United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northeastern Division
K. KALLON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Turner filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action alleging that
Terry Lucas and Sabin Troncone, officers with the Huntsville
Police Department, lacked probable cause or consent to search
his vehicle on April 4, 2017, and therefore violated his
Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and
seizure. Doc. 7 at 3. The magistrate judge filed a report
recommending this action be stayed pending the outcome of
Turner's state court criminal proceedings in State of
Alabama v. Clayton Allen Turner, CC-2017-3929. Doc. 29.
The parties were afforded 14 days to file objections.
Id. Turner filed a motion for discovery, doc. 30,
the same day as the magistrate judge's report, and the
Defendants timely objected to the report and recommendation,
Procedural History Post-Dating the Time Allotted for
Objections to the Report and Recommendation
to the magistrate judge's report, Turner pleaded guilty
to Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Circuit Court
of Madison County, Alabama, receiving a sentence of time
served. See www.alacourt.com, State of Alabama
v. Clayton Allen Turner, CC-2017-3929, doc.
Pursuant to the plea agreement, Turner's remaining
charges were nolle prossed. Id. In light of
Turner's plea, the Defendants filed a supplement to their
special report and motion for summary judgment notifying the
court of the plea agreement and arguing Turner's
conviction barred the § 1983 claims from proceeding
further under Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994).
filed a reply and attached his pro se Motion to
Withdraw Plea of Guilty on grounds of ineffective assistance
of trial counsel. Doc. 33 at 4-9. Subsequently, however,
Turner, through newly appointed counsel, filed a
“Withdraw[al] of Previously Requested Plea Withdrawal,
” doc. 88, rendering his “Motion to Withdraw Plea
of Guilty” moot, id.; doc. 90. Turner has
launched no further direct or collateral attacks on his
conviction. In other words, his guilty plea in Madison County
Summary Judgment Facts
one evening, Turner gave a friend a ride to the Hunter's
Ridge Apartment Complex in Huntsville, Alabama, and parked on
the road in front of his friend's building. Doc. 7 at 5;
Troncone bodycam at 23:02:42. Troncone, “a member of
the Huntsville Police Department Anti-Crime Team which
focuses on high crimes areas, ” was patrolling the
complex and noticed Turner's vehicle “parked in the
roadway in a no parking zone.” Doc. 7 at 5; Doc. 22-1
at 2-3. Troncone saw “a black male” exit the
vehicle as he “initially drove past” and turned
his patrol car around. Doc. 22-1 at 3; Troncone bodycam at
23:00:48. As he stood on the passenger side of his car,
Turner saw Troncone drive past and then went and sat
“down on the front step” in front of his
friend's apartment building, just enjoying the evening.
Doc. 7 at 4; Troncone bodycam at 28:58:00.
approached Turner and told him that he could not park in the
road. Troncone bodycam at 22:58:01. Troncone proceeded to
procure information regarding Turner's identification,
vehicle registration, and matters related to the parked car.
Id. at 22:58:01-59:38. Turner stated his friend had
not informed him of the no-parking zone and used his
cellphone to call his friend to come to the car, stating he
did not have the keys to the car. Id. Sergeant Lucas
then arrived, Troncone briefly described the situation to
Lucas, and then told Turner that he would have his car towed
if Turner did not give him the keys. Id. at
Lucas walked to the driver's side of Turner's car,
Troncone asked if Turner's friend was bringing the keys.
Id. at 23:00:16-22. Turner replied that the
“keys were in the car.” Id. at 23:00:22.
When Lucas asked if the car was locked and opened the
driver's door slightly, prompting Turner to hold his
hands up, saying “hold on, ” and asking what
Lucas was searching for since nothing was in the car. Lucas
bodycam at 23:00:16-30; Troncone bodycam 23:00:31. Lucas
replied he was not searching the car and only checking to see
if keys were in it, and Turner said okay. Lucas bodycam at
23:00:33. Lucas testifies that when he opened the door, he
saw “a plastic baggie of what appeared to be crack
cocaine in open view in a compartment in the driver's
side door, ” doc. 22-2 at 3, although Turner attests
this was factually impossible due to the car's design.
bodycam video, Lucas opened the car door and shined his
flashlight on some keys sitting in the driver's seat.
Lucas bodycam at 23:00:45-59. He picked up the keys, looked
at them, and returned them to the seat. Id. He also
looked in an open area of the console and pulled out a key
fob. Id. Lucas attests without dispute that the key
fob was the “one set of keys” he found for the
car. Doc. 22-2 at 4.
Lucas looked in the car, Turner complained about the search.
Lucas bodycam at 23:00:59. Lucas showed Turner the key fob he
had located, repeated he was not searching, and stated in a
mildly irritated tone that he would just have the car
impounded because it was parked illegally. Id. at
23:00:59-23:01:18. As Lucas walked back toward him, Turner
spontaneously stated he was on parole after serving a 36 year
sentence for burglary and was not trying to do anything.
Id. at 23:01:17-37. Lucas politely informed Turner
that the apartment complex had designated parking spaces and
that it was illegal to park in the roadway. Id. at
23:01:41. Lucas asked Turner if there was illegal contraband
in the car and Turner said no. Id. at 23:01:59.
Lucas then asked if he could search the car and Turner said
“No, but what you want to search it for. I don't
care if you want to look in it. I don't care. . .but
search me for what?” Id. at 23:02:03-17. Lucas
responded, “Cos I asked.” Id.
expressed frustration with his friend, and had a discussion
with Lucas regarding his release from prison, current job,
and unsupervised parole. Id. at 23:02:20-59. Lucas
stated that he had only looked in the car for the keys.
Id. at 23:02:57 to 23:03:17. Turner stated that he
was not trying to be an “ass, ” to which Lucas
responded that he was being one “a little bit, ”
but that was “alright” and Turner was not as bad
as others he had encountered before. Id. at
23:03:18-23. The two then talked about the prison facilities
where Turner had served his sentence and Turner commented on
his pending divorce. Id. at 23:03:24-44.
admitted he had drove and called his friend to come outside.
Id. at 23:03:45-51. Lucas asked Turner a second time
if he could search the car, to which Turner shrugged and
said, “you can man.” Id. at 23:04:33-35.
Lucas walked back to the car, found cocaine in the bag in the
driver's seat door compartment, and placed Turner under
arrest. Id. at 23:04:49-57. Turner spontaneously
admitted to possession of the cocaine. Id. at
23:05:12. Lucas told Turner he had seen it earlier but was
waiting for Turner to tell the truth. Id. at
further search of the vehicle produced a pistol from the
center console. Id. at 23:06:00. Turner initially
stated the weapon belonged to his friend, id. at
23:06:16-18, but when his friend appeared, Turner admitted to
Troncone that the gun belonged to him. Troncone bodycam at
23:16:17. He also told Troncone that his friend would never
claim or admit the gun really belonged to the friend.
Id. at 23:16:31. Troncone transported Turner to the
Huntsville City Jail. Id. at 23:17-23:40. During
this time, Turner never complained about the tightness of his
Turner's Motion for Leave to Conduct ...