United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division
B. BIGGERS, SENIOR U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the court on the pro se prisoner
complaint of Howard Hays, who challenges the conditions of
his confinement under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. For the purposes
of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, the court notes that the
plaintiff was incarcerated when he filed this suit. The
plaintiff has brought the instant case under 42 U.S.C. §
1983, which provides a federal cause of action against
“[e]very person” who under color of state
authority causes the “deprivation of any rights,
privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and
laws.” 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiff alleges
that the defendants falsely arrested him, maliciously
prosecuted him, and caused an unreasonable delay between the
time of his arrest and his initial appearance before a
neutral and detached magistrate. The defendants have moved
for summary judgment; Mr. Hays has responded to the motion,
and the defendants have replied. The matter is ripe for
resolution. For the reasons set forth below, the motion by
the defendants for summary judgment will be granted, and
judgment will be entered for the defendants in all respects.
judgment is appropriate if the “materials in the
record, including depositions, documents, electronically
stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations
(including those made for purposes of the motion only),
admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials”
show that “there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a) and (c)(1).
“The moving party must show that if the evidentiary
material of record were reduced to admissible evidence in
court, it would be insufficient to permit the nonmoving party
to carry its burden.” Beck v. Texas State Bd. of
Dental Examiners, 204 F.3d 629, 633 (5th Cir.
2000) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317
(1986), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 1066 (1988)). After a
proper motion for summary judgment is made, the burden shifts
to the non-movant to set forth specific facts showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2511, 91
L.Ed.2d 202 (1986); Beck, 204 F.3d at 633; Allen
v. Rapides Parish School Bd., 204 F.3d 619, 621
(5th Cir. 2000); Ragas v. Tennessee Gas
Pipeline Company, 136 F.3d 455, 458 (5th Cir.
1998). Substantive law determines what is material.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. “Only disputes over
facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the
governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary
judgment. Factual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary
will not be counted.” Id., at 248. If the
non-movant sets forth specific facts in support of
allegations essential to his claim, a genuine issue is
presented. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 327. “Where
the record, taken as a whole, could not lead a rational trier
of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no genuine
issue for trial.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 89 L.Ed.2d 538
(1986); Federal Savings and Loan, Inc. v. Krajl, 968
F.2d 500, 503 (5thCir. 1992).
facts are reviewed drawing all reasonable inferences in favor
of the non-moving party. Allen, 204 F.3d at 621;
PYCA Industries, Inc. v. Harrison County Waste Water
Management Dist., 177 F.3d 351, 161 (5th Cir.
1999); Banc One Capital Partners Corp. v. Kneipper,
67 F.3d 1187, 1198 (5th Cir. 1995). However, this
is so only when there is “an actual controversy, that
is, when both parties have submitted evidence of
contradictory facts.” Little v. Liquid Air
Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994);
see Edwards v. Your Credit, Inc., 148 F.3d 427, 432
(5th Cir. 1998). In the absence of proof, the
court does not “assume that the nonmoving party could
or would prove the necessary facts.” Little,
37 F.3d at 1075 (emphasis omitted).
very purpose of summary judgment is to “pierce the
pleadings and assess the proof in order to see whether there
is a genuine issue for trial.” Advisory Committee Note
to the 1963 Amendments to Rule 56. Indeed, “[t]he
amendment is not intended to derogate from the solemnity of
the pleadings[;] [r]ather, it recognizes that despite the
best efforts of counsel to make his pleadings accurate, they
may be overwhelmingly contradicted by the proof available to
his adversary.” Id. The non-moving party (the
plaintiff in this case), must come forward with proof to
support each element of his claim. The plaintiff cannot meet
this burden with “some metaphysical doubt as to the
material facts, ” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd.
v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106 S.Ct.
1348, 1356 (1986), “conclusory allegations, ”
Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation, 497 U.S. 871,
871-73, 110 S.Ct. 3177, 3180 (1990), “unsubstantiated
assertions, ” Hopper v. Frank, 16 F.3d 92
(5th Cir. 1994), or by a mere
“scintilla” of evidence, Davis v. Chevron
U.S.A., Inc., 14 F.3d 1082 (5th Cir. 1994).
It would undermine the purposes of summary judgment if a
party could defeat such a motion simply by “replac[ing]
conclusory allegations of the complaint or answer with
conclusory allegations of an affidavit.” Lujan v.
National Wildlife Federation, 497 U.S. 871, 888, 110
S.Ct. 3177, 3188 (1990). In considering a motion for summary
judgment, a court must determine whether the non-moving
party's allegations are plausible.
Matsushita, supra. (emphasis added).
“[D]etermining whether a complaint states a plausible
claim is context-specific, requiring the reviewing court to
draw on its experience and common sense.” Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009)
(discussing plausibility of claim as a requirement to survive
a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6)).
considering a motion for summary judgment, once the court
“has determined the relevant set of facts and drawn all
inferences in favor of the nonmoving party to the extent
supportable by the record, [the ultimate decision
becomes] purely a question of law.” Scott v.
Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 381 (2007) (emphasis in original).
