MacDonald v. James et al
ORDER : Case dismissed without prejudice. Signed by Honorable Susan O. Hickey on March 9, 2018. (cnn)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
ROY N. MACDONALD
Civil No. 4:18-cv-04026
OFFICER D. JAMES, Texarkana
Police Department; and OFFICER
This is a civil rights action filed by Plaintiff pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff
proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis. 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.
Plaintiff filed his Complaint on February 23, 2018. (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff’s Complaint
alleges that Defendants D. James and Vanmeter (hereinafter “Defendants”) arrested him on August
20, 2018,1 without cause, which resulted in his incarceration for 176 days. (ECF No. 1, p. 3).
Plaintiff further alleges that Defendants:
arrested unfairly falsely without being read my Miranda rights I believe 1) these
officers intended to arrest confine myself 2) I was aware of confinement, 3) I did
not consent to confinement, 4) This confinement is not privileged…This false arrest
has caused me numerous hours of pain and suffering…
(ECF No. 1, pp. 4-5). Plaintiff’s Complaint does not state whether he is suing Defendants in their
individual or official capacities. Plaintiff alleges that he is entitled to compensatory and punitive
The Court believes Plaintiff intended to reference the date of August 20, 2017.
damages. Plaintiff further requests injunctive relief, stating that he is “seeking harassment claims
as to file a restraining order against these officers in lieu of the constant use of emc
‘electromagnetic’ mind control weapons which are not available to civilians but by only officers
of agencies.” (ECF No. 1, p. 7).
As previously stated, the PLRA requires the Court to screen cases prior to service of
process being issued. Plaintiff asserts a claim of false arrest against Defendants. This claim, which
challenges the validity of the pending state criminal proceedings against Plaintiff, is barred under
the abstention doctrine articulated in Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 59 (1971).2
The Younger doctrine “directs federal courts to abstain from accepting jurisdiction in cases
where granting [equitable relief] would interfere with pending state proceedings” involving
important state interests. Night Clubs, Inc. v. City of Fort Smith, Ark., 163 F.3d 475, 477 n.1 (8th
Cir. 1998). The Younger abstention doctrine is a reflection of the public policy that disfavors
federal court interference with state judicial proceedings, and is based on the principles of comity
and federalism. See Ronwin v. Dunham, 818 F.2d 675, 677 (8th Cir. 1987).
Three factors must be determined affirmatively to result in abstention under Younger: (1)
there must be an ongoing state judicial proceeding which (2) implicates important state interests,
and (3) that proceeding must afford an adequate opportunity to raise the federal questions
presented. Fuller v. Ulland, 76 F.3d 957, 959 (8th Cir. 1996). If all three factors are met, the
federal court must abstain unless it detects “bad faith, harassment, or some extraordinary
circumstance that would make abstention inappropriate.” Middlesex Cnty. Ethics Comm. v.
Garden State Bar Ass’n, 457 U.S. 423, 435 (1982). This bad faith exception “must be construed
A criminal case, 46 CR-17-568, for aggravated assault is currently pending against Plaintiff in the Circuit Court of
Miller County, Arkansas.
narrowly and only invoked in extraordinary circumstances.” Aaron v. Target Corp., 357 F.3d 768,
778-79 (8th Cir. 2004) (internal quotation marks omitted).
The Court finds that the Younger abstention doctrine applies to this case because Plaintiff’s
claim involves an ongoing state judicial criminal proceeding against Plaintiff, the state clearly has
an important interest in enforcing its criminal laws, and Plaintiff has given no indication that he
cannot raise his constitutional claims during the state criminal proceedings. Conley v. Hiland, No.
4:15-cv0359-SWW, 2015 WL 4096152, at *1 (E.D. Ark. July 7, 2015). There is also no indication
of bad faith or any other extraordinary circumstance that would make abstention inappropriate.
Because Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief, the Younger abstention doctrine
favors dismissal. See Night Clubs, Inc., 163 F.3d at 481.
For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff's Complaint (ECF No. 1) is hereby DISMISSED
IT IS SO ORDERED, this 9th day of March, 2018.
/s/ Susan O. Hickey
Susan O. Hickey
United States District Judge
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