Franklin v. Miller et al
ORDER regarding motions filed by Plaintiff. This action is dismissed without prejudice. All of the Plaintiff's motions are denied as moot. Signed by Judge Linda R Reade on 09/14/2017. (copy w/NEF mailed to Pltf) (jjh)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF IOWA
CEDAR RAPIDS DIVISION
TRAMOND EUGENE FRANKLIN,
TIFFANY MILLER, DEPARTMENT OF
CORRECTIONS, GERALD ALAN
VANDER SANDEN, CEDAR RAPIDS
POLICE DEPARTMENT, CITY OF
CEDAR RAPIDS, STATE OF IOWA,
The matter before the court is the plaintiff’s application to proceed in forma
pauperis (docket no. 1), filed on June 16, 2017, “complaint” (docket no. 1-1), filed on
June 16, 2017, motion for preliminary injunction (docket no. 2), filed on June 16, 2017,
motion to appoint counsel (docket no. 3), filed on June 19, 2017, motion for jury trial
(docket no. 4), filed on June 21, 2017, motion to continue State’s case (docket no. 5), filed
on June 21, 2017, motion to add parties (docket no. 6), filed on June 29, 2017, motion to
add charges (docket no. 7), filed on June 29, 2017, motion for perjury charges against
officers (docket no. 8), filed on July 6, 2017, motion to charge Benton County Attorney’s
Office with obstruction of justice (docket no. 9), filed on July 12, 2017, motion to stop all
State and Federal criminal cases (docket no. 10), filed on July 12, 2017, supplement
(docket no. 11), filed on July 28, 2017, motion to add obstruction of justice and tampering
with evidence (docket no. 12), filed on August 9, 2017, motion to add plaintiff (docket no.
13), filed on August 17, 2017, motion to introduce video evidence (docket no. 14), filed
on August 28, 2017, motion to charge Benton County judge (docket no. 15), filed on
August 28, 2017, motion for hearing (docket no. 16), filed on August 28, 2017, motion
for permanent injunction to stay and dismiss all State/Federal investigations (docket no.
17), filed on August 30, 2017, motion for immediate temporary restraining order and
restoration of water services (docket no. 18), filed on August 30, 2017, motion for
emergency restraining order (docket no. 19), filed on August 31, 2017, motion to amend
complaint (docket no. 20), filed on September 7, 2017, motion to amend complaint to add
charges (docket no. 21), filed on September 7, 2017, motion to strip all immunity (docket
no. 22), filed on September 7, 2017, motion to amend previous motions (docket no. 23),
filed on September 7, 2017, motion to discard evidence (docket no. 24), filed on
September 7, 2017, motion for emergency injunction (docket no. 25), filed on September
11, 2017, and motion for audio and video evidence (docket no. 26), filed on September
Having reviewed the entire record, the court concludes that the plaintiff’s pleadings
are not sufficient to commence an action. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8 (addressing general rules
of pleading). Because the plaintiff’s pleadings are vague, ambiguous and unorganized, it
is unclear what type of action, if any, that the plaintiff is trying to commence, and an
opposing party could not reasonably prepare a response. In light of the foregoing, this
action is dismissed without prejudice. All of the plaintiff’s motions are denied as moot.
Before proceeding with any federal action by filing an amended complaint and an
application to proceed in forma pauperis if he cannot afford to pay the filing fee, the
plaintiff should keep in mind the following:
(1) The court is typically precluded from interfering in the
interworkings of a state court in criminal matters. See Sprint
Communs., Inc. v. Jacobs, ___ U.S. ___, ___, 134 S. Ct.
584, 591 (2013) (explaining that Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S.
37 (1971), precludes a court from intruding into ongoing state
criminal prosecutions); Zanders v. Swanson, 573 F.3d 591,
593-95 (8th Cir. 2009) (determining that district court properly
abstained from hearing claim because there was no showing of
bad faith or other extraordinary circumstances); Norwood v.
