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Bratcher v. Mancuso

United States District Court, D. Delaware

October 15, 2019

DON MAURICE BRATCHER, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN MANCUSO, et al., Defendants.

          Don Maurice Bratcher, New Castle County, Delaware. Pro Se Plaintiff.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ANDREWS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Don Maurice Bratcher proceeds pro se and has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (D.I. 5). He commenced this action on March 6, 2019. (D.I. 2). On April 4, 2019, Defendants Christina M. Kontis and Jenna Milecki filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). (D.I. 6). The Court proceeds to review and screen the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff alleges that on February 1, 2018, he was stabbed in the throat and locked out of his apartment by Tangela Raymond. (D.I. 2 at 4). The police were called, and Plaintiff was taken to the Christiana Hospital where he underwent surgery. (Id.). At some point, Plaintiff was transferred from the intensive care unit and "apparently [he] wanted to leave the hospital against medical advice." (Id. at 3).

         Plaintiff was taken to the police station and questioned by Defendant New Castle County Police Department Detective John Mancuso. (Id. at 5). He was arrested on February 10, 2018, charged with fifteen felonies, given a cash bail, and taken to the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution in Wilmington, Delaware. (D.I. 2 at 5, D.I. 7 at 7). At the March 6, 2018 preliminary hearing, Plaintiffs attorney questioned Raymond's credibility. (D.I. 2 at 5, D.I. 7 at 7). Plaintiff was bound over for the Superior Court, "mostly from Mancuso's testimony." (D.I. 2 at 5). Defendant Delaware Deputy Attorney General Christina M. Kontis represented the State at the hearing. (Id.).

         Plaintiff was indicted on April 9, 2018 and charged with fifteen counts including rape first degree while displaying a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, rape fourth degree, unlawful sexual contact third degree, assault second degree, and possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony. (D.I. 2 at 5, D.I. 7 at 7). Two days later, on April 11, 2018, a DNA laboratory report was completed which indicated that the alleged victim's DNA was found on Plaintiff's penis, but there was no presence of sperm or semen. (D.I. 2 at 5; D.I. 10 at 6-8). Plaintiff was arraigned on April 24, 2018, and committed to the Delaware Department of Correction. (D.I. 7 at 7-8).

         Around July or August there was a prosecutor change, apparently to Defendant Deputy Attorney General Jenna Milecki. (D.I. 2 at 5). Plaintiffs attorney filed a motion to suppress and a motion in limine. (D.I. 7 at 10-11). On October 12, 2018, the Court held a suppression hearing. (Id. at 11). On the same date, a plea offer was extended to Plaintiff. (Id.). Plaintiff alleges that it was clear to his attorney that a crime never occurred, that the presiding judge made Plaintiff aware that he faced a long sentence if he was found guilty at trial, and that the Court attempted to scare Plaintiff into pleading to a crime that never occurred. (D.I. 2 at 6). Plaintiff rejected the offer. (D.I. 2 at 6; D.I. 7 at 11).

         On October 15, 2018, the Court denied the motion to suppress and granted in part the motion in limine and reserved ruling in part until trial. (D.I. 7 at 11-12). The Court determined that evidence of the alleged victim's character for violence, honesty, and drug addiction could be admitted through appropriate witnesses or evidence. (Id. at 11). The parties continued with trial preparation and the Court granted the State's motion to continue the trial to November 7, 2018. (Id. at 12-13). On October 26, 2018, the Attorney General filed a nolle prosequi on all charges and the case was closed. (Id. at 13).

         Plaintiff alleges that Mancuso, "an inexperienced major crimes detective, failed to investigate [the alleged victim, and], "knowing that [Plaintiff] left the hospital against medical advice, Mancuso used the senseless statements that [Plaintiff] made at the police [station] again [him]." (D.I. 2 at 6). Plaintiff alleges that Kontis authorized the charges when the DNA report proved that the crime never occurred. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that Milecki kept him incarcerated "to precipitate a plea agreement." (Id.).

         Plaintiff alleges his injuries include loss of liberty due to his incarceration, defamation, and severe emotional distress. (Id. at 7). He alleges that he was terminated from his job, evicted from his apartment, and his vehicle was repossessed. (Id.) He seeks compensatory damages and expungement of fifteen felony charges and two misdemeanor charges. (Id.).

         Kontis and Milecki move to dismiss on the grounds that the claims against them are barred by prosecutorial immunity. (D.I. 6, 7). Plaintiff responds that Defendants conspired to keep Plaintiff in jail, knowing there was a premature indictment, and did so to obtain a favorable result for the state without regard to guilt or innocence.[1]

         LEGAL STANDARDS

         A federal court may properly dismiss an action sua sponte under the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) if "the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief." Ball v. Famiglio, 726 F.3d 448, 452 (3d Cir. 2013); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) (in forma paupehs actions). The Court must accept all factual allegations in a complaint as true and ...


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