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Naselroad v. Mabry

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington

December 19, 2017

DENNIS MABRY, et al., Defendants.


          Danny C. Reeves, United States District Judge

         This matter is pending for consideration of the parties&#3');">39; cross-motions for summary judgment regarding the potential application of Heck v. Humphrey, 12');">12 U.S. 477');">512');">12 U.S. 477 (1994). [Record Nos. 146, 147, 148] For the reasons that follow, the plaintiff&#3');">39;s motion will be granted and the defendants&#3');">39; motions will be denied.


         The facts of this case are discussed at length in the Court&#3');">39;s Memorandum Opinion and Order of April 22, 2016, so only the relevant background will be provided here. Detective Mark Craycraft, a deputy with the Clark County Sheriff&#3');">39;s Department, received information regarding a Winchester resident&#3');">39;s complaint concerning a marijuana growing operation on October 8, 2013');">3. [Record No. 105');">105, p. 6');">p. 6] Craycraft spoke with the complainant, who advised that her daughter&#3');">39;s boyfriend had seen marijuana plants on the Naselroads&#3');">39; property the previous day. [Record No. 108');">108, p. 9] Craycraft contacted other local police officers, including Defendant Kentucky State Police Trooper Dennis Mabry, to visit the Naselroad residence. [Record Nos. 105');">105, p. 9; 107');">107, p. 6');">p. 6]

         The officers traveled to the Naselroad residence in a marked cruiser at around 10:00 a.m. to conduct a “knock-and-talk” and to attempt to obtain consent to search the property. [Record Nos. 104, p. 48; 107');">107 p. 10');">107');">107 p. 10] Detective Craycraft and Deputy Sheriff John Gurley knocked on the door while the other officers remained in the car. [Record Nos. 105');">105, pp. 12');">12-13');">3; 106, 8-10] The plaintiff&#3');">39;s mother answered the knock. As Craycraft and Gurley identified themselves and advised Ms. Naselroad about the citizen complaint, the plaintiff, dressed in camouflage and carrying a gun, walked out the rear door of the entrance. [Record No. 103');">3');">103');">3, pp. 91, 97] Craycraft claims that he saw Naselroad exiting the house and that he yelled, “he&#3');">39;s going out back, ” but Naselroad did not hear the statement. [Record Nos. 105');">105, pp. 15-19; 103');">3');">103');">3, p13');">33');">3');">p. 13');">33');">3-3');">34]

         Craycraft moved toward the left side of the house and entered a “breezeway” located between the house and a “smokehouse or root cellar.” [Record No. 105');">105, pp. 23');">3-27; 103');">3');">103');">3, pp. 105');">105-108');">108] When Craycraft was halfway down the breezeway, Naselroad, who was standing in the backyard, heard Craycraft say, “hey buddy.” [Record No. 103');">3');">103');">3, pp. 111, 113');">3, 117] Without realizing that Craycraft was a police officer and noticing that Craycraft had a holstered gun, Naselroad pulled out his gun and pointed it toward Craycraft. [Record No. 103');">3');">103');">3, pp. 111-12');">12, 13');">32, 147, 267] Naselroad concedes that he was the first to pull his gun and that he may have attempted to place a bullet in the chamber of the gun. [Record No. 103');">3');">103');">3, pp. 229, 23');">31]

         In the meantime, Mabry heard Craycraft yell “[g]un, gun, he&#3');">39;s got a gun.” [100-12');">12, p3');">3');">p. 3');">33');">3] Mabry entered the backyard and yelled “drop the gun” two times. [Record Nos. 100-12');">12, pp. 27-28, 3');">33');">3; 103');">3');">103');">3; p. 13');">32] Naselroad turned to look at Mabry and then looked back at Craycraft. [Record Nos. 103');">3');">103');">3, p. 117-119; 100-12');">12, 3');">3');">p. 3');">36');">3');">3');">p. 3');">36] By the time Naselroad heard Mabry identify himself as a police officer, Mabry shot Naselroad. [Record No. 103');">3');">103');">3, 13');">33');">3');">p. 13');">33');">3]

