Davis v. United States of America et al
OPINION AND ORDER: The court DISMISSES this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and DIRECTS the clerk to close the case. Signed by Chief Judge Jon E DeGuilio on 9/7/2021. (Copy mailed to pro se party)(bas)
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
SOUTH BEND DIVISION
ROBERT LEE DAVIS, JR.,
CAUSE NO. 3:21-CV-214-JD-MGG
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al.,
OPINION AND ORDER
Robert Lee Davis, Jr., a prisoner without a lawyer, filed an amended complaint
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF 15.) Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the court must screen
the complaint and dismiss it if the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief. To proceed beyond the pleading stage, a complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter to “state a claim that is plausible on its face.” Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “A claim has facial plausibility when
the pleaded factual content allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
The court must nevertheless give the complaint liberal construction in light of the
plaintiff’s pro se status. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).
Mr. Davis’s complaint is quite difficult to parse. He attaches excerpts from the
Bible, drawings, and other materials. As best as can be discerned, he is claiming that the
United States of America, the State of Indiana, St. Joseph County, and the City of South
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Bend are infringing on his religious freedoms because his religion requires him to use
methamphetamines, which he refers to as “the food of angels.” He describes a “secret
plot” by “several nations” to “hurt” him related to his use of methamphetamines. In the
section where he is asked to designate his requested relief, he states as follows:
I would like America to give me my God given rights, even diplomatic
immunity for I am a sovereign state, even so I take the name of Israel. I
would also like to speak to all nations proclaiming my message even of
(ECF 15 at 2.)
It can be discerned that Mr. Davis is currently facing criminal charges in St.
Joseph County, but this court cannot dismiss or otherwise interfere with criminal
charges pending in state court. 1 See Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 53 (1971); In re
Campbell, 264 F.3d 730, 731 (7th Cir. 2001). Nor can Mr. Davis obtain release from
custody in this civil rights suit; instead, his sole federal remedy lies in habeas corpus.
Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 488 (1973). To the extent he is claiming that he is a
“sovereign” citizen entitled to special rights or not subject to laws of general
applicability, such a claim is frivolous. United States v. Benabe, 654 F.3d 753, 767 (7th
2011); United States v. Hilgeford, 7 F.3d 1340, 1342 (7th Cir. 1993).
Assuming he could overcome these barriers, the United States has sovereign
immunity from suit. F.D.I.C. v. Meyer, 510 U.S. 471, 475 (1994). Likewise, the State of
1 Public records reflect that Mr. Davis has criminal charges pending against him in St. Joseph
Superior Court for auto theft, public nudity, and other offenses. He was recently found incompetent to
stand trial and transferred to a state mental health facility for treatment. See State v. Davis, No. 71D082008-F6-000826 (St. Joseph Sup. Ct. filed Aug. 31, 2020). The court is permitted to take judicial notice of
public records at the pleading stage. See FED. R. EVID. 201; Tobey v. Chibucos, 890 F.3d 634, 647 (7th Cir.
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Indiana has Eleventh Amendment immunity in federal court. de Lima Silva v. Dep’t of
Corr., 917 F.3d 546, 565 (7th Cir. 2019). St. Joseph County cannot be held liable solely
because it employs individuals involved with Mr. Davis’s criminal case, and there is no
factual content in the complaint from which the court can discern a plausible claim
under Monell v. Dep’t of Soc. Servs. of City of New York, 436 U.S. 658 (1978), against the
County. His claim against the City of South Bend fails for the same reason. He lists the
Governor of Indiana as a defendant, but this defendant is not mentioned in the
narrative section, and the court finds no plausible basis in the amended complaint to
hold the Governor liable for a constitutional violation. To the extent the Governor is
being sued in his official capacity, he too would have Eleventh Amendment immunity.
de Lima Silva, 917 F.3d at 565.
In short, Mr. Davis has not alleged a viable claim against any defendant. He has
already been afforded an opportunity to amend his complaint, and the court finds no
basis to conclude that if given another opportunity, he could assert a plausible
constitutional claim, consistent with the allegations he has already made. See Hukic v.
Aurora Loan Servs., 588 F.3d 420, 432 (7th Cir. 2009).
For these reasons, the court DISMISSES this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
and DIRECTS the clerk to close the case.
SO ORDERED on September 7, 2021
/s/JON E. DEGUILIO
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
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