Jenkins v. Chuang et al
MEMORANDUM. Signed by Judge J. Frederick Motz on 10/6/2017. (c/m 10/10/17 bas, Deputy Clerk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
THOMAS KEVIN JENKINS, #901396
CIVIL ACTION NO. JFM-17-2868
THEODORE D. CHUANG Judge, United
States District Court for the District of
JOSEPH BALDWIN Prosecutor, United States
Attorney's Office, District of Maryland,
On August 2, 2017, plaintiff Thomas Kevin Jenkins filed this self-represented
captioned as a "Federal Tort Claim" in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia,
seeking compensatory, nominal and punitive damages totaling $1,500,000.00.1 The case was ordered
transferred to this court on September 6, 2017, and received by the Clerk on October 5, 2017.
Jenkins' motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis shall be granted. The complaint, however, is
The in forma pauperis statute authorizes a district court to dismiss a case if satisfied that the
action fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, is frivolous or malicious, or seeks
monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.c.
According to the Bureau of Prisons inmate locator website, Jenkins is currently
confined the Federal Medical Center at Butner, P. O. Box 1600, Butner, North Carolina 27509.
Because Jenkins is proceeding in forma pauperis, the court must conduct a sua sponte screening of
his complaint. It must dismiss any part of the action which is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary damages from a defendant who is
immune from such relief.
Jenkins complains that the "prompt and impartial administration
of justice" has been
hindered in his pending federal criminal case of United States v. Jenkins, Criminal No. TDC-15-492
(D. Md.). He primarily takes issue with the denial of his request to represent himself, his numerous
pro se motions being "overlooked" by presiding Judge Theodore D. Chuang, and the ordering of
Jenkins' claims are subject to dismissal as filed against United States District Court Judge
Chuang who is entitled to absolute immunity. It is well-established that judges, in exercising the
authority vested in them, are absolutely immune from civil lawsuits for money damages. See Mireles
v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 9-10 (1991) (per curiam) ("A long line of this Court's precedents acknowledges
that, generally, ajudge is immune from a suit for money damages."); Chu v. Griffith, 771 F.2d 79, 81
(4th Cir. 1985); see also Mandel v. 0 'Hara, 320 Md. 103, 107,576 S.2d 766, 768 (1990) ("Absolute
'immunity protects ... judges ... so long as their acts are "judicial" ... in nature and within the very
general scope of their jurisdiction' "). Judicial immunity applies to judicial action taken in error,
done maliciously, or in excess of authority. See Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349,355-56
Essentially, ajudge is entitled to absolute immunity ifthe judge acted in his judicial capacity and had
jurisdiction over the subject matter.
See King v. Myers, 973 F.2d 354, 356-57 (4th Cir. 1992).
Accordingly, a plaintiff alleging a claim for money damages against a judge can overcome absolute
judicial immunity only by showing (1) the judge's actions were taken outside of the judge's judicial
capacity or (2) the judge acted in the complete absence of jurisdiction. Id.
Jenkins has not made
such a showing.
Further, the complaint for damages may not proceed against prosecutor Baldwin.
prosecutor is a quasi-judicial officer who enjoys absolute immunity when performing prosecutorial
functions. See Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 430-31 (1976); Van de Kamp v. Goldstein, 555
U.S. 335, 343 (2009); Springmen v. Williams, 122 F.3d 211,212-13 (4th Cir. 1997); Lyles v. Sparks,
79 F.3d 372, 376-77 (4th Cir. 1996). General decisions whether or not to prosecute a case fall within
Because Jenkins' prisoner case fails to state a claim and is premised on an "indisputably
meritless legal theory," his case shall be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
He is hereby
notified that he may be barred from filing future suits in forma pauperis ifhe continues to file federal
Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court
shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that(A) the allegation of poverty is untrue; or
(B) the action or appeal-(i) is frivolous or malicious;
(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from
civil rights actions that are subject to dismissal under
S 1915(e) or Rule
12(b)(6).3 This constitutes
strike to be assessed against Jenkins. A separate order follows.
United States District Judge
states as follows:
In no event shall a prisoner bring a civil action or appeal ajudgment in a civil
action or proceeding under this section ifthe prisoner has, on 3 or more prior
occasions, while incarcerated or detained in any facility, brought an action or
appeal in a court of the United States that was dismissed on the grounds that
it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, unless the prisoner is under imminent danger of serious physical
Once three such dismissals u!19$;r,sJ9J5.(.e)-QJ-R>Hl~J2(b)(6)of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure have been accumulated, ipf'i]t'fi~r will be barr~(r from initiating further civil actions in
forma pauperis, unless danger of immineg;t:.:.~~]~ijql.l~'vphysicalharm is shown.
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