United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division
GERMAINE D. LAKE-CRUNK, TDCJ-CID #2148452 Plaintiff,
CITY OF HOUSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT, et al, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND OPINION
VANESSA D. GILMORE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
D. Lake-Crunk, an inmate of the Texas Department of Criminal
Justice -Correctional Institutions Division, sued in April
2018, alleging civil rights violations resulting from a false
arrest. Lake-Crunk, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis,
sues the City of Houston Police Department; B.M. Bogorad, HPD
Police Officer; L.R. demons, HPD Internal Affairs Detective,
Sergeant; David Alofoje, Texas Parole Department Supervisor;
Robert Harkrider, Texas Parole Department Division Officer;
Enigboken Kayode, Texas Parole Department Officer; Kim Ogg,
Harris County District Attorney; John Doe, Harris County
Assistant District Attorney; and Jerome Petty, a/k/a Benjamin
threshold issue is whether Lake-Crunk's claims should be
dismissed as frivolous.
asserts that Jerome Petty filed a false complaint with HPD
Officer Bogorad, claiming that Lake-Crunk had assaulted him.
Lake-Crunk states that on January 26, 2015, he was released
on parole, and his parole Officer was Enigboken Kayode.
Lake-Crunk explains that he began sharing an apartment with
Petty, a former TDCJ inmate. Lake-Crunk learned that Petty
was in the latter stages of HIV (AIDS) and other sexually
transmitted diseases. Lake-Crunk also witnessed Petty having
sexual relations with a number of Houston prostitutes in the
apartment he shared with Petty.
states that he began advising the numerous prostitutes that
Petty had HIV and other communicable diseases.
Lake-Crunk's cousin also reported Petty's condition
to the Houston Health Department. Lake-Crunk asserts that on
April 5, 2016, Petty verbally attacked Lake-Crunk for
informing all the area prostitutes of Petty's HIV status.
On April 11, 2016, Lake-Crunk met with his parole officer,
Kayode. Lake-Crunk advised Kayode that Petty was telling
everyone that he had filed false charges against Lake-Crunk
because Lake-Crunk had divulged Petty's HIV status.
Lake-Crunk also informed Kayode that he had seen Kayode
having sexual relations with various prostitutes, one of whom
was HIV positive. He also told Kayode that he knew that
Kayode had smoked crack with Petty and a prostitute. On April
25, 2016, Kayode called Lake-Crunk and asked for the name of
asserts that Petty falsely claimed that Lake-Crunk had
physically assaulted him by striking him with a gun causing
bodily injury. Lake-Crunk complains that Defendants Alofoje,
Harkrider, and Kayode issued a blue warrant. Defendant
Bogorad generated the arrest warrant, and Defendants Ogg and
John Doe sought and obtained an indictment. Lake-Crunk states
that on July 31, 2017, the alleged assault charges were
dismissed due to the lack of evidence and a subsequent arrest
of the original complainant, Petty.
research reveals that Lake-Crunk was convicted of possession
of a controlled substance on July 31, 2017, in the 208th
Judicial District Court of Harris County, Texas. (Cause
Number 1511888). Also on July 31, 2017, the prosecutor moved
to dismiss the aggravated assault charges in Cause Number
1506901 because Lake-Crunk had been convicted of another
offense in Cause Number 1511888.
seeks a declaratory judgment that the defendants violated his
civil rights. He moves for an injunction compelling the
defendants to reinstate his parole in Cause Number 1324044,
his 2011 conviction for aggravated assault. He further seeks
compensatory damages of $1, 000, 000.00 and punitive damages
of $500, 000.00 against each defendant.
federal court has the authority to dismiss an action in which
the plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis before
service if the court determines that the action is frivolous
or malicious. 28 U.S.C. § l9l5(e)(2)(B)(i). A complaint
is frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis in law or fact.
See Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992);
Richardson v. Spurlock, 260 F.3d 495, 498 (5th Cir.
2001) (citing Siglar v. Hightower, 112 F.3d 191, 193
(5th Cir. 1997)). "A complaint lacks an arguable basis
in law if it is based on an indisputably meritless legal
theory, such as if the complaint alleges the violation of a
legal interest which clearly does not exist." Davis
v. Scott, 157 F.3d 1003, 1005 (5th Cir. 1998) (quoting
McCormick v. Stalder, 105 F.3d 1059, 1061 (5th Cir.
construed, Lake-Crunk complains that his arrest was illegal
because it was not based on probable cause. On-line records
show that on April 19, 2016, a grand jury of the 177th
Judicial District Court of Harris County, Texas indicted
Lake-Crunk for aggravated assault on Jerome Petty. "An
arrest is unlawful unless it is supported by probable
cause." Flores v. City of Palacios, 381 F.3d
391, 402 (5th Cir. 2004). "Probable cause exists when
the totality of facts and circumstances within a police
officer's knowledge at the moment of arrest are
sufficient for a reasonable person to conclude that the
suspect had committed or was committing an offense."
Ramirez v. Martinez, 716 F.3d 369, 375 (5th Cir.
probable cause inquiry focuses on the validity of the arrest,
not the validity of each individual charge made during the
course of the arrest. See Price v. Roark, 256 F.3d
364, 369 (5th Cir. 2001); Wells v. Bonner, 45 F.3d
90, 95 (5th Cir. 1995). A grand jury indictment is sufficient
to establish probable cause. See Gerstein v. Pugh,420 U.S. 103, 117 n. 19 (1975). When the facts supporting an
arrest "are placed before an independent intermediary
such as a magistrate or grand jury, the intermediary's
decision breaks the chain of causation for false arrest,
insulating the initiating party." Cuadra v. Hous.
Indep. Sch. Dist.,626 F.3d 808, 813 (5th Cir. 2010).
The chain of causation remains intact, however, if "it
can be shown that the deliberations of that intermediary were
in some way tainted by the actions of the defendant."
Hand v. Gary,838 F.2d 1420, 1428 (5th Cir. 1988).
In other words, "the chain of causation is broken only
where all the ...