United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division
Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Before the U.S. Magistrate
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
the Court is a motion to dismiss filed by Defendants Mike
Howell and Kimberly Cadwell. (Doc. 4). It is
RECOMMENDED that the motion be
GRANTED, and that this action in its
entirety be DISMISSED without prejudice.
Roy Boone Bright is currently under indictment in the
Superior Court of Douglas County, Georgia, on charges of
burglary and theft by taking. (Doc. 4-4). The record
indicates that Plaintiff was convicted of these charges in
2015, (Doc. 1-1, p. 2), but the trial court later vacated its
own judgment of conviction based on the failure to conduct a
Faretta hearing. (Doc. 4-5, p. 2). See Faretta v.
California, 422 U.S. 806 (1975). The record indicates
that Plaintiff's retrial is delayed pending the outcome
of an appeal. (Doc. 4-6, p. 2; Doc. 4-7, p. 2).
commenced this civil action in the Baldwin County Superior
Court in July 2018. (Doc. 1-1). Plaintiff contends that
nearly every individual associated with his arrest and
subsequent prosecution committed some type of wrongful act,
including falsification of warrants, perjury, destruction of
evidence, planting false evidence, and conspiracy to bring
false charges. See (Doc. 1-1, pp. 8-11; Doc. 1-6,
pp. 4-24). Plaintiff's filings do not satisfy Rule
8's requirement that pleadings contain a “short and
plain statement” of any claim for relief, so as 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 (2007) (internal
punctuation omitted). Nonetheless, the Defendants have
construed Plaintiff's complaint as raising claims of
false arrest and malicious prosecution, (Doc. 4-1, pp.
10-11), and Plaintiff has not contested that construction.
(Doc. 8). Accordingly, this Recommendation will treat
Plaintiff's complaint as raising claims of false arrest
and malicious prosecution.
the Defendants removed Plaintiff's suit to this Court,
the Defendants now challenge venue. (Doc. 4-1, p. 12). Venue
is proper, as the state action was pending within this
district prior to removal. See Hollis v. Fla. State
Univ., 259 F.3d 1295, 1299-1300 (11th Cir. 2001). The
Defendants also challenge service of process. (Doc. 4-1, pp.
11-12). Because the record indicates that Plaintiff is
proceeding in forma pauperis, see (Doc.
101, pp. 13-16), Plaintiff may be entitled to rely upon the
United States Marshals Service to perfect service on his
behalf. See, e.g., Richardson v. Johnson,
598 F.3d 734, 738 (11th Cir. 2010) (citing 28 U.S.C. §
1915(d)). See also 28 U.S.C. § 1448
(“Process after removal”). Therefore, it is not
clear that service is a proper ground for dismissal.
the Defendants argue both that Plaintiff fails to state a
claim for relief and that this Court should abstain from
interfering in Plaintiff's ongoing criminal prosecution
in the courts of the State of Georgia pursuant to the
doctrine of Younger v. Harris, 457 U.S. 423, 431
(1982). (Doc. 4-1, pp. 6-11). As discussed below, these
arguments by the Defendants warrant a dismissal of this
action, in its entirety.
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim
for relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotations
omitted). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a
cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do
not suffice.” Id.
same standard applies to judicial review under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A (“Screening”), which requires the
Court to review any complaint by a “prisoner”
seeking redress from a governmental entity, officer or
employee, and to dismiss the complaint, or any portion of it,
that “fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted.” See, e.g., Hollins v.
Samuals, 540 Fed.Appx. 937, 938 (11th Cir. 2013) (citing
Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 215 (2007)).
Accordingly, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, when
considering the grounds raised by Defendants Howell and
Cadwell in their motion to dismiss, the Court may also
consider whether those same grounds warrant the dismissal of
Plaintiff's claims against the remaining Defendants, who
are not yet properly before the Court.
reasons, it is recommended that the Defendant's motion to
dismiss be granted and that this action, in its entirety, be
dismissed without prejudice. First, Plaintiff is currently
facing prosecution on criminal charges in the courts of the
State of Georgia. Pursuant to the longstanding doctrine of
Younger v. Harris, 457 U.S. 423, 431 (1982), federal
courts generally “should not enjoin a state criminal
prosecution begun prior to the institution of the federal
suit.” Samuels v. Mackell, 401 U.S. 66, 69
(1971). This general rule applies in Plaintiff's case,
and the Court must therefore abstain from considering
Plaintiff's requests for equitable relief such as
“an immediate … Habeas hearing,
” (Doc. 6-1, p. 3), or “a dismissal
and immediat[e] release from pending charge(s) in Douglas
County.” (Doc. 6-2, p. 3).
insofar as Plaintiff also seeks monetary damages on his false
arrest and malicious prosecution claims, Plaintiff fails to
state a claim for relief. The facts underlying
Plaintiff's claims are as follows. A GPS tracker
privately attached to appliances stolen from a house under
construction in Douglasville, Douglas County, Georgia, led
officers to obtain a warrant to search Plaintiff's
residence in East Point, Georgia, located in Fulton County.
(Doc. 4-2, p. 2; Doc. 8-1, pp. 2-4). That search occurred on
August 12, 2014. (Doc. 8-5, p. 6). The search revealed the
presence of the stolen appliances, but upon questioning,
Plaintiff reported that “someone else brought them
there.” (Id.). Plaintiff maintains that the
search of his home was conducted based on “retaliatory
motives” stemming from a “check point road
block” he was involved in three weeks before. (Doc. 8,
p. 3). Plaintiff further appears to maintain that officers
fabricated the warrant to search his home:
results from that roadblock caused several white sheriffs
from Douglas County dressed in plain clothes and driving
plain cars/trucks to enter East Point, Atlanta without
permission[. They] then made forced entry into
Plaintiff's home without authority or warrants [and] then
seized many personal items … illegally. These items
are not stolen or under any investigation nor on the face of
any warrant. In fact, the sheriffs saw concerned neighbors
recording the burglary on their cell phones and that's
when a search warranted was type[d] on their (Douglas