Edward Taupier v. Andrew Katrenya, Daniel De Jesus, and Victoria Melchiorre


 

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT

EDWARD TAUPIER,

Plaintiff,

v.

ANDREW KATRENYA, DANIEL DEJESUS and VICTORIA MELCHIORRE,

Defendants.

Civil Action No. 3:15 CV 0319

MARCH 4, 2015

COMPLAINT

1.      This is an action to redress the deprivation of rights secured to the Plaintiff by the Constitution and laws of the United States and the Constitution and laws of the State of Connecticut.

2.      Jurisdiction of this court is invoked under the provisions of Sections 1331, 1343(3) and 1367(a) of Title 28 and Sections 1983 and 1988 of Title 42 of the United States Code.

3.      The Plaintiff, Edward Taupier, is an adult citizen of the United States of America who resides at, and is the owner of, 6 Douglas Drive, Cromwell, Connecticut.

4.      The Defendant, Andrew Katrenya (“Katrenya”), is a State Trooper employed by the State of Connecticut. He was acting as such at all times herein mentioned, but he is sued only in his individual capacity.

5.      The Defendant, Daniel DeJesus (“DeJesus”), is a State Trooper employed by the State of Connecticut. He was acting as such at all times herein mentioned, but he is sued only in his individual capacity.

6.      The Defendant, Victoria Melchiorre (“Melchiorre”), is an attorney admitted to the practice of law in the State of Connecticut and employee of the Office of the State’s Attorney. She was acting as such at all times herein mentioned, but she is sued only in her individual capacity.

7.      During all times mentioned in this Complaint, the defendants were acting under color of law, that is, under color of the Constitution, statutes, laws, rules, regulations, customs and usages of the State of Connecticut.

8.      During the times mentioned herein, the Defendants acted jointly and in concert with each other and other employees of the Office of the State’s Attorney (“OSA”), the Connecticut State Police (“CSP”) and the Cromwell Police Department (“CPD”) whose identities are presently unknown to the Plaintiff.

9.      The Defendants had the duty and the opportunity to protect the Plaintiff from the unlawful actions of each other and the other unidentified employees of OSA, CSP and CPD but the Defendants failed and refused to perform such duty, thereby proximately causing the injuries herein complained of.

10.      The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that no warrant shall issue unless signed by a neutral magistrate. The neutral  magistrate requirement applies to arrest warrants and search and seizure warrants, including so-called “risk warrants” which are authorized by Conn. Gen. Stat. §29-38c.

11.      The Fourteenth Amendment provides that no person shall be deprived of property or liberty without due process of law.

12.      Defendants Katrenya and DeJesus signed a warrant for the arrest of the Plaintiff and dated the arrest warrant on August 29, 2014 in which they swore under oath that they believed probable cause existed that the Plaintiff had committed the crime of threatening on or about August 22, 2014 when he sent an email to six individuals. Defendant Melchiorre signed the arrest warrant as the prosecuting authority.

13.      On the same day, Defendant Katrenya and DeJesus signed a “risk warrant” under oath to search the Plaintiff’s home and seize all of his lawfully owned and properly registered firearms on August 29, 2014.

14.      Although Defendant Melchiorre did not sign the risk warrant nor was she required to do so, upon information and belief the presentation of the arrest warrant and the risk warrant to the judge was coordinated by Defendant Melchiorre.

15.      Despite the Defendants’ oath, neither the arrest warrant nor the risk warrant was supported by probable cause at the time presented to the judicial authority and never would have been signed by a neutral magistrate. 

     The Defendants did not apply for a search and seizure warrant that sought legal authority to search and seize evidence of that the Plaintiff had allegedly committed a because they knew they lacked probable cause for such an application; no reasonable officer would have believed that the lawfully owned and properly registered firearms were evidence of the alleged crime or probative evidence of the charges as none of the firearms ultimately seized were mentioned in the August 22, 2014 email.

