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Griffin v. Walters

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

August 7, 2017

John R. Griffin, Jr.
v.
Jennifer Walters, Irena Catovic, Kevin Valenti, Mark Hastbacka, and Kent Smith[1]

          John R. Griffin, Jr., pro se Francis Charles Fredericks, Esq. John A. Curran, Esq. Robert J. Rabuck, Esq.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON DOC. NOS. 28, 46, 48

          ANDREA K. JOHNSTONE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before the court, and addressed in this Report and Recommendation ("R&R"), are three motions filed by plaintiff, John R. Griffin, Jr.:

• two motions seeing to join Merrimack County, the Office of the New Hampshire Public Defender ("NHPD"), and Attorney Eleanor Spottswood as new defendants (Doc. Nos. 28, 48) to this action; and
• a motion seeking to charge defendants with a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 241 (Doc. No. 46).

Defendants have not responded to these motions. The motions have been referred to the magistrate judge for preliminary review, pursuant to LR 4.3(d)(1) and 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         Background[2]

         In March 2016, Griffin was paroled to the community from the sentence imposed on his underlying state conviction. While on parole, in May 2016, Griffin mailed a letter ("May 2016 Letter"), addressed to a prosecutor at the Hillsborough County Attorney's Office, regarding a state habeas proceeding he was litigating. The prosecutor's supervisor, Attorney Kent Smith, considered the May 2016 Letter to be threatening, and referred the matter to the FBI for investigation.

         While on parole, Griffin had lived at a residence called, "Helping Hands, " until he was evicted on May 10, 2016. New Hampshire Department of Corrections ("DOC") parole officers, unaware of the eviction, unsuccessfully attempted to find Griffin at Helping Hands on May 19, 2016. The Adult Parole Board ("APB") issued a warrant for Griffin's arrest for a parole violation on May 27, 2016, and parole officers arrested Griffin pursuant to that warrant.

         Griffin appeared personally and through appointed counsel at a June 21, 2016 parole revocation hearing. Parole Officer Kevin Valenti also appeared at that hearing. The APB revoked Griffin's parole upon finding that he had failed to be "of good behavior, " N.H. Admin. R. Par 401.02(b)(7), and that he had not obtained his parole officer's permission before changing his residence, id. 401.20(b)(3).

         Griffin filed this action to challenge, as retaliatory and invalid, his parole revocation, and the investigations and arrest underlying the revocation, relating to the May 2016 Letter. This court conducted a preliminary review of Griffin's complaint and allowed a First Amendment retaliation claim for damages to proceed in this action, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against multiple defendants, as follows:

Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Kent Smith; DOC Parole Officers Jennifer Walters, Irena Catovic, and Kevin Valenti; and FBI Agent Mark Hastbacka initiated investigations, an arrest, and/or parole revocation proceedings against Griffin, in retaliation for Griffin's writing and mailing the May 2016 Letter, which was conduct protected by the First Amendment.

See Jan. 25, 2017 R&R (Doc. No. 19) ("January 2 5 R&R"), approved by Feb. 24, 2017 Order (Doc. No. 32) ("February 24 Order"). ...


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