Anderson v. United States of America
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis [ECF No. 2] is GRANTED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff shall pay an initial filing fee of $25.00 within thirty (30) days of 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 this action is DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). An Order of Dismissal will accompany this Memorandum and Order.. Signed by District Judge Rodney W. Sippel on 6/9/15. (LGK)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
No. 4:15CV461 RWS
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Plaintiff, a prisoner, seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this civil action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Having reviewed plaintiff’s financial
information the Court assesses a partial initial filing fee of $25.00, which is twenty percent of his
average monthly deposit. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b).
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the Court is required to dismiss a complaint filed in forma
pauperis if it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
To state a claim for relief under § 1983, a complaint must plead more than “legal conclusions”
and “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action [that are] supported by mere
conclusory statements.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). A plaintiff must
demonstrate a plausible claim for relief, which is more than a “mere possibility of misconduct.”
Plaintiff has been charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess heroin with the intent
to distribute heroin and possession with intent to distribute heroin. United States v. Anderson,
4:13CR164 RWS (E.D. Mo.). That case is currently awaiting trial before me. In his criminal
case, plaintiff – who has insisted on representing himself with the assistance of standby counsel
only – has repeatedly argued that he has a right under the First Amendment and the Religious
Freedom Restoration Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb (RFRA), to conspire to distribute and possess
heroin. In the instant civil case plaintiff alleges that he “is a student of Esoteric and Mysticism
studies” and that he distributes heroin to “the sick, lost, blind, lame, deaf, and dead members of
Gods’ Kingdom” to save their souls and further his religious beliefs. Plaintiff admits that he
“does not formally ascribe to any organized religion” and that his “religion beliefs derive from
his transcendental union with the divine in this Life through meditation and other disciplines.”
Plaintiff claims that he formed “a religious non-Profit” called K.O.D.I. “for the purpose of
carrying out the mandates of the Royal Law, and the biblical directives contained in James 1:27.”
Plaintiff admits that he provides heroin to others, alleging that his “practice of providing herion
[sic], for the express purpose of faith-based detoxification and maintenance treatment programs
for the sick and afflicted adult individuals is an exercise of [his] sincerely held religious belief.”
Plaintiff believes that his prosecution for “offering herion [sic] for the expressed purpose of
detoxification treatment and maintenance treatment” violates his rights to practice his “religion”
under the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb. He
seeks a declaration that the decision of the government “to require plaintiff to be held for trial on
the alleged indictment [is] in violation of RFRA” and that he be “permitted as of right to use
herion [sic] as a religious detoxification method for all of its intended and stated purposes.”
In the interests of justice, I addressed the arguments raised in this case in
Anderson’s underlying criminal case. And, for the reasons set out in my Memorandum and
Order dated June 5, 2015  in Cause No. 4:13CR164, plaintiff’s argument is legally
frivolous and fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. The First Amendment is
not implicated when the government enforces neutral, generally applicable, valid narcotics laws.
E.g., Employment Div., Dept. of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith, 492 U.S. 872, 890
(1990) (denying Free Exercise Clause claim by sacramental peyote users because the right to free
exercise of religion does not relive an individual of the obligation to comply with a valid and
neutral law of general applicability on the ground that the law proscribes conduct that his
religion prescribes); United States v. Meyers, 95 F.3d 1475, 1480-81 (10th Cir. 1996) (same;
distribution of marijuana).
“While the freedom to believe and profess whatever religious
doctrines one desires is absolute, the freedom to act cannot be.” Id. at 1480. “Conduct remains
subject to regulation for the protection of society. The freedom to act must have appropriate
definition to preserve the enforcement of that protection.” Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S.
296, 304 (1940). Moreover, plaintiff lacks a valid defense to prosecution under RFRA as the
government has a compelling interest in regulating heroin and the Controlled Substances Act is
the least restrictive means to achieve this interest.
For the same reasons set out in my
Memorandum and Order dated June 5, 2015  in Cause No. 4:13CR164, this action is
dismissed under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis [ECF
No. 2] is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff shall pay an initial filing fee of $25.00
within thirty (30) days of 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
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this action is DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
An Order of Dismissal will accompany this Memorandum and Order.
RODNEY W. SIPPEL
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 9th day of June, 2015.
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