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Calhoun v. Lockette

United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Albany Division

March 7, 2018

APRIL D CALHOUN, Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIE E LOCKETTE, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          LESLIE J. ABRAMS, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.

         Before the Court are Defendants' Motions for Judgment on the Pleadings, Docs. 3 & 4. For the reasons stated below, the Motions are GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         This action was originally filed against Defendants in their official and individual capacities in the Superior Court of Dougherty County and was removed to this Court by Defendants. Doc. 1 at 1. Plaintiff alleges that on April 22, 2017, she was incarcerated as a pretrial detainee in the custody of Defendant Sheriff Sproul, the Sheriff of Dougherty County. Doc. 1-2 at 3. On November 28, 2017, the Court denied Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Certification of Class Action, Doc. 1-3, and Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction, Doc. 1-4, and stayed the case pending the Court's ruling on Defendants' Motions for Judgment on the Pleadings. See Doc. 15.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         “A motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) is subject to the same standard as a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss.” U.S. v. Wood, 925 F.2d 1580, 1581 (11th Cir. 1991). Rule 12(b)(6) requires that the complaint plead enough facts to state a claim for relief that is plausible-not just conceivable-on its face. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Although a court must “take the factual allegations in the complaint as true and construe them in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs, ” it is not required “to accept the labels and legal conclusions in the complaint as true.” Edwards v. Prime, Inc., 602 F.3d 1276, 1291 (11th Cir. 2010); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (“Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”). At bottom, “the factual allegations in the complaint must possess enough heft to set forth a plausible entitlement to relief.” Edwards, 602 F.3d at 1291 (punctuation omitted). Thus, “[i]f upon reviewing the pleadings it is clear that the plaintiff would not be entitled to relief under any set of facts that could be proved consistent with the allegations, the court should dismiss the complaint.” Cone Fin. Grp., Inc. v. Emp'rs Ins. Co. of Wausau, 476 F. App'x 834, 836 (11th Cir. 2012) (quoting Horsley v. Rivera, 292 F.3d 695, 700 (11th Cir. 2002)).

         FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

         Plaintiff's Complaint, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988 and Georgia law, alleges that her Fourth and Sixth Amendment and due process rights under the federal Constitution and her rights under the Georgia Constitution were violated because: (1) from the date of her arrest through the date of filing this action, Plaintiff had no bond set nor was she afforded a bond hearing; (2) “other than a first appearance [before a magistrate judge] . . . [Plaintiff] has had no court appearance [ ] since the date of her arrest, including any court of inquiry (also referred to as a ‘preliminary hearing' or a ‘probably [sic] cause hearing') pursuant to O.C.G.A. §§ 17-7-20, et seq.;” (3) Plaintiff applied for appointed counsel but “has not had any visits from or communications from any attorney;” (4) Plaintiff requested “a bond hearing or other court hearing since her arrest by asking employees of Defendant Sproul, but was informed . . . that they [cannot] do so, but that any request for a bond hearing or other hearing must come from an attorney;” (5) the magistrates of Dougherty County follow the policy of Defendant State Court Judge Darrisaw “in regards to setting bonds and setting hearings for a court of inquiry (committal hearings);” (6) Defendant Darrisaw has a policy “of refusing to set bonds for pretrial detainees on warrants which charge certain felonies, as in this case, even though they are authorized by law, O.C.G.A. § 17-6-1, to do so;” (7) Defendant Darrisaw has a policy “of refusing to set dates for courts of inquiry, also known as committal hearings or probable cause hearings, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 17-7-20, et seq., unless requested to do so by an attorney at law, ” resulting in the “jailing for weeks and sometimes months of persons who are wholly innocent of the offense, or against him there is no evidence sufficient to establish probable cause to detain them . . . pending a grand jury presentment;” and (8) “there is no procedure . . . to obtain a hearing for either setting a bond, reducing a bond, or setting a court of inquiry” without an attorney request. Doc. 1-2 at 3-7. Plaintiff seeks a “writ of prohibition, ” a “writ of mandamus, ” an “order supervising inferior court, ” declaratory relief, attorney's fees, and Plaintiff's release from jail.[1] Doc. 1-2 at 9-10.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Federal Claims

         In order to state a claim for relief under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege that: (1) an act or omission deprived her 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 Cty., 50 F.3d 1579, 1581 (11th Cir. 1995). Here, assuming for argument's sake that Plaintiff can state a § 1983 under the Hale standard, Plaintiff is not entitled to the relief sought against the Defendants she has sued.

         As an initial matter, Plaintiff requests to be released from jail; however, Plaintiff cannot obtain a dismissal of pending charges or speedier release through a § 1983 action. See Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 487, 489 (1973). “[H]abeas corpus is the exclusive remedy for a state prisoner who challenges the fact or duration of [her] confinement and seeks immediate or speedier release[.]” Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 481 (1994). Thus, Plaintiff cannot challenge her current confinement through this § 1983 action, and any claims that challenge her confinement are dismissed.

         a. Defendants Lockette and Sproul

         The Complaint alleges that Defendants Superior Court Judge Lockette and Sherriff Sproul are “not alleged to have committed any transgressions in regard to [Plaintiff], ” but were named “to obtain full relief.” Doc. 1-2 at 7-8. Plaintiff does not state what specific relief is sought or why these parties are necessary to obtain it. As Plaintiff has not stated a federal claim against Lockette and Sproul, either in their individual or official capacities, those Defendants are DISMISSED from this action. Even if Plaintiff had stated a basis for her claims against Sproul and Lockette, for the same reasons Plaintiff ...


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