Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Spencer v. Dookhan

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

June 27, 2017

BARRY SPENCER Plaintiff,
v.
ANNIE DOOKHAN, et al., Defendants. BARRY SPENCER Plaintiff,
v.
SONYA FARAK, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          ALLISON D. BURROUGHS DISTRICT JUDGE

         In these civil rights actions, Plaintiff Barry Spencer alleges violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 12, § 11I.[1] Spencer seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as well as costs, including reasonable attorneys' fees. For the reasons stated herein, the Court orders as follows: (1) Defendant Walsh's motions to dismiss, Spencer II, ECF No. 9 and Spencer III, ECF No. 7, are GRANTED; (2) Spencer's motion to certify class action, Spencer II, ECF No. 11, is DENIED AS MOOT; (3) Spencer's motions to appoint class counsel, Spencer II, ECF Nos. 15, 29 and Spencer III, ECF No. 9, are DENIED AS MOOT; (4) Spencer's motions to amend the complaints, Spencer II, ECF No. 14 and Spencer III, ECF No. 10, are DENIED AS MOOT; (5) the motions to intervene, Spencer II, ECF Nos. 7, 8, 12, and 28, are DENIED AS MOOT.

         I. BACKGROUND

         At the motion to dismiss stage, the Court accepts as true all well-pleaded facts, analyzes those facts in the light most hospitable to the plaintiff's theory, and draws all reasonable inferences from those facts in favor of the plaintiff. United States ex rel. Hutcheson v. Blackstone Med., Inc., 647 F.3d 377, 383 (1st Cir. 2011).

         A. Spencer's 2003 Arrest and Subsequent Conviction

         The following facts are taken from the complaint filed in Spencer III, ECF No. 6 at 7-41 (hereinafter, “Compl.”). On December 10, 2003, Spencer was arrested on charges of narcotics distribution, and on January 21, 2004, he was indicted in the Suffolk County Superior Court, case number SUCR2004-10017, for distribution of a Class B controlled substance. Compl. ¶¶ 24-29, 44; Spencer III, ECF No. 8-1 at 6.[2] The narcotics samples obtained during Spencer's arrest were sent to the Hinton Laboratory, where they were assigned to Sonya Farak and an unknown chemist for testing. Id. ¶ 33, 41. Spencer alleges that Farak and Annie Dookhan tampered with the samples and engaged in misconduct that deprived him of his constitutional, civil, and other rights. Id. ¶ 43.

         The case proceeded to trial on July 17, 2006, Spencer III, Compl. ¶ 53, and the jury returned its verdict on July 21, 2006, finding Spencer guilty of the lesser included charge of possession of a Class B substance. Id. at ¶ 56. He was sentenced to a term of one year. Id. The Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed Spencer's conviction on May 19, 2010, Commonwealth v. Spencer, 926 N.E.2d 230 (Mass. App. Ct. 2010), and the Supreme Judicial Court denied his petition for further appellate review on September 15, 2010, Commonwealth v. Spencer, 934 N.E.2d 825 (Mass. 2010). Spencer III, Compl. ¶ 57.

         On November 15, 2006, while his appeal was pending, Spencer filed a civil case in Suffolk County Superior Court alleging various constitutional violations related to his 2003 arrest. Spencer III, ECF No. 8-2. On August 26, 2008, the Superior Court granted summary judgment to the defendants. Spencer III, ECF No. 8-3.

         On January 19, 2013, Farak was indicted on various offenses related to her work at the Hinton Laboratory. Spencer III, Compl. ¶ 61. On June 29, 2013, Spencer filed a motion for new trial claiming that his appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to raise a claim under Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, 557 U.S. 305 (2009), which held that the Confrontation Clause of the Constitution requires drug analysts to testify in person at trial, rather than submitting an affidavit. Id. ¶ 58; Spencer III, ECF No. 8-1 at 16. The trial court denied the motion, but the decision was reversed by the Massachusetts Appeals Court on December 14, 2015. Spencer III, Compl. ¶ 58; Commonwealth v. Spencer, 42 N.E.3d 210 (Mass. App. Ct. 2015). Spencer is currently awaiting retrial on this case. See Spencer III, ECF No. 8-1.

         In June 2013, just prior to the filing of Spencer's motion for new trial, Spencer filed new civil cases with identical complaints in the Suffolk County Superior Court and the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts alleging various constitutional violations related to his 2003 arrest, as well as subsequent arrests in 2006, 2010, and 2013. Spencer I, ECF No. 1; Spencer III, ECF No. 8-4. Spencer, inter alia, alleged that the Boston Police Department, Hinton Laboratory, Suffolk County District Attorney, and United States Attorney's Office negligently failed to train and supervise their employees. Spencer I, ECF No. 1; Spencer III, ECF No. 8-4. The Superior Court case was dismissed on August 21, 2015, Spencer III, ECF No. 8-5, and Judge Casper of the District of Massachusetts dismissed the federal case on December 5, 2015, Spencer I, ECF No. 30.

         Thereafter, Spencer filed the instant action in the Suffolk County Superior Court on September 13, 2016. Spencer III, Compl. On October 18, 2016, Defendant Martin Walsh, the Mayor of Boston, removed Spencer's action to this Court. Spencer III, ECF No. 6 at 71.

         Currently pending before this Court in Spencer III are Walsh's motion to dismiss, ECF No. 7, and Spencer's motion to amend the complaint, Spencer III, ECF No. 10.

         B. Spencer's 2006 Arrest and Subsequent Conviction

         The following facts are taken from the complaint filed in Spencer II, ECF No. 6 at 7-46 (hereinafter, “Compl.”). On May 26, 2006, Spencer was arrested in relation to various drug offenses. Spencer II, Compl. ¶ 29. On July 11, 2006, Dookhan tested samples of the narcotics alleged to have been distributed by Spencer. Id. ¶¶ 47-51. On August 7, 2006, Spencer was indicted in the Suffolk County Superior Court, case number SUCR2006-10731. Id. ¶¶ 52-53; Spencer II, ECF No. 10-1 at 7. The case proceeded to trial on April 17, 2007, Spencer II, Compl. ¶ 58, and on April 19, 2007, Spencer was convicted of three counts of distribution of a Class B controlled substance (Counts 1, 3, and 5). Spencer II, ECF No. 10-1 at 12. Each of the distribution counts was accompanied by an additional count of violating the Controlled Substances Act while in, on, or near school property (Counts 2, 4, and 6). Id. Spencer was sentenced to three concurrent terms of five years and one day on Counts 1, 3, and 5, and three concurrent terms of two-and-a-half years on Counts 2, 4, and 6, with Counts 2, 4, and 6 to run consecutive to Counts 1, 3, and 5. Id. at 13.

         On June 11, 2010, Spencer filed an unopposed motion for new trial, [3] which was granted on August 17, 2010. Spencer II, Compl. ¶ 59; Spencer II, ECF No. 10-1 at 16. On December 17, 2012, Dookhan was indicted on various offenses related to her work at the Hinton Laboratory. Spencer II, Compl. ¶ 64.

         As discussed above, in June 2013, Spencer filed civil cases with identical complaints in the Suffolk County Superior Court and the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts alleging various constitutional violations related to his 2006 arrest, as well as his ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.