Elders v. Hicks et al
ORDER; Plaintiff's claims are DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. Judgment will be entered accordingly. Signed by Honorable P. K. Holmes, III on October 25, 2017. (mjm)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
FORT SMITH DIVISION
CHRISTOPHER MICHAEL ELDERS
Civil No.: 2:17-CV-02169
SGT. ADAM HICKS, et. al.
The case is before the Court for preservice screening under the provisions of the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court has the obligation to
screen any complaint in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or
employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).
Plaintiff filed his Complaint on September 27, 2017. (ECF No. 1). He alleges his
constitutional rights were violated when he was not read his Miranda rights at the time of his arrest
by Van Buren police officers. (ECF No. 1 at 6). He further alleges he was falsely imprisoned due
to false information placed in reports by Van Buren police officers. (ECF No. 1 at 6). Plaintiff
filed a Supplement on October 12, 2017. (ECF No. 6). In this Supplement, Plaintiff states he
wished to add Ron Brown, Crawford County Sheriff, as a Defendant in this case.
Plaintiff states he is still awaiting trial on the pending criminal charges, and that there is “a
lack of communication” with his counsel. (ECF No. 1 at 3). Plaintiff proceeds against all
Defendants in their official and personal capacities.
(ECF No. 1 at 5-6).
compensatory and punitive damages. He also asks for all charges to be dropped, for his record to
be completely cleared, and for his immediate release. (ECF No. 1 at 8).
II. LEGAL STANDARD
Under the PLRA, the Court is obligated to screen the case prior to service of process being
issued. The Court must dismiss a complaint, or any portion of it, if it contains claims that: (1) are
frivolous, malicious, or fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or, (2) seeks
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
A claim is frivolous if “it lacks an arguable basis either in law or fact.” Neitzke v. Williams,
490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). A claim fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted if it
does not allege “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “In evaluating whether a pro se plaintiff has asserted
sufficient facts to state a claim, we hold ‘a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded ... to less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.’” Jackson v. Nixon, 747 F.3d 537,
541 (8th Cir. 2014) (quoting Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)). Even a pro se Plaintiff
must allege specific facts sufficient to support a claim. Martin v. Sargent, 780 F.2d 1334, 1337 (8
Pursuant to Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), federal courts are required to abstain
from hearing cases when “(1) there is an ongoing state judicial proceeding which (2) implicates
important state interests, and when (3) that proceeding affords an adequate opportunity to raise the
federal questions presented.” Norwood v. Dickey, 409 F.3d 901, 903 (8th Cir. 2005) (citing Fuller
v. Ulland, 76 F.3d 957, 959 (8th Cir. 1996)). Ongoing state criminal proceedings implicate the
important state interest of enforcing state criminal law, and constitutional claims relating to that
proceeding should be raised there. Meador v. Paulson, 385 F. App’x 613 (8th Cir. 2010); see also
Gillette v. N. Dakota Disc. Bd. Counsel, 610 F.3d 1045, 1046 (8th Cir. 2010) (“federal courts may
not enjoin pending state court criminal proceedings absent a showing of bad faith, harassment, or
any other unusual circumstance that would call for equitable relief.”) (internal quotations
Here, Plaintiff’s allegations center on his pending criminal case. Therefore, this Court is
required to abstain from hearing it. Plaintiff is advised to address any constitutional concerns with
his current counsel.
For these reasons, IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff’s claims are DISMISSED WITHOUT
Judgment will be entered accordingly.
IT IS SO ORDERED this 25th day of October 2017.
/s/P. K. Holmes, III
P. K. HOLMES, III
CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
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