Moon v. Unterreiner et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER re: 2 MOTION for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis filed by Plaintiff Darnell W. Moon; motion is GRANTED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk shall not issue process or cause process to issue, because the complaint is legally frivolous and fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. See 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B). A separate Order of Dismissal shall accompany this Memorandum and Order. Signed by District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr on 9/11/15. (CSG)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
DARNELL W. MOON,
a/k/a Qamar Ed-Deen Abdul Latif,
MARK J. UNTERREINER, et al.,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on the application of Darnell W. Moon for
leave to commence this action without payment of the required filing fee.
U.S.C. ' 1915(a). Upon consideration of the financial information provided with
the completed application, the Court finds that plaintiff is financially unable to pay
the filing fee. Therefore, plaintiff will be granted leave to proceed in forma
pauperis. Furthermore, based upon a review of the complaint, the Court finds that
this action should be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ' 1915(e)(2)(B).
28 U.S.C. ' 1915(e)
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ' 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court must dismiss a complaint
filed in forma pauperis if the action is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. An action is frivolous if it "lacks an arguable basis in
either law or fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 328 (1989). An action is
malicious if it is undertaken for the purpose of harassing the named defendants and
not for the purpose of vindicating a cognizable right. Spencer v. Rhodes, 656 F.
Supp. 458, 461-63 (E.D.N.C. 1987), aff'd 826 F.2d 1059 (4th Cir. 1987).
action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead
Aenough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.@ Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,570 (2007).
To determine whether an action fails to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted, the Court must engage in a two-step inquiry. First, the Court must
identify the allegations in the complaint that are not entitled to the assumption of
truth. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1950-51 (2009). These include "legal
conclusions" and "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action [that
are] supported by mere conclusory statements."
Id. at 1949. Second, the Court
must determine whether the complaint states a plausible claim for relief.
1950-51. This is a "context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw
on its judicial experience and common sense."
Id. at 1950. The plaintiff is
required to plead facts that show more than the "mere possibility of misconduct."
Id. The Court must review the factual allegations in the complaint "to determine
if they plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief."
Id. at 1951. When faced with
alternative explanations for the alleged misconduct, the Court may exercise its
judgment in determining whether plaintiff's conclusion is the most plausible or
whether it is more likely that no misconduct occurred.
Id. at 1950, 51-52.
Moreover, in reviewing a pro se complaint under ' 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court
must give the complaint the benefit of a liberal construction. Haines v. Kerner,
404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).
The Court must also weigh all factual allegations in
favor of the plaintiff, unless the facts alleged are clearly baseless.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32 (1992).
Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents
of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), and the Religious Freedom
Restoration Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb et seq.
In addition, plaintiff asserts a
pendent claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress.
defendants are the United States of America and United States Probation Officers
Mark J. Unterreiner, Charles H. Doerge, and Brian Gray.
Plaintiff states that he is Muslim and is required to pray at least five times a
day in a mosque. He is challenging the terms of conditions relative to his
electronic monitoring under the U.S. Probation Home Confinement Program.
Following the revocation of his supervised release, plaintiff apparently was placed
on electronic monitoring so his parole officer could monitor his movements.
Plaintiff claims that the program is unconstitutional and that defendants are
interfering with the exercise of his religious beliefs by requiring him to state the
times that he claims he is going to and leaving his mosque and not allowing him to
simply sign out from 4 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Plaintiff states that he should be allowed
“to exercise his religious beliefs in the manner and frequency [he] chooses,” and
that he did not want to comply with defendants’ request for specific times,
“because he felt it was an infringement on his right to free exercise of religion.”
In addition, plaintiff claims defendants filed a “warrant or summons for an
offender under supervision” in retaliation for his objection to their request and for
filing a lawsuit against them.
A review of the Court’s records shows that on March 19, 2008, plaintiff pled
guilty to one count of armed robbery and one count of conspiracy to interfere with
interstate commerce by robbery, and he was sentenced to seventy-eight months’
imprisonment and three years of supervised release.
See United States v. Moon,
1:07-CR-133-RWS (E.D. Mo.). Plaintiff states that he was released from BOP
custody on January 27, 2015. On May 5, 2015, this Court revoked plaintiff’s
supervised release and sentenced him to four months’ imprisonment.
Plaintiff states that he was assigned to the Home Confinement Program, under
which he would be electronically monitored, and he is now challenging the
conditions of his electronic detention under this program.
He states that
defendants have filed a supervised release violation petition. According to the
Court’s records, plaintiff is scheduled to appear in Federal Court on September 14,
2015, to answer to this petition.
To recover damages for an allegedly unconstitutional conviction or
imprisonment, or for other harm caused by actions that would render a conviction
or sentence invalid, a plaintiff must first prove that the conviction or sentence has
been reversed, expunged, declared invalid by a state tribunal, or called into
question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of habeas corpus.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994).
The conditions of plaintiff’s electronic
detention are a part of the execution of his sentence, and plaintiff has not shown,
nor does he allege, that his conviction or sentence has been reversed, expunged,
invalidated, or called into question. As such, his claims are presently barred by
the United States Supreme Court's holding in Heck, and this action will be
See Savickas v. Walker, 180 Fed. Appx. 592, 593-94 (7th
Cir. 2006) (plaintiff challenging electronic detention was Heck-barred from
bringing § 1983 action; by challenging the execution of this home confinement,
plaintiff was attempting to do exactly what Heck prohibits).
Moreover, to the extent that plaintiff is challenging the fact of his present
confinement, or the manner in which his sentence is being executed, his claims are
cognizable exclusively under habeas corpus, not 42 U.S.C. ' 1983. See Preiser v.
Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 490 (1973) (habeas corpus is the appropriate remedy for
prisoners attacking their confinement); Williams v. Wisconsin, 336 F.3d 576,
579-80 (7th Cir.2003) (quoting Drollinger v. Milligan, 552 F.2d 1220, 1225 (7th
Cir.1977)) (explaining that conditions of parole “‘define the perimeters of’”
confinement, and thus, challenges to particular conditions must be brought as
habeas corpus petitions and not as civil suits under § 1983).
Last, with respect to defendant United States of America, the Court notes
that “[t]o sue the United States, [a plaintiff] must show both a waiver of sovereign
immunity and a grant of subject matter jurisdiction.”
VS Ltd. P=ship v. Dep=t of
Hous. and Urban Dev., 235 F.3d 1109, 112 (8th Cir. 2000).
Plaintiff has failed to
make this showing. For these reasons, this action will be dismissed pursuant to '
Because plaintiff's federal claims will be dismissed, all remaining pendent
state claims will be dismissed, as well.
See 28 U.S.C. ' 1367(c)(3); United Mine
Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 726 (1966) (if federal claims are dismissed before
trial, remaining state claims should also be dismissed); Hassett v. Lemay Bank &
Trust Co.,851 F.2d 1127, 1130 (8th Cir. 1988) (where federal claims have been
dismissed, district courts may decline jurisdiction over pendent state claims as a
"matter of discretion").
In accordance with the foregoing,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in
forma pauperis [Doc. #2] is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk shall not issue process or
cause process to issue, because the complaint is legally frivolous and fails to state a
See 28 U.S.C. ' 1915(e)(2)(B).
claim upon which relief may be granted.
A separate Order of Dismissal shall accompany this Memorandum and
Dated this 11th day of September, 2015.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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