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Date: 05-01-2023

Case Style:

Raheem C. Sessoms v. The County of Suffolk, et al.

Case Number: 20-cv-509

Judge: Allyne R. Ross

Court: United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Nassau County)

Plaintiff's Attorney:

Click Here For The Best Central Islip Civil Rights Lawyer Directory

Defendant's Attorney: Stacy A. Skorupa

Description: Central Islip, New York civil rights lawyer represented Plaintiff who sued Defendants claiming that they violated his constitutional rights.

On the evening of May 27, 2017, plaintiff entered Vin's Ultimate Hair Care in Central Islip, New York. Defs.' Rule 56.1 Statement in Supp. Mot. Summ. J. ¶¶ 1-2 (“Defs.' 56.1”), ECF No. 49-2. While the barber, Vincent Carr, was giving Sessoms a haircut, two individuals came to the door. Id. ¶ 5. According to Carr's statement to the Suffolk County Police Department, these two individuals told him that Sessoms was their cousin and Carr let them into the store. Id. ¶ 6; Decl. of Stacy Skorupa in Supp. Mot. Summ. J. (“Skorupa Decl.”), Ex. A (“Carr Statement”) 1, ECF No. 49-4; see also Pl.'s Rule 56.1 Statement in Opp'n Mot. Summ. J. ¶ 6 (“Pl.'s 56.1”), ECF No. 49-17 (disputing the admissibility of Carr's statement but agreeing he told police this information). The two individuals then pulled out pistols, pointed them at Carr, ordered him to the ground, hit him in the back of the head with one of the guns, and robbed him. Defs.' 56.1 ¶¶ 6-7. Carr told police that Sessoms continued to sit in the chair while the robbery occurred and that Sessoms was not robbed. Id. ¶ 8; Carr Statement 1.

Detective Sergeant John Diffley and Detective Steven Ziegler responded to the scene of the robbery, joining uniformed officers already on the scene. Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 10. The police stopped another man, Parish Tomoney, and Carr identified him as one of the two robbers, although the parties dispute which police officer took Tomoney into custody, and when. Id. ¶ 11; Pl.'s 56.1 ¶ 11 (noting that Diffley did not witness the arrest and Ziegler did not interact with Tomoney until they returned to the police precinct). Tomoney was apprehended in Sessoms's car with proceeds of the robbery.[2] Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 12. Tomoney confessed to police and was charged with Robbery in the First Degree. See Skorupa Decl., Ex. C, ECF No. 49-6.

Detective Ziegler interviewed Carr at the scene and later at the police precinct. Defs.' 56.1 ¶¶ 15, 21. Plaintiff initially told officers that because he was on parole, he was not allowed to speak with police without permission. Id. ¶ 25. Once an officer spoke with the officer handling Sessoms's parole, Sessoms voluntarily accompanied police to the precinct to make a statement. See Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 27; Pl.'s 56.1 ¶ 27. Upon returning to the precinct, Detective Ziegler requested Detective Barba's assistance with the investigation, including interviewing Sessoms. Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 31. During the interview, Sessoms told Detective Barba that he had told officers that his phone had been taken in the robbery. Id. ¶ 35. At the conclusion of the interview, Detective Barba arrested Sessoms and subsequently swore a felony complaint against Sessoms for Robbery in the First Degree. Id. ¶ 33; Sessoms Felony Compl. In Tomoney's confession dated May 28, 2017, Tomoney stated that after the robbery, he “ran back to the car [he] came in,” but refused to explicitly name any co-conspirator. See Tomoney Statement 1-2.

The criminal case against Mr. Sessoms was dismissed on January 26, 2018. See Am. Compl. ¶ 21, ECF No. 10. Plaintiff asserts claims for false arrest, abuse of process, and malicious prosecution against Detective Barba pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and a municipal liability claim against Suffolk County under the same statute. See generally id.

Outcome: Summary judgment in favor of all Defendants.

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