         Kentucky State Police (“KSP”) Lieutenant Jeremy Hamm[1" name="FN1" id="FN1">1] received a call the morning of October 8, 2013');">3, advising him that there had been a shooting in Clark County involving the KSP. [Record No. 146-2 at p. 9] When Hamm arrived at the Naselroad residence, several officers were present and the plaintiff had already been transported to the hospital. Id. at pp. 11-12');">12. Hamm learned, upon arrival, that he would be the officer in charge of processing the scene and obtaining a search warrant, if necessary. Id. at p. 14. KSP Trooper Dusty Hon had collected Naselroad&#3');">39;s gun, which Hamm took into his possession and placed in his trunk. Id. at pp. 12');">12-13');">3. Lieutenant Dalton had collected Defendant Mabry&#3');">39;s gun, which he later turn over to Hamm, as well. Id. at p. 13');">3.

         Hamm testified, “[o]nce we arrived at the scene and aid was given to Mr. Naselroad . . . we recognized the-there was a need to-to try to obtain a search warrant for the inside of the residenc[e].” Id. at p. 15. Hamm took photographs of the exterior of the home and spoke to Detectives McIntosh, Moore, and Willoughby to obtain information for the search warrant application. Hamm did not speak with Defendants Mabry or Cracraft, but McIntosh, Moore, and Willougby had talked to them before speaking with Hamm. Id. at p. 17.

         After obtaining information to apply for the search warrant, Hamm left the scene and went to the Clark County Attorney&#3');">39;s office. The Clark County Attorney typed the affidavit and search warrant and, after Hamm reviewed it for accuracy, the two presented the warrant application to Clark County District Judge Earl-Ray Neal. The affidavit described the Naselroad residence and reported that Naselroad had been shot after he racked a weapon and drew it on officers who were there to investigate a marijuana complaint. [Record No. 146-3');">3] The affidavit also indicated that Naselroad had advised that there was additional marijuana on the property and that a female at the residence said there were additional guns and weapons located inside. Id.

         Judge Neal issued the warrant at 1:45 p.m. on October 8, 2013');">3. Id. at p. 21. Hamm returned to the Naselroad residence, where he and other officers executed the search warrant. Id. at pp. 21-22. Officers seized numerous items including marijuana and pipes, which were bagged and collected as evidence. Id. at p. 24. The Kentucky State Police subsequently charged Naselroad with two counts of wanton endangerment, cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. A state grand jury indicted him on these charges, adding a third wanton endangerment charge. [Record No. 43');">3] Naselroad was convicted of possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia, but acquitted of the wanton endangerment and marijuana cultivation charges.

         Plaintiff Naselroad filed a § 1983');">3 action against the defendants on October 6, 2014, alleging, inter alia, that Craycraft and Mabry violated his Fourth Amendment rights by unlawfully entering the curtilage of his home and that Mabry used excessive force by shooting him. Naselroad also asserted state-law claims, including assault and battery against Mabry.[2]The defendants moved for summary judgment and the Court granted the motions in favor of all defendants in April 2016. [Record No. 12');">121] Naselroad appealed the grant of summary judgment with respect to his Fourth Amendment claims against Craycraft and Mabry and his state-law claim for battery against Mabry. [Record No. 12');">123');">3] Although the parties did not raise the potential applicability of Heck v. Humphrey, 12');">12 U.S. 477');">512');">12 U.S. 477 (1994), before this Court or on appeal, the Sixth Circuit reversed and remanded, concluding that it was unclear whether the plaintiff&#3');">39;s § 1983');">3 claims relate to his subsequent arrest, potentially creating an issue under Heck. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Heck does not bar the plaintiff&#3');">39;s § 1983');">3 claims.


         In Heck v. Humphrey, 512');">12 U.S. at 486-87, the Supreme Court held that, when a state prisoner seeks damages in a § 1983');">3 suit, the district court must consider whether a judgment in his favor necessarily would imply the invalidity of his conviction or sentence. If it would, the § 1983');">3 complaint must be dismissed unless the plaintiff can demonstrate that the conviction or sentence has already been invalidated. Id. at 487. However, if success in § 1983');">3 action would not ...

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