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Stephen Jiles v. Spring Garden Police Department

November 23, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. John E. Jones III

Hon. Malachy E. Mannion



This matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation ("R&R") of Magistrate Judge Malachy E. Mannion (Doc. 18), filed on October 6, 2011, which recommends that this action be dismissed. Following the issuance of the R&R, Plaintiff Stephen Jiles ("Plaintiff" or "Jiles") two documents with the Court, entitled "Motion to Appoint Counsel, Motion for Evidentiary Hearing" and "Motion for Preliminary Injunction" (Docs. 19 and 20) which we shall construe as objections to the R&R. Accordingly, this matter is ripe for disposition. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will adopt the Magistrate Judge's R&R, dismiss the remaining claims in this action, and close this case.


Plaintiff, an inmate at the State Correctional Institution at Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, filed, pro se, the instant civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on June 10, 2011. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff also filed an application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis and a prisoner authorization form. (Docs. 6 and 7). Named as Defendants were the following: the Spring Garden Police Department; Detective James Hott; Detective Keith Lightener; Detective Dony Harbaugh; Detective Thomas Kelley of the York City Police Department; Thomas Kelley, Judge of York County Court of Common Pleas; Thomas Kearny, District Attorney for the County of York; Jana Tallo, Assistant District Attorney; and several John Does. All Defendants were named in their official capacity only.

In the original Complaint, Plaintiff alleged that on March 27, 2009, Defendants Hott, Lightener, Harbaugh and Kelley, claiming to have a "body warrant" for the Plaintiff, forcefully entered a home believed to be the Plaintiff's and proceeded to conduct an illegal search and seizure. Plaintiff claimed that the warrant was invalid and that the officers took items from the home unlawfully. Plaintiff further alleged that due to the personal, intimate relationship between Thomas Kelley, a York County Court of Common Pleas judge and Defendant Tallo, an Assistant District Attorney in York County, the Commonwealth was allowed the use of illegal evidence in the case against Plaintiff. Plaintiff also claimed that Thomas Kearny, the York County District Attorney, was involved in his prosecution. Based on those facts, Plaintiff claimed that his Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated.

Magistrate Judge Mannion, reviewing the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), recommends that the action be dismissed. The Magistrate Judge made the following conclusions:

(1) that the Spring Garden Police Department, a municipal police department, is not an appropriate defendant in a § 1983 action;

(2) Defendant Judge Kelley enjoys absolute immunity from suit under § 1983 for damages arising from his judicial acts;

(3) Defendants Kearney and Tallo, in their capacity as District Attorneys in York County, enjoy absolute prosecutorial immunity; and

(4) the remaining defendants, inasmuch as they are state officials being sued in their official capacities, enjoy Eleventh Amendment immunity.

Based on the foregoing conclusions, Magistrate Judge Mannion recommended complete dismissal of the case.

On August 4, 2011, we issued a Memorandum and Order (Doc. 14) adopting the Magistrate Judge's in its entirety, with the exception that we permitted Plaintiff to file an amended complaint with respect to his claims against Defendants Kelley and Tallo only. We noted that our review of the Complaint indicated that Plaintiff's allegations concerning the relationship of these particular Defendants and the impact of the same on his prosecution were largely conclusory. However, out of abundant caution, and recognizing Plaintiff's pro se status, we permitted him an opportunity to amend his Complaint, but only as it related to his claims against these two Defendants. We cautioned Plaintiff that unless he provides more than a conclusory allegation in his amended pleading (i.e. that the existence of the romantic relationship between the remaining ...

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