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Briley v. United States

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division

September 26, 2016

Jay Bonanza Briley, Plaintiff,
United States of America, Defendant.


          Liam O'Grady United States District Judge

         Jay Bonanza Briley, a federal inmate proceeding pro se, originally filed the instant civil action against United States Park Police Officer Robert Usher in Alexandria Circuit Court. Plaintiffs instant action is the latest in an extensive amount of federal and state litigation that plaintiff commenced after several unsuccessful attempts to obtain relief from his federal convictions entered in this Court. The matter is now before the Court upon defendant's Motion to Dismiss. Plaintiff has responded and filed a Motion to Remand, and defendant has replied. For the reasons explained below, plaintiffs Motion to Remand will be denied, this Court will retain jurisdiction over the instant action, and defendant's Motion to Dismiss will be granted.

         I. Criminal Case Background

         On January 12, 2012, United States Park Police Officers William Brancato and Robert Usher were patrolling the Washington Sailing Marina - a known location for sexual escapades - in an unmarked vehicle. United States v. Briley. 770 F.3d 267. 269 (4th Cir. 2014). Brancato and Usher noticed another vehicle approach and park next to plaintiffs SUV in the parking lot of the marina. Id. A man exited the vehicle and subsequently entered plaintiffs SUV. Id. Plaintiff then drove his SUV to another parking lot within the marina. Id. From a distance, Brancato and Usher determined that plaintiff and his companion were about to engage in a sexual act. Id.

         Brancato and Usher contacted two other uniformed Park Police, Corey Mace and Thomas Twiname, who were patrolling nearby. Id. Twiname approached plaintiffs SUV, knocked on the window, identified himself as a policeman, and told plaintiff to open the door. Id. Plaintiff ultimately opened his door, but repeatedly refused to exit the SUV. Id. When Twiname attempted to physically remove plaintiff from the vehicle, plaintiff locked his legs around the steering column, preventing Twiname from removing him. Id. at 270. Brancato and Usher then arrived and directed plaintiff to stop resisting Twiname. Id. Brancato and Usher began to assist Twiname by attempting to remove plaintiff from his vehicle, and in the course of the scuffle, plaintiff struck Usher in the arms, legs, and lower back, and kicked Brancato twice in the abdomen. Id. The officers ultimately subdued and arrested plaintiff; however, plaintiffs strikes had been sufficiently harmful, causing Usher lower back pain and damaging Brancato's pancreas and necessitating removal of his gallbladder. Id.

         Plaintiff was tried before this Court, and on March 11, 2013, a jury found him guilty of two felony and one misdemeanor counts related to assault on a federal officer and one misdemeanor count related to disorderly conduct - obscene acts. United States v. Brilev, Case No. 1:12cr482 (E.D. Va.) (hereinafter "Crim. Dkt"). This Court did not initially order plaintiff detained pending sentencing; however, on March 20, 2013, this Court granted the United States' motion to revoke plaintiffs release "because [plaintiff] had threatened a member of the prosecution team." Crim. Dkt. No. 72. On October 22, 2013, this Court sentenced plaintiff to a seventy-eight (78) month term of incarceration.

         Plaintiff appealed, and in a published opinion dated October 22, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed his convictions, rejecting plaintiffs assignments of reversible error. Briley. 770 F.3d at 279. The United States Supreme Court thereafter denied plaintiffs petition for a writ of certiorari, thus terminating plaintiffs direct appeal proceedings. Briley v. United States. 135 S.Ct. 1844 (2015).

         On December 19, 2014, plaintiff filed a motion to vacate his conviction and sentence, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, and a motion for a new trial. Crim. Dkt. Nos. 155-56. By Order dated July 22, 2015, this Court denied both motions and declined to issue a certificate of appealability. Crim. Dkt. Nos. 183-84. Plaintiff appealed, and the Fourth Circuit summarily affirmed, holding that there had been no reversible error present in this Court's denial of plaintiff s motion for a new trial, and that plaintiff had not made the necessary showing to establish that this Court's analysis was "debatable or wrong." United States v. Brilev. 631 Fed.Appx. 156, 156 (4th Cir. 2016) (per curiam).

         II. Plaintiffs Civil Filings

         Having failed to secure any relief from his convictions or sentence within his criminal proceedings, plaintiff began seeking monetary and other relief through civil proceedings against several individuals and entities, based upon allegations that his conviction was wrongful and premised on erroneous information.

         In this Court, plaintiff has filed two civil actions:

a. First, on January 11, 2016, plaintiff filed a civil action against the United States Park Police itself, each of the Park Police officers involved in his arrest, and the Special Assistant United States Attorneys who successfully prosecuted him in this Court. Briley v. Brancato, et aL Case No. 1:16cv67 (LO/JFA).
b. Second, on February 1, 2016, plaintiff filed another civil action, with similar allegations, against the attorneys who represented him during his criminal proceedings before this Court. Briley v. Richman, et al Case No. 1:16cvl 04 (LO/TCB). With similar factual recitations proffered in his first civil action, plaintiff claims that he "was falsely arrested indicted, tried, and sentence[d], based on Park Police Officers[] Brancato, Usher, Mace, and Twiname manufactured [sic] charges and their Material Testimonies at the plaintiffs Criminal Trial." Id. at Dkt. No. 1.
c. Clearly unsatisfied by the results obtained in his litigate efforts in this Court, on February 24, 2016, plaintiff filed the instant action against Park Police Officer Robert Usher in the Circuit Court for the City of Alexandria. Plaintiffs complaint[1] in his state court action shared much in common with his federal filings. In contrast to his conviction for, inter alia, assault on a federal officer, plaintiff alleges that Usher "intentionally orchestrated and ensued the brutal attack on plaintiff by manufacturing a false claim that the plaintiff was engaging in an illegal action in the privacy of his vehicle." Dkt. No. 1, Ex. A ("Compl") ¶¶ 4, 7. Plaintiff also alleges that Usher falsely testified that he was injured by plaintiff during the events giving rise to plaintiffs criminal proceedings, and that Usher had no medical evidence of any such injuries. Id. ΒΆ 9. Plaintiff claims that Usher's improper actions led to his wrongful conviction for assault on a federal officer and a significant sentence by this ...

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