17.      When executing an arrest warrant, law enforcement officers are limited to the doctrine of searches incident to arrest. The Defendants and their conspirators employed by OSA, CSP and CPD would never been able to search the Plaintiff’s home or seize any of his lawfully owned and properly registered firearms as such items were well outside the zone permitted by a lawful search incident to an arrest.

18.      Because the Defendants lacked probable cause to obtain a search warrant for his home, the only way that the Defendants were able to accomplish the arrest of the Plaintiff and the unlawful search of his home and seize of his firearms was to present the applications for the arrest warrant and the risk warrant to a judicial authority who was not neutral and, instead, who was openly, actually and publicly hostile to and biased against the individual right to firearm ownership. Case 3:15-cv-00319 Document 1 Filed 03/04/15 . Defendants Katrenya, DeJesus and Melchiorre presented the arrest warrant and risk warrant in question to a judge of the superior court whom they knew was not a “neutral” magistrate.

20.      Prior to August 29, 2014, the judge of the superior court who signed both the arrest and risk warrant had made his hostility to and bias against individual firearm ownership well known to the public, members of the legal community and law enforcement officers, including the Defendants.

21.      Prior to August 29, 2014, this judge’s open, actual and public hostility to and bias against the individual right of firearms ownership was widely reported by the news media.

22.      According to the arrest warrant and the risk warrant, the judge signed both on August 28, 2014, the day before the warrants were allegedly signed under oath by the Defendants.

23.      At the time the risk warrant was signed under oath by Defendants Katrenya and DeJesus, the risk warrant did not describe firearms and/or ammunition of the Plaintiff; the risk warrant identified firearms and/or ammunition of some other, unknown person who was the subject of some earlier investigation.

24.      At the time the risk warrant was signed by the judge of the superior court after it was signed under oath by Defendants Katrenya and DeJesus, the risk warrant did not describe firearms and/or ammunition of the Plaintiff; the risk  warrant identified firearms and/or ammunition of some other, unknown person who was the subject of some earlier investigation.

25.      At the time the risk warrant was served and executed by agents of the CSP and CPD and at the time agents of the CSP and CPD illegally entered and searched the Plaintiff’s home and unlawfully seized the Plaintiff’s lawfully owned and properly registered firearms, the risk warrant did not describe firearms and/or ammunition of the Plaintiff; the risk warrant identified firearms and/or ammunition of some other, unknown person who was the subject of some earlier investigation.

26.       At some point after the agents of the CSP and CPD illegally entered and searched the Plaintiff’s home and unlawfully seized the Plaintiff’s lawfully owned and properly registered firearms, CSP Sgt. Rafael Medina discovered that the risk warrant did not describe the firearms and/or ammunition belonging to the Plaintiff.

27.      Rather than return the Plaintiff’s firearms illegally seized after the unlawful entry and search of the Plaintiff’s home, CSP Sgt. Medina altered the risk warrant to obliterate the name that was originally present when the risk warrant was signed by the judge of the superior court. CSP Sgt. Medina’s redaction and alteration was not made under oath, was not in the presence of a judicial authority and was wholly unauthorized by law.

28.      When he redacted and altered the risk warrant from what it was when it was served and executed, CSP Sgt. Medina made no indication that would allow someone reading the risk warrant to know that the redaction and alteration was made after the risk warrant was served and executed.

29.      The judge of the superior court who originally signed the risk warrant and Defendant Melchiorre ratified CSP Sgt. Medina’s conduct to redact and alter the risk warrant.

30.      The ratification by the judge of the superior court of the improper and unsworn redaction and alteration of the risk warrant by CSP Sgt. Medina is further evidence that the judicial authority who signed the risk warrant was not a neutral magistrate as required by law.

31.      Defendant Melchiorre’s concurrence and ratification of CSP Sgt. Medina’s conduct is further evidence that she knew the judicial authority who signed the risk warrant was not a neutral magistrate as required by law.

32.      No reasonable law enforcement officer would have presented to this judge either the arrest warrant or the risk warrant in a matter that involved the individual ownership of firearms given this judge’s open, actual and public hostility to and bias against the individual right of firearm ownership.

