot "simply reassert factually unsupported allegations contained in [the] pleadings." Williams v. Borough of West Chester, 891 F.2d 458, 460 (3d Cir. 1989) (citation omitted). However, "if the [nonmoving party's] evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 249-50, 106 S. Ct. 2505, 2511, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 212 (1986) (citations omitted).
A. The Constitutional Provisions
The Fourth Amendment provides that: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated. . . ." U.S. Const. amd. 4. The Fourth Amendment is incorporated as against the States by the Fourteenth Amendment. Camara v. Municipal Court, 387 U.S. 523, 87 S. Ct. 1727, 18 L. Ed. 2d 930 (1967).
Article 1, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution provides that: "The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions from unreasonable searches and seizures. . . ." Pa. Const. art I, § 8. Despite the similarity between the two constitutions' provisions, they are not coextensive. Commonwealth v. Kohl, 615 A.2d 308, 314-15, 532 Pa. 152, 165 (1992). For us to consider any possible differences between the Federal and the Pennsylvania constitutions, however, the parties must address these differences squarely in their briefs. Commonwealth v. Edmunds, 586 A.2d 887, 894-95, 526 Pa. 374, 586 (1991). As the parties have not done so, we will consider the motion solely in the context of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence.
B. Qualified Immunity
The Supreme Court has stated that "government officials performing discretionary functions are shielded from liability for civil damages insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known." Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818, 102 S. Ct. 2727, 2738, 73 L. Ed. 2d 396, 410 (1982). Even where they violate clearly established rights, officials will nonetheless be immune from suit if they acted in a manner which they reasonably believe to be lawful. Orsatti v. New Jersey State Police, 71 F.3d 480, 483 (3d Cir. 1995). The focus of this inquiry is objective reasonableness: whether a reasonable officer could have believed that the search was lawful, "in light of clearly established law and the information the searching officers possessed." Anderson v. Creighton, 483 U.S. 635, 641, 107 S. Ct. 3034, 3040, 97 L. Ed. 2d 523, 532 (1987). The Defendants' subjective beliefs about the lawfulness of the search are irrelevant. Id. Indeed, Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity even if they knew that their conduct was unlawful, so long as a "reasonable public official" would not have known. Grant v. Pittsburgh, 98 F.3d 116, 123-24 (3d Cir. 1996).
The Defendants' state of mind may be considered, however, where "state of mind is an essential element of the constitutional violation itself." Id. at 124. Subjective knowledge of unlawful conduct will not defeat qualified immunity by itself, but a defendant is not entitled to qualified immunity where a reasonable public official could not have believed the search to be lawful in light of the state of mind which motivated the search. Id. at 124-25. An allegation of improper motive will not preclude the entry of summary judgment on behalf of a defendant based on qualified immunity, however, if state of mind is not an essential element of the violation. Id. at 125-26.
State of mind is relevant only where "clearly established law makes the conduct illegal depending on the intent with which it is performed." Id. at 125 (quoting Halperin v. Kissinger, 257 U.S. App. D.C. 35, 807 F.2d 180, 184 (D.C. Cir. 1986)). In Grant, for example, the Third Circuit held that inquiry into the defendants' state of mind was called for where the plaintiffs had alleged a substantive due process violation, based on defendants' politically motivated arbitrary and capricious conduct in nominating plaintiffs' buildings for historic preservation (and thereby preventing their demolition by plaintiffs). Id.
Plaintiffs allege violations of their rights to be free from unlawful searches and seizures. State of mind is not an essential element of a cause of action for a Fourth Amendment violation. Maryland v. Macon, 472 U.S. 463, 470-71, 105 S. Ct. 2778, 2783, 86 L. Ed. 2d 370, 378 (1985); United States v. Johnson, 63 F.3d 242, 246-47 (3d Cir. 1995), cert. denied, 116 S. Ct. 2528, 135 L. Ed. 2d 1052 (1996). Defendants' state of mind is, therefore, irrelevant. We must consider Defendants' entitlement to qualified immunity in light of the objective reasonableness of their conduct, without regard to their state of mind.
For a right to be "clearly established," "the contours of the right must be sufficiently clear that a reasonable official would understand that what he is doing violates that right." Anderson, 483 U.S. at 640, 107 S. Ct. at 3039, 97 L. Ed. 2d at 531. While the right need not have been held unlawful under factually identical circumstances, "in the light of pre-existing law the unlawfulness must be apparent." Id. ; Good v. Dauphin County Social Serv. for Children & Youth, 891 F.2d 1087, 1092 (3d Cir. 1989). A conclusion after the fact that the conduct is unlawful is insufficient, since law enforcement officers should not "be expected to anticipate subsequent legal developments." Bieregu v. Reno, 59 F.3d 1445, 1458 (3d Cir. 1995).
C. The April 13, 1993, Search.4
The holder of a Pennsylvania taxidermist's permit is subject to certain statutory and regulatory requirements:
Each permit holder shall keep accurate records of all transactions carried out under authority of the permit issued and any other information required by the director. The records must be kept for a period of three years and shall be open to inspection by any officer of the commission during normal business hours and shall be the basis of any reports required by the commission.
34 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 2907 (the "Inspection Statute").
A holder of a permit shall keep a record of transactions on a form provided by the Commission in accordance with the instructions provided. The record, together with the premises, shall be open to inspection upon demand of an officer of the Commission. A permittee shall answer, without evasion, questions that may be asked by a representative or officer of the Commission relative to ownership of a bird or mammal or part thereof, found in the permittee's possession or under the permittee's control, or which has passed through the permittee's hands.