United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
MARTIN W. JONES, Plaintiff,
TONY MARSAGLIA, et al., Defendants.
J. PAPPERT, J.
W. Jones, a prisoner incarcerated at SCI Rockview sues Tony
Marsaglia, Michael Kaminski, Frank Najero, and Joshua Mallery
(Badge #99-30) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Jones seeks
leave to proceed in forma pauperis. For the
following reasons, the Court will grant Jones leave to
proceed in forma pauperis and dismiss his Complaint
with leave to amend.
alleges constitutional claims against the Defendants in both
their official and individual capacities. Jones contends that
at the time of the incidents giving rise to his Complaint,
Marsaglia was a police detective and Kaminski a police
officer with Upper Southampton Police Department. (ECF No. 3
at 2-3, 12.) Jones further alleges that Najera was a
police detective with Upper Saucon Police Department and that
Mallery was a detective with the Bucks County District
Attorney's Office. (Id.)
allegations appear to relate predominately to his arrest on
April 11, 2018 pursuant to a warrant and matters stemming
from the related criminal investigation. (Id. at
12.) In his Complaint, Jones avers initially that the
“arrest and search was unlawful.” (Id.
at 3.) It appears, however, that although Jones sets forth
four legal claims based on different factual events, these
events seem to be somewhat intertwined. (Id. at
respect to his first claim, and presumably by way of
background, Jones states that on September 1, 2017, while he
was stopped while driving by Upper Southampton Township
police officers. (Id. at 13.) Jones claims that
Jenny Lynn Jones (who is unrelated to him) handed police
officers a blue bag containing five ounces of
methamphetamine, giving permission to search its contents.
(Id.) Jenny Lynn Jones was arrested that same day.
(Id.) Jones, however, asserts that he was arrested
eight months later, on April 11, 2018, based on charges
resulting from the recovery of the five ounces of
methamphetamine. (Id. at 12-13.) With respect to the
April 11, 2018 arrest, Jones contends that Kaminski and
Mallery served the arrest warrant on him after he had stepped
out of his residence and closed the door. (Id. at
13.) Jones contends that Najera, Mallery, and Marsaglia then
entered his residence “to see if probable cause
existed, to obtain a search warrant” even though they
only had a “body warrant” for him. (Id.)
Jones asserts that the search of his residence was unlawful
and tainted a later search. (Id. at 13-14.)
respect to his next claim, Jones avers that between April 15
and April 29, 2018, Mallery reviewed prison phone calls
between Jones and Jenny Jones while he was incarcerated at
Bucks County prison. (Id. at 14.) Jones contends
that Mallery violated his rights by unlawfully reviewing and
recording those prison phone calls. (Id.)
third claim Jones asserts that Najera unlawfully
“seized” his [cell] phone “on or about
January 2, 2018.” (Id.) Jones submits that the
content of the phone was reviewed by Mallery and Najera.
(Id.) Jones further states that Najera admits in
police reports that “he did not get written consent for
it or a search warrant.” (Id. at 14-15.) Jones
contends that an unlawful search and “extraction of the
phone was conducted, without consent and without a
final claim is that the Defendants acted with deliberate
indifference to his needs when he was questioned on January 2
and January 5, 2018 by Najera and Mallery without being read
his Miranda rights. (Id. at 15.)
seeks judgment in his favor and a “declaration that the
acts and omission described [in his Complaint] violate [his]
rights under the Constitution and laws of the United States
against each Defendant, jointly and severally.”
(Id.) Jones seeks punitive and compensatory damages
in an “amount of what [the] court deems just and
if not all, of Jones's claims relate to his prosecution
on drug-related charges. Public dockets from the Bucks County
Court of Common Pleas show that on April 11, 2018, Jones was
arrested by Kasminski on various drug charges including
manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to
manufacture or deliver, as well as a drug conspiracy charge.
See Commonwealth v. Jones, Docket No.
CP-09-CR-0004070-2018 (Bucks Cty. Court of Common Pleas).
These charges related back to an offense date of September 1,
2017. (Id.) Jones entered a plea of nolo
contendere to all charges stemming from the offense date
of September 1, 2017 and was sentenced to a total term of two
to four years imprisonment on September 4, 2018.
on May 7, 2018 Jones was arrested by Mallery on charges of
giving false or misleading information or testimony and a
charge of harassment stemming from an offense date of April
13, 2018, while he was incarcerated at the Bucks County
prison. See Commonwealth v. Jones, Docket No.
CP-09-CR-0004071-2018 (Bucks Cty. Court of Common Pleas). On
September 4, 2018, following a negotiated guilty plea, the
court sentenced Jones to seven years in prison on the charge
of giving false or misleading information or testimony, and
dismissed the remaining charges. (Id.) It is not
clear whether this prosecution or any related criminal
investigation are implicated by Jones's Complaint. None
of convictions referenced above have been vacated or
Court will grant Jones leave to proceed in forma
pauperis because it appears that he is incapable of
paying the fees to commence this civil action. Accordingly, 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) applies, which requires the
Court to dismiss the Complaint if it fails to state a claim.
Whether a complaint fails to state a claim under §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the same standard applicable
to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), see Tourscher v. McCullough, 184 F.3d 236,
240 (3d Cir. 1999), which requires the Court to determine
whether the complaint contains “sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quotations omitted). Conclusory
allegations do not suffice. Id. As Jones is
proceeding pro se, the Court construes his
allegations liberally. Higgs v. Att'y Gen., 655
F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011); but see Argentina v.
Gillette, No. 19-1348, 2019 WL 2538020, at *1 (3d Cir.