United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Brunswick Division
JAMES E. THOMPSON, Plaintiff,
JACKIE JOHNSON, Glynn County District Attorney; and GEORGE BARNHILL, Glynn County Assistant District Attorney, Defendants.
ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
who is currently housed at the Glynn County Detention Center
in Brunswick, Georgia, filed a Complaint pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 contesting certain events occurring in
Glynn County, Georgia. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff also filed a
Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. (Doc.
2.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court
DENIES Plaintiff's Motion. 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.
Complaint, Plaintiff asserts he was arrested on March 3,
2017, for making a terroristic threat and simple battery.
(Doc. 1-1, p. 2.) Plaintiff contends he was later indicted on
these charges. (Id. at p. 3.) At a later time,
Plaintiff asserts Defendant Barnhill objected to Plaintiff
being provided a bond. (Id. at p. 5.) Plaintiff
asserts his bond was revoked without any participation on his
part at the hearing. Plaintiff maintains Defendant Barnhill
and the judge had an “ex parte
(tête-à-tête)” to determine
Plaintiff's mother would not testify at this hearing.
(Id. at p. 8.) However, Plaintiff contends Judge
Lane reversed his decision and once again granted Plaintiff
bond, but the appropriate paperwork has not been sent to the
Detention Center, ensuring Plaintiff cannot be released on
October 3, 2017, Plaintiff asserts his mother provided a
statement that he made terroristic threats against her, even
though she was not mentioned as a victim of his alleged
actions of March 3, 2017. (Id. at p. 11.) According
to Plaintiff, Defendants were embarrassed about Judge Lane
granting Plaintiff a bond, which resulted in a second
indictment against Plaintiff. (Id. at p. 12.)
maintains Defendants' actions resulted in the violation
of his rights under the Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth
Amendments. (Id. at p. 13.) Plaintiff seeks
injunctive relief against Defendants, the entry of a
declaratory judgment that Defendants are prosecuting him in
bad faith, and compensatory damages. (Id. at pp.
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
Dismissal Under Younger Abstention
as Plaintiff is asking this Court to intervene in the state
case's ongoing proceedings, the Younger
abstention doctrine bars Plaintiff's claims for
injunctive relief. Under the Younger abstention
doctrine, a federal court must abstain from exercising
jurisdiction over a case where there is an ongoing state
action. See Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971).
While Younger involved a federal suit for injunctive
relief of the ongoing state proceedings, the Eleventh Circuit
Court of Appeals has also indicated that the Younger
abstention doctrine extends to cases involving Section 1983
claims for monetary damages. See Doby v. Strength,
758 F.2d 1405, 1405-06 (11th Cir. 1985) (requiring
Younger abstention where plaintiff raised Fourth
Amendment Section 1983 damages claims related to ongoing
state criminal proceedings); see also Kowalski v.