“When opposing parties tell two different stories, one
of which is blatantly contradicted by the record, so that no
reasonable jury could believe it, a court should not adopt
that version of the facts for purposes of ruling on the
motion for summary judgment.” Id. at 380.
court has taken the chronology of events, which the plaintiff
has not disputed, largely from the defendants' brief in
support of summary judgment. In his “Statement of
Disputed Factual Issues, ” Mr. Hays sets forth five
items he believes created genuine issues of material fact. In
numbers 1, 2, 4, and 5, Hays disputes whether Detective
Granderson actually believes various facts set forth in his
affidavit in support of summary judgment. Hays did not,
however, present any evidence contradicting those statements,
and as set forth above, his unsupported allegations are
insufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact. In
number 3, Mr. Hays challenges whether he actually told
Detective Granderson that he was on parole on the day of his
arrest. However, Granderson somehow discovered that
fact, as he notified the Mississippi Department of
Corrections, which issued a parole warrant on the first
business day after Hays' arrest. Further, as discussed
below, Hays' status as a parolee changes the calculus
from the 48-hour burden-shifting standard of
Gerstein and McLaughlin(which applies to
normal suspects) to the much lower bar of “as promptly
as convenient” after arrest (for parolees suspected of
violating the terms of their conditional release).
Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. 471, 485, 92 S.Ct.
2593, 2600, 33 L.Ed.2d 484 (1972). In addition, Detective
Granderson enjoys qualified immunity from suit because the
law as applied the unusual facts of this case is not
well-established. Thus, Mr. Hays' allegation regarding
the revelation of his status as a parolee (and the timing of
that revelation) is not material to the outcome of this case.
Hays Released from Incarceration
August 11, 2014, the plaintiff, Howards Hays, was released on
parole from the custody of the Mississippi Department of
Corrections for his conviction for burglary.
at 401 Walthall Street, September 25, 2016
September 25, 2016, Greenwood, Mississippi Detective
Granderson was dispatched to 401 Walthall Street in
Greenwood, Mississippi, to investigate a burglary at the
Bella Flora Flower Shop. Among the items stolen were various
merchandise and a 1997 Chevrolet Astro Van. Detective
Granderson dusted for fingerprints and photographed shoe
prints on top of an air conditioning unit. The Greenwood
Police Department conducted the investigation for the crimes
of Burglary of a Vehicle and Commercial Burglary.
See Miss. Code §§ 97-17-43; 97-17-33.
Granderson Finds the Stolen Van at 1:20 a.m., September 26,
approximately 1:20 a.m. on Friday, September 26, 2016,
Detective Granderson noticed a van matching the description
of the stolen 1997 Chevrolet Astro stolen the previous day
from Bella Flora Flower Shop in the parking lot of a business
along Mississippi Highway 7. Detective Granderson called in
the license plate number on the van and confirmed that it was
stolen. Detective Granderson approached the vehicle, at which
point he observed a black male seated in the driver's
side of the van. He asked the man in the driver's seat,
whom he now considered a suspect, what he was doing in the
van, and then placed him in handcuffs to call the Leflore
County Sheriff's Department. A deputy from the Leflore
County Sheriff's Department then transported the man,
identified as Howard Hays, to the Leflore County Jail. At the
time of Mr. Hays' booking, booking records indicate the
Leflore County Sheriff's Department had placed an
investigative hold on him. Thus, Mr. Hays was arrested for
another crime forty-six days after his release on parole.
Admits to the Burglaries at 6:30 p.m. on September 26,
6:30 p.m. Detective Granderson went to the Leflore County
Jail to question Hays. He obtained a signed waiver from Hays,
who waived his rights under Miranda v. Arizona to
decline to answer questions and to speak with an attorney
prior to being interrogated. Hays later confessed to stealing
the van and numerous items from the flower shop. Notably, he
also told Detective Granderson that he was currently on
parole. Detective Granderson informed MDOC that evening on
the belief that the agency would want Hays to be held to
determine whether his parole would be revoked. Detective
Granderson also prepared affidavits and obtained the
signature of a police court clerk on September 26.
Mississippi Department of Corrections Issues a Parolee
Warrant for Hays on September 29, 2014.
Detective Granderson had informed MDOC of Hays's arrest
on Friday night, MDOC responded on September 29, 2014, by
issuing a “Warrant for Arrest of Paroled Prisoner,
” which directed that Hays be arrested, and, thus
formed the basis for his continued detention at the Leflore
County Jail. As a result, on September 29, 2014, Hays was
detained based upon the MDOC's conclusion that he may
have violated his parole. At that point, Detective Granderson
believed that Hays could not be released, whether he obtained
a judicial determination of probable cause for his arrest or
Are Obtained on October 6, 2014, and March 30, 2015
September 29, Detective Granderson believed that MDOC's
warrant and the hold it placed on Hays meant that Hays could
not be released. On October 6, 2014, Carlos Palmer, Greenwood
Municipal Judge, issued a warrant for Hays' arrest. The
basis of the warrant was an affidavit of probable cause
prepared and sworn to the police court clerk on September 26,
2014. Additional warrants issued on March 30, 2015. The
purpose of obtaining those warrants was to ensure that,
following Hays's return from serving a term of
incarceration for the revocation of his parole, he would be
returned to custody to face the charges for which he was
Serves His Parole Revocation from October 6, 2014, Through
April 4, 2015 ...