Young v. Orwick et al
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER re: 2 , 7 , 6 , 4 , 5 ORDERED that plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. #2] is GRANTED. FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff shall pay an initial partial filingfee of $13.50 within th irty (30) days from the date of this order. FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to add St. Louis City Police Department Lab as a defendant to this action [Doc. #5] is GRANTED. 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. FURTHER ORDERED that all remaining pending motions areDENIED as moot. A separate Order of Dismissal shall accompany this Memorandumand Order. ( Response to Court due by 7/11/2013.), St. Louis City Police Department Lab added.. Signed by District Judge Henry E. Autrey on 6/11/13. (CEL)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
BETH ORWICK, et al.,
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court upon the application of Darnell Young
(registration no. 339945) for leave to commence this action without payment of the
required filing fee. In addition, plaintiff has filed a motion to add St. Louis City
Police Department Lab as a defendant to this action [Doc. #5]. For the reasons stated
below, the Court will grant plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis and will
assess him an initial partial filing fee of $13.50. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). The
Court will also grant plaintiff’s motion to add the St. Louis City Police Department
Lab as a defendant to this action. Furthermore, based upon a review of the complaint,
the Court will dismiss this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1)
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), a prisoner bringing a civil action in forma
pauperis is required to pay the full amount of the filing fee. If the prisoner has
insufficient funds in his prison account to pay the entire fee, the Court must assess
and, when funds exist, collect an initial partial filing fee of 20 percent of the greater
of (1) the average monthly deposits in the prisoner's account; or (2) the average
monthly balance in the prisoner's account for the prior six-month period. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). After payment of the initial partial filing fee, the prisoner is
required to make monthly payments of 20 percent of the preceding month's income
credited to the prisoner's account. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2). The agency having
custody of the prisoner will forward these monthly payments to the Clerk of Court
each time the amount in the prisoner's account exceeds $10, until the filing fee is fully
Plaintiff has submitted an affidavit and a certified copy of his prison account
statement for the six-month period immediately preceding the submission of his
complaint. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1),(2). A review of plaintiff's account statement
indicates an average monthly deposit of $67.50, and an average monthly account
balance of $4.61. Plaintiff has insufficient funds to pay the entire filing fee.
Accordingly, the Court will assess an initial partial filing fee of $13.50, which is 20
percent of plaintiff's average monthly balance.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court may dismiss a complaint filed
in forma pauperis at any time if the action is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who
is immune from such relief. An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted if it does not plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).
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. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 3233 (1992).
Plaintiff, an inmate at the Eastern Reception Diagnostic and Correctional
Center, seeks monetary relief in this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against defendants Beth
Orwick (Prosecuting Attorney), David C. Mason (Judge), Daniel Richard Green
(Judge), Kameron Mitchell Lawson (Assistant Attorney General), Mary K. Hoff
(Judge), and the St. Louis City Police Department Lab. Plaintiff’s allegations arise
out of his underlying state criminal and habeas corpus proceedings. He claims that
he was maliciously prosecuted and that the State of Missouri never proved its case
against him, given that DNA was never admitted into evidence. Plaintiff states that
he filed a state habeas corpus action on November 16, 2012, but “the Courts did not
make the State answer the claims.” Plaintiff alleges that all of the defendant judges
were biased. In addition to monetary relief, plaintiff asks this Court to overturn his
state cases and release him from prison.
Having carefully reviewed plaintiff's allegations, the Court concludes that the
complaint is legally frivolous as to defendants Mason, Green, and Hoff, because
judges are “entitled to absolute immunity for all judicial actions that are not ‘taken
in a complete absence of all jurisdiction.’” Penn v. United States, 335 F.3d 786, 789
(8th Cir. 2003) (quoting Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11-12 (1991)); see also Stump
v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 355-57 (1978).
The complaint is also legally frivolous as to defendants Orwick and Lawson,
because a prosecutor is immune from personal liability from actions related to the
performance of his or her public duties, including presenting evidence before a grand
jury, obtaining criminal complaints and warrants, prosecuting a case, and other
actions undertaken as an advocate for the government. See Burns v. Reed, 500 U.S.
478, 485–92 (1991); Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 420–31 (1976). Where "a
prosecutor is acting within the scope of his proper prosecutorial capacity, these
actions are cloaked with the same immunity granted to judges." Barnes v. Dorsey,
480 F.2d 1057, 1060 (8th Cir. 1973); Wilhelm v. Turner, 431 F.2d 177, 182-83 (8th
Cir. 1981); cf. Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 430-31 (1976)(prosecutor
absolutely immune from suit for damages under § 1983 for alleged violations
committed in "initiating a prosecution and in presenting the state's case"); Myers v.
Morris, 810 F.2d 1437, 1446-48 (8th Cir. 1987)(immunity extends to allegations of
The Court will also dismiss this action as to defendant St. Louis City Police
Department Lab, because plaintiff has failed to assert any claims against it, and police
departments are not suable entities under § 1983. See Ketchum v. City of West
Memphis, Ark., 974 F.2d 81, 82 (8th Cir. 1992); see also De La Garza v. Kandiyohi
County Jail, 2001 WL 987542, at *1 (8th Cir. 2001) (sheriff's departments and police
departments are not usually considered legal entities subject to suit under § 1983);
Alsbrook v. City of Maumelle, 184 F.3d 999, 1010 (8th Cir. 1999)(§ 1983 suit cannot
be brought against state agency), cert. dismissed, 529 U.S. 1001 (2000).
Regarding plaintiff’s request to be released from prison, the Court notes that
habeas corpus is the proper mechanism for an inmate to challenge his confinement.
See Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 490 (1973). As such, plaintiff’s claims
relative to his release would have to be brought as a separate habeas action under 28
U.S.C. § 2254, rather than the instant 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action.
Last, federal district courts are courts of original jurisdiction; they lack subject
matter jurisdiction to engage in appellate review of state court decisions. Postma v.
First Fed. Sav. & Loan, 74 F.3d 160, 162 (8th Cir. 1996). "Review of state court
decisions may be had only in the Supreme Court." Id. Thus, to the extent that
plaintiff is challenging and seeking to overturn Missouri state-court judgments, his
remedies, if any, lie not in federal district court, but rather, with the Missouri state
courts or the United States Supreme Court.
For these reasons, the instant action will be dismissed, without prejudice.
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 plaintiff shall pay an initial partial filing
fee of $13.50 within thirty (30) days from the date of this order. Plaintiff is instructed
to make his remittance payable to "Clerk, United States District Court," and to
include upon it: (1) his name; (2) his prison registration number; (3) the case number;
and (4) that the remittance is for an original proceeding.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff’s motion to add St. Louis City
Police Department Lab as a defendant to this action [Doc. #5] 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).
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that all remaining pending motions are
DENIED as moot.
A separate Order of Dismissal shall accompany this Memorandum and Order.
Dated this 11th day of June, 2013.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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