33.      The risk warrant was served at the same time as the arrest warrant on August 29, 2014 and the risk warrant allowed the police to search the Plaintiff’s home after the Plaintiff was secured and in custody, something that would not have  been permitted if the CSP and CPD only were armed with a mere warrant for the Plaintiff’s arrest.

34.      Additionally, the risk warrant allowed the CSP and CPD seize the Plaintiff’s lawfully owned and properly registered firearms despite the fact that the Plaintiff had committed no crime relative to the firearms.

35.      The risk warrant was part of the Defendants’ scheme to illegally enter the Plaintiff’s home to unlawfully search and seize firearms when they knew that no judicial authority would have signed a search warrant based on the allegations of the warrant for the plaintiff’s arrest.

36.      The Defendants were assured of the success in their scheme and accomplished their unlawful conduct by presenting the risk warrant to a judicial authority who had exhibited open, actual and public hostility to and bias against the individual right of firearm ownership.

37. At the time the arrest warrant and risk warrant were presented to the judicial authority, the Defendants knew that none of the seized firearms or property seized on August 29, 2014 was referenced in the August 22, 2014 email.

38.      At the time the arrest warrant and risk warrant were presented to the judicial authority, the Defendants knew that that none of the firearms or property seized on August 29, 2014 was probative evidence of the charges based on the August 22, 2014 email. Armed with the arrest and risk warrants, the Defendants caused and participated in a paramilitary raid on the Plaintiff’s home in Cromwell, Connecticut on August 29, 2014.

40.      In the criminal case, the Plaintiff’s defense counsel filed a motion to challenge to court’s jurisdiction in the risk warrant matter. Tellingly, the State did not proceed on the hearing to justify their conduct and abandoned the risk warrant entirely, already having achieved their illegal and unlawful goals – the illicit entry into the Plaintiff’s home and the illegal search and seizure of his lawfully owned and properly registered firearms. With their scheme complete, the OSA, CSP and their agents were now poised to use the firearms against the Plaintiff in the criminal prosecution.

41.      In February 2015, the State indicated that it planned to enter the photos and firearms into evidence at the Plaintiff’s criminal trial on the charge of threatening arising from the August 22, 2014 email. But for the illegal risk warrant, none of the photos and firearms would have been available for the State to offer as evidence of the crime charged. ]

42.      As a result of the Defendants’ conduct, the Plaintiff’s home was illegally searched.

43.      As a result of the Defendants’ conduct, the Plaintiff’s possessions, including lawfully owned and properly registered firearms, were illegally seized. With the illegal search and seizure of the firearms by way of the risk warrant, the Defendants and their co-conspirators circumvented the rights secured to the Plaintiff by the federal constitution, by the state constitution and have abused the process of law, all to the Plaintiff’s detriment.

45.      As a result, the Plaintiff has suffered and in the future has and will continue to suffer emotional distress and economic losses.

46.      In the manner described above, the Defendants violated the Plaintiff’s right to be free from false arrest, malicious prosecution, abuse of process, unreasonable searches and seizures, which rights are secured to the plaintiff by the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution as enforced through Sections 1983 and 1988 of Title 42 of the United States Code, and the Connecticut Constitution.

47.      In the manner described above, the Defendants violated the Plaintiff’s rights to procedural and substantive due process, which right is secured to the plaintiff by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution as enforced through Sections 1983 and 1988 of Title 42 of the United States Code, and the Connecticut Constitution.

48.      In the manner described above, the Defendants committed the state law torts of malicious prosecution, abuse of process, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress. 

     WHEREFORE, the plaintiff claims judgment against the defendants for compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorney fees and costs and any other relief in law or equity that may appertain.

     THE PLAINTIFF CLAIMS TRIAL BY JURY.

THE PLAINTIFF, EDWARD TAUPIER _____________________________

John J. Radshaw III, Esq. (ct19882)

900 Chapel Street, Suite 620

New Haven, CT 06510

203.654.9695 203.721.6182

– F http://www.jjr-esq.com | jjr@jjr-esq.com

http://ctgunrights.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/03.04-Federal-Complaint.pdf

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