Dickey, 409 F.3d 901, 903 (8th Cir. 2005) (listing factors to
(2) A 42 U.S.C. § 1983 cause of action for damages does not
arise until “the conviction or sentence has been reversed on
direct appeal, expunged by executive order, declared invalid
by an authorized state tribunal . . ., or called into question by
the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus.” Heck v. Humphrey,
512 U.S. 477, 486 (1994).
(3) “[O]fficials acting pursuant to a court order have ‘a quasi
judicial absolute immunity from damages for actions taken to
execute that order.’” Rose v. Flairty, 772 F.3d 552, 554 (8th
Cir. 2014) (quoting Patterson v. Von Riesen, 999 F.2d 1235,
1240 (8th Cir. 1993)). Aside from being protected when
enforcing a court’s directive, an official is entitled to absolute
immunity when he or she performs an “adjudicatory or
prosecutorial function.” Id. Officials have a quasi judicial
absolute immunity when they “perform discretionary tasks that
play an integral part in the decision making process,” such as
when they “evaluate facts, draw conclusions, and make
recommendations.” Anton v. Getty, 78 F.3d 393, 396 (8th
(4) A prosecutor is immune from civil rights claims that are
based on actions taken in the performance of his or her
prosecutorial duties. See Burns v. Reed, 500 U.S. 478, 486
(1991) (quoting Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 430-31
(1976)); Patterson v. Von Riesen, 999 F.2d 1235, 1237 (8th
Cir. 1993); Snelling v. Westhof, 972 F.2d 199, 200 (8th Cir.
(5) A judge, performing judicial functions, enjoys absolute
immunity from 42 U.S.C. § 1983 liability. See Pierson v.
Ray, 386 U.S. 547, 554-55 (1967); Whisman v. Rinehart, 119
F.3d 1303, 1309 (8th Cir. 1997); Callahan v. Rendlen, 806
F.2d 795, 796 (8th Cir. 1996).
(6) The court does not have the authority to investigate or
commence criminal proceedings. See e.g., United States v.
Armstrong, 517 U.S. 456, 464 (1996) (making clear that it is
the executive branch that retains broad discretion to enforce
the Nation’s criminal laws). If the plaintiff believes a crime
occurred, he should consult law enforcement officials, and,
after conducting an investigation, those officials may consult
with prosecutors to determine whether charges are warranted.
Whether to prosecute and what charges to file or bring are
decisions that rest in the prosecutor’s discretion. See United
States v. Batchelder, 442 U.S. 114, 124 (1979); Bordenkircher
v. Hayes, 434 U.S. 357, 364 (1978); United States v. Nixon,
418 U.S. 683, 693 (1974); Parkhurst v. Tabor, 569 F.3d 861,
867 (8th Cir. 2009). This court has no power to order the
government or a state to investigate or prosecute certain
(7) “Courts repeatedly have held that there is no private right
of action under [18 U.S.C.] § 241, even though the statute
allows federal authorities to pursue criminal charges.” United
States v. Wadena, 152 F.3d 831, 846 (8th Cir. 1998).
(8) “To establish municipal liability under [42 U.S.C.] § 1983,
a plaintiff must show that a constitutional violation was
committed pursuant to an official custom, policy, or practice
of the governmental entity.” Moyle v. Anderson, 571 F.3d
814, 817-18 (8th Cir. 2009) (citing Monell, 436 U.S. at 69092).
(9) Although courts construe pro se pleadings liberally, pro se
litigants, like all other parties, must abide by the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure. See, e.g., Williams v. Harmon, 294 F.
App’x 243, 245 (8th Cir. 2008) (affirming dismissal where pro
se litigant failed to comply with the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure). The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require
parties to formulate their pleadings in an organized and
comprehensible manner. Specifically, Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 8(a)(1)-(3) requires that a complaint contain a “short
and plain statement of the grounds for the court’s jurisdiction,”
a “short and plain statement” of the plaintiff’s claims and a
“demand for the relief sought.” Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 8(d)(1) provides that, although no technical form of
pleading is required, each claim must be simple, concise and
direct. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 10(b) directs parties
to separate their claims within their pleadings and provides that
each claim should be limited as far as practicable to a single
set of circumstances. In addition, Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 10(b) makes clear that each claim that is founded on
a separate transaction or occurrence must be stated in a
separate count where doing so would promote clarity.
The court is mindful of the fact that the plaintiff is frustrated with ongoing state court
criminal proceedings, but the proper forum to address his constitutional concerns in the
first instance is in the Iowa District Court for Linn County, the Iowa District Court for
Benton County, the Iowa Court of Appeals, the Iowa Supreme Court and/or the United
States Supreme Court.1
IT IS SO ORDERED
DATED this 14th day of September, 2017.
It is apparent from state court records that the plaintiff is facing state criminal
charges and/or is concerned with a state court judgment that has become final. State v.
Franklin, Case No. FECR122035 (Linn Cty. Dist. Ct. __________, 2017); State v.
Franklin, Case No. FECR120751 (Linn Cty. Dist. Ct. __________, 2017); State v.
Franklin, Case No. SMSM006111 (Benton Cty. Dist. Ct. August 23, 2017).
Iowa state court criminal and civil records may be accessed online at:
dex.asp. See Stutzka v. McCarville, 420 F.3d 757, 760 n.2 (8th Cir. 2005) (addressing
court’s ability to take judicial notice of public records).
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