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Dique v. New Jersey State Police

May 6, 2010

WALTER DIQUE, APPELLANT
v.
NEW JERSEY STATE POLICE; STATE OF NEW JERSEY; C.L. PAGANO; CARSON DUNBAR; JOHN MULVEY; G. VONA; M. SANCHEZ; JOHN DOE 1-10



On Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (D. C. No. 2-04-cv-00563) District Judge: Hon. Katharine S. Hayden.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Roth, Circuit Judge

PRECEDENTIAL

Argued on May 11, 2009

Before: AMBRO, ROTH and ALARCÓN*fn1, Circuit Judges

OPINION

This appeal presents the question of when Walter Dique's Fourteenth Amendment selective-enforcement claim accrued. Dique appeals the District Court's final order, granting summary judgment in favor of Clinton Pagano, John Mulvey, and Glen Vona (Officers) on his claim because it was time barred. Dique argues that he timely filed suit because his claim accrued in April 2002, when his conviction was vacated; the Officers, by contrast, argue that the claim accrued in January 1990, when the wrongful conduct occurred.

In Gibson v. Superintendent of New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety-Division of State Police, 411 F.3d 427 (3d Cir. 2005), we held, relying on the rule of Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), that the statute of limitations for a selective-enforcement claim "did not begin to run until [the] sentence was vacated." Gibson, 411 F.3d at 441. We believe, however, that the Supreme Court's decision in Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384 (2007), which clarified the Heck rule, extends to Fourteenth Amendment selective-enforcement claims and thus overrides our decision in Gibson.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Facts

On January 7, 1990, Walter Dique was the victim of racial profiling.*fn2 At about 10 p.m. that night, Dique was driving a livery car for hire on the New Jersey Turnpike. Dique is a native of Colombia; his two passengers were Hispanic. Mulvey, a state trooper, drove up behind Dique and flashed his overhead lights. Dique pulled over to the side of the road. According to Mulvey, he stopped Dique for a speeding violation. Mulvey then ordered Dique out of the car because the traffic noise and Dique's accent made it difficult for Mulvey to hear Dique's responses to his questions. During questioning, Mulvey noticed that one of the passengers had a "white powdery substance in his mustache." This prompted Mulvey to seek Dique's written consent to search the car. Dique consented. Mulvey found drugs in the car, and he and trooper Vona, who had arrived at the scene, arrested Dique and the two passengers.*fn3

Nine years later, in June 1999, Dique was convicted in state court on drug-related charges, arising from the stop.*fn4 He was sentenced to fifteen years in prison. In April 2002, however, the State of New Jersey moved to vacate Dique's conviction and dismiss the indictment because "colorable issues of racial profiling" existed at the time of the arrest. Dique was released from prison three days later.

B. District Court Proceedings

In February 2004, Dique filed suit based on the January 1990 traffic stop, alleging violations of federal law, including 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985, and of state law. His list of defendants included the New Jersey State Police, the State of New Jersey, and the Officers.*fn5 Dique alleged two section 1983 claims: the first claim's underlying constitutional violation was a Fourth Amendment claim for false arrest, and the second's was a Fourteenth Amendment claim for selective-enforcement.*fn6

In December 2004, the District Court dismissed Dique's federal law claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) because they were time barred; the court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over his remaining state law claims. Dique appealed. In December 2005, we, at the parties' request, issued a limited remand to the District Court "as to Dismissal of [Dique's] Fourth Amendment False Arrest Claim and Fourteenth Amendment Selective Enforcement Claim as ...


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