United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Brunswick Division
ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
who is currently housed at Hays State Prison in Trion,
Georgia, filed a Complaint, as amended, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 contesting certain events which allegedly
occurred in Brunswick, Georgia. (Docs. 1, 4.) Plaintiff also
filed Motions for Leave to Proceed in Forma
Pauperis. (Docs. 2, 5.) For the reasons set forth below,
the Court DENIES Plaintiff's Motions.
For these same reasons, I RECOMMEND the
Court DISMISS Plaintiff's Complaint
based on his failure to state a claim,
DIRECT the Clerk of Court to
CLOSE this case and enter the appropriate
judgment of dismissal, and DENY Plaintiff
in forma pauperis status on appeal.
Amended Complaint, Plaintiff contends Defendant Cannon, a
state probation officer, issued a “sworn to and
subscribed” warrant for his arrest, which she knew or
should have known contained false statements. (Doc. 4, p. 5.)
In addition, Plaintiff contends Defendant Kelley, a Superior
Court judge, “authorized” this warrant. As a
result of this warrant, Plaintiff maintains he was unlawfully
arrested. (Id.) Plaintiff seeks monetary damages in
excess of $4, 500.00 and declaratory relief. (Id. at
seeks to bring this action in forma pauperis. Under
28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), the Court may authorize the
filing of a civil lawsuit without the prepayment of fees if
the plaintiff submits an affidavit that includes a statement
of all of his assets, shows an inability to pay the filing
fee, and also includes a statement of the nature of the
action which shows that he is entitled to redress. Even if
the plaintiff proves indigence, the Court must dismiss the
action if it is frivolous or malicious, or fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(ii). Additionally, pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court must review a complaint in
which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity.
Upon such screening, the Court must dismiss a complaint, or
any portion thereof, that is frivolous, malicious, or fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or which
seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
Court looks to the instructions for pleading contained in the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure when reviewing a Complaint
on an application to proceed in forma pauperis.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8 (“A pleading that states
a claim for relief must contain [among other things] . . . a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief.”); Fed.R.Civ.P. 10
(requiring that claims be set forth in numbered paragraphs,
each limited to a single set of circumstances). Further, a
claim is frivolous under Section 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) “if
it is ‘without arguable merit either in law or
fact.'” Napier v. Preslicka, 314 F.3d 528,
531 (11th Cir. 2002) (quoting Bilal v. Driver, 251
F.3d 1346, 1349 (11th Cir. 2001)).
a complaint fails to state a claim under Section
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the same standard applicable
to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). Thompson v. Rundle, 393 F. App'x 675,
678 (11th Cir. 2010). Under that standard, this Court must
determine whether the complaint contains “sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). A plaintiff must assert “more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not” suffice. Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555. Section 1915 also “accords judges not
only the authority to dismiss a claim based on an
indisputably meritless legal theory, but also the unusual
power to pierce the veil of the complaint's factual
allegations and dismiss those claims whose factual
contentions are clearly baseless.” Bilal, 251
F.3d at 1349 (quoting Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 327 (1989)).
analysis, the Court will abide by the long-standing principle
that the pleadings of unrepresented parties are held to a
less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys and,
therefore, must be liberally construed. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); Boxer X v.
Harris, 437 F.3d 1107, 1110 (11th Cir. 2006)
(“Pro se pleadings are held to a less
stringent standard than pleadings drafted by
attorneys[.]”) (quoting Hughes v. Lott, 350
F.3d 1157, 1160 (11th Cir. 2003)). However, Plaintiff's
unrepresented status will not excuse mistakes regarding
procedural rules. McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S.
106, 113 (1993) (“We have never suggested that
procedural rules in ordinary civil litigation should be
interpreted so as to excuse mistakes by those who proceed
immunity bars Plaintiff's claims against Defendant
Kelley. Congress did not abrogate the doctrine of judicial
immunity when it enacted Section 1983. Judicial immunity is
an absolute immunity, and it applies even when a judge acts
maliciously. Bolin v. Story, 225 F.3d 1234, 1239
(11th Cir. 2000) (“Judges are entitled to absolute
judicial immunity from damages for those acts taken while
they are acting in their judicial capacity unless they acted
in the clear absence of all jurisdiction.”); Stump
v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 356 (1978) (holding judicial
immunity doctrine applies in Section 1983 actions). Absolute
immunity not only protects against liability but also against
a case going to trial at all. Harris v. Deveaux, 780
F.2d 911, 914 (11th Cir. 1986) (citing Mitchell v.
Forsyth, 472 U.S. 511, 526 (1985)). To determine whether
a judge is entitled to absolute immunity from money damages
under Section 1983, a two-part test was established in
Stump: 1) whether the judge dealt with the plaintiff
in a judicial capacity; and 2) whether the judge acted in the
“clear absence of all jurisdiction.” Id.
(quoting Stump, 435 U.S. at 357). The second prong
of this test is “only satisfied if a judge completely
lacks subject matter jurisdiction.” Id. at
clearly complains about the actions of Defendant Kelley in
his capacity as a judicial official in a case pending before
him in which Plaintiff was a named party. Nevertheless,
Plaintiff fails to make a plausible claim that Defendant
Kelley acted in the clear absence of jurisdiction.
Consequently, the Court should DISMISS
Plaintiff's Section 1983 claims against Defendant Kelley
based on judicial immunity principles.
Dismissal Pursuant to Heck v. Humphrey and the