Shaw v. Fite
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER - IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (Docket No. 6) is GRANTED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff must pay an initial filing fee of $5.52 within twenty-one (21) 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) the state ment that the remittance is for an original proceeding. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this case is dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Section 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). A separate order of dismissal will be entered herewith. IT IS HEREBY CERTIFIED that an appeal from this dismissal would not be taken in good faith. Signed by District Judge E. Richard Webber on July 26, 2017. (MCB)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
ADRIAN DARCY SHAW,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court upon the motion of plaintiff Adrian Darcy Shaw, an
inmate at the St. Louis City Justice Center, for leave to commence this action without
prepayment of the filing fee. The motion will be granted, and the complaint will be dismissed
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).
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 sixmonth period. 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 his account. 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 $10.00,
until the filing fee is fully paid. Id.
Plaintiff has submitted an affidavit and a certified inmate account statement showing an
average monthly balance of $27.61. The Court will therefore assess an initial partial filing fee of
$5.52, twenty percent of plaintiff’s average monthly balance.
Legal Standard on Initial Review
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), 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, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
A plaintiff must
demonstrate a plausible claim for relief, which is more than a “mere possibility of misconduct.”
Id. at 679. “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows
the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Id. at 678. Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief is a
context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to, inter alia, draw upon judicial
experience and common sense. Id. at 679.
This Court is required to liberally construe a pro se complaint. Haines v. Kerner, 404
U.S. 519, 520 (1972).
However, this does not mean that pro se complaints may be merely
conclusory. Even pro se complaints are required to allege facts which, if true, state a claim for
relief as a matter of law. Martin v. Aubuchon, 623 F.2d 1282, 1286 (8th Cir. 1980); see also
Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914-15 (8th Cir. 2004) (federal courts are not required to “assume
facts that are not alleged, just because an additional factual allegation would have formed a
stronger complaint”). Giving a pro se complaint the benefit of a liberal construction does not
mean that procedural rules in ordinary civil litigation must be interpreted so as to excuse
mistakes by those who proceed without counsel. See McNeil v. U.S., 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993).
Plaintiff brings this civil rights action against Amy Fite, a prosecutor. He alleges that
Fite is prosecuting him, and is using his former cellmate as a witness against him. Plaintiff
attaches a copy of a letter, presumably written by the cellmate, which plaintiff explains he is
“sending for proof of what me and him talked about in my case.” (Docket No. 1 at 1). Plaintiff
states that the things the cellmate says in the letter were “fabricated for his deception.” (Id.) The
letter is not entirely legible, but it obviously contains descriptions of child molestation. (Docket
No. 1, Attch. 1). Plaintiff alleges that Fite is “trying to ruin [his] life” by trying to send him to
prison, that the allegations against him are false, and that this “is a good enough reason to file a
complaint against her.” (Docket No. 1 at 1-2).
The complaint will be dismissed as legally frivolous.
Absolute immunity protects
prosecutors against claims arising from their initiation of a prosecution and presenting a criminal
case. Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 430–31 (1976) (holding that prosecutors are absolutely
immune from civil rights claims based on actions taken while initiating and pursuing a criminal
prosecution); see also Brodnicki v. City of Omaha, 75 F.3d 1261, 1266 (8th Cir. 1996)
(“Absolute immunity covers prosecutorial functions such as the initiation and pursuit of a
criminal prosecution, the presentation of the state’s case at trial, and other conduct that is
intimately associated with the judicial process”); Sample v. City of Woodbury, 836 F.3d 913, 916
(8th Cir. 2016) (same).
In the case at bar, all of Fite’s allegedly unconstitutional conduct falls within the scope of
initiating and pursuing a criminal prosecution. She is therefore immune from suit. Plaintiff’s
allegations that Fite is trying to ruin his life do not save his claim. See Myers v. Morris, 810 F.2d
1437, 1448 (8th Cir. 1987) (prosecutorial immunity extends even to allegations of vindictive
prosecution). Finally, because plaintiff is very clear about the claims he wishes to bring and the
defendant he wishes to sue, allowing him leave to submit an amended complaint would be futile.
This case will therefore be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i).
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff’s motion for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis (Docket No. 6) is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff must pay an initial filing fee of $5.52 within
twenty-one (21) 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) the statement that the remittance is for
an original proceeding.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this case is dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(i). A separate order of dismissal will be entered herewith.
IT IS HEREBY CERTIFIED that an appeal from this dismissal would not be taken in
Dated this 26th day of July, 2017.
E. RICHARD WEBBER
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?