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Jones v. Casseus

United States District Court, Middle District of Georgia, Albany Division

November 18, 2014

LAREGINALD JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
Officer CASSEUS, et al., Defendants

ORDER

W. LOUIS SANDS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

Plaintiff LAREGINALD JONES, an inmate at the Dougherty County Jail (“DCJ”), filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 lawsuit (Doc. 1).

By Order dated September 22, 2014 (Doc. 7), the Court granted Plaintiff’s request to proceed in forma pauperis and waived the initial partial filing fee. Plaintiff is nevertheless obligated to pay the Court’s $350.00 filing fee, using the installment payment plan described in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b). The account custodian at the DCJ shall cause to be remitted to the Clerk of this Court monthly payments of 20% of the preceding month’s income credited to Plaintiff’s account (to the extent the account balance exceeds $10) until the $350 filing fee has been paid in full. The Clerk of Court is directed to send a copy of this Order to the account custodian at the DCJ.

In its September 22nd Order, the Court also directed Plaintiff to supplement his complaint, which he has done (Doc. 8). The allegations in Plaintiffs original complaint and supplement are addressed below.

I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), a federal court is required to conduct an initial screening of a prisoner complaint “which seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.” Section 1915A(b) requires a federal court to dismiss a prisoner complaint that is: (1) “frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted”; or (2) “seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief”

A claim is frivolous when it appears from the face of the complaint that the factual allegations are “clearly baseless” or that the legal theories are “indisputably meritless.” Carroll v. Gross, 984 F.2d 392, 393 (11th Cir. 1993). A complaint fails to state a claim when it does not include “enough factual matter (taken as true)” to “give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests[.]” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007) (noting that “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, ” and that the complaint “must contain something more . . . than ... a statement of facts that merely creates a suspicion [of] a legally cognizable right of action”) (internal quotations and citations omitted); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (explaining that “threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice”).

In making the above determinations, all factual allegations in the complaint must be viewed as true. Brown v. Johnson, 387 F.3d 1344, 1347 (11th Cir. 2004). Moreover, “[p]ro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by attorneys and will, therefore, be liberally construed.” Tannenbaum v. United States, 148 F.3d 1262, 1263 (11th Cir. 1998).

In order to state a claim for relief under section 1983, a plaintiff must allege that: (1) an act or omission deprived him of a right, privilege, or immunity secured by the Constitution or a statute of the United States; and (2) the act or omission was committed by a person acting under color of state law. Hale v. Tallapoosa County, 50 F.3d 1579, 1581 (11th Cir. 1995). If a litigant cannot satisfy these requirements, or fails to provide factual allegations in support of his claim or claims, then the complaint is subject to dismissal. See Chappell v. Rich, 340 F.3d 1279, 1282-84 (11th Cir. 2003) (affirming the district court’s dismissal of a section 1983 complaint because the plaintiffs factual allegations were insufficient to support the alleged constitutional violation). See also 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b) (dictating that a complaint, or any portion thereof, that does not pass the standard in section 1915A “shall” be dismissed on preliminary review).

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff was paroled from state prison on February 28, 2011. On March 3, 2011, Plaintiff was pulled over while driving a car he had borrowed from a friend. Plaintiff was not wearing a seat belt and did not have a valid driver’s license. According to Plaintiff, Defendant Officers Casseus, Jenkins, and George Camp conducted a warrantless search of the car Plaintiff was driving and found several bags of marijuana. Plaintiff was taken to the Dougherty County Jail, where Defendant Officers Jerry Fulmer & John Doe interviewed him. Following the interview, Plaintiff was placed under arrest and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and violation of his parole.

Plaintiff was arraigned on March 4, 2011. Also on that day, Plaintiff’s friend confessed that the marijuana found in her car belonged solely to her, not to Plaintiff. Defendant Parole Officer Chris Walker recommended revocation of Plaintiff’s parole, notwithstanding that Walker heard Plaintiff’s friend’s confession. Plaintiff’s parole was revoked, apparently in March 2011, and he was returned to prison until March 2012.

On April 18, 2014, the marijuana charge against Plaintiff was dropped.

Plaintiff filed this action against the above named Defendants on August 7, 2014, seeking damages for false arrest and imprisonment, malicious ...


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