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Monserrate M. Zapata v. Commonwealth of Pa.

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA


April 3, 2013

MONSERRATE M. ZAPATA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PA., ET AL. DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rufe, J.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff filed this action alleging that the state and federal government deprived him of certain civil rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments in connection with his indictment and conviction more than forty years ago. Defendant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania filed a Motion to Dismiss, arguing, inter alia , that Plaintiff's claims are time barred.

Plaintiff alleges that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is liable for "willful falsification and encorcement [sic] of court-room-record-fraud and continued concealment" and racial discrimination in sentencing him, in 1971, to 12 years in prison and 24 years of probation for two homicides that occurred on November 7, 1970. *fn1 He alleges that he had a preliminary hearing before Judge Joseph E. Gold, and was taken before the grand jury on December 23, 1970. Plaintiff alleges that he was not present when the grand jury indicted him. The bill of indictment was issued by Magistrate Morris J. Starr, also outside of Plaintiff's presence. Plaintiff now argues, in his Complaint, that the preliminary proceedings were insufficient for the grand jury to make a finding and that these proceedings improperly occurred outside his presence.

Plaintiff alleges that he pled not guilty at an arraignment before Judge Theodore S. Gutowicz on March 29, 1071, and then proceeded to a trial before Judge Gutowicz. Plaintiff alleges that Judge Gutowicz presided over his double-homicide trial without adequate experience as a homicide trial judge. After the jury reached its verdict, Plaintiff was sentenced on September 21, 1971. Plaintiff alleges that the sentence (12 years imprisonment) was inconsistent with the jury's verdict, as the jury acquitted him of second degree murder, improperly finding him guilty of voluntary manslaughter which was not charged in the indictment.

Plaintiff alleges that the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ignored Plaintiff's complaints about Pennsylvania's violations of his civil rights and allowed the state to "contaminate the federal courts with FRAUD." *fn2 These complaints were allegedly made in 1973. *fn3

As more than 40 years have passed since the alleged wrongs occurred, and Plaintiff sets forth no grounds for tolling the statute of limitations, *fn4 Plaintiff's claims against the moving Defendant, the United States Attorney's Office, will be dismissed with prejudice as time barred. In addition, the Court will dismiss with prejudice all claims against the recently served Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the unserved John Doe defendants, as it is clear from the face of the Complaint that Plaintiff's claims against all defendants are time barred..


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