Gillespie v. State of Ohio et al
Memorandum Opinion and Order: Accordingly, this action is dismissed under section 1915A. The Court certifies, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), that an appeal from this decision could not be taken in good faith. Judge Patricia A. Gaughan on 8/21/17. (LC,S)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
CLIFFORD GILLESPIE, JR.
STATE OF OHIO, et al.,
CASE NO. 1:17 CV 1528
JUDGE PATRICIA A. GAUGHAN
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION
On July 20, 2017, Plaintiff pro se Clifford D. Gillespie, Jr., an inmate at the Cuyahoga
County Jail, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against the State of Ohio, the Court of Common
Pleas of Cuyahoga County, and Harvey B. Bruner. He alleges that the trial judge in his criminal
case has not permitted him to represent himself, and that his criminal trial has been delayed
without his consent. For the reasons stated below, this action is dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
Standard of Review
A district court is expressly required to dismiss any civil action filed by a prisoner
seeking relief from a governmental officer or entity, as soon as possible after docketing, if the
court concludes that the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if
the plaintiff seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C.
§1915A; Siller v. Dean, No. 99-5323, 2000 WL 145167 , at *2 (6th Cir. Feb. 1, 2000).
Principles requiring generous construction of pro se pleadings are not without limits.
Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1277 (4th Cir. 1985). A complaint must contain
either direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material elements of some viable legal
theory to satisfy federal notice pleading requirements. See Schied v. Fanny Farmer Candy
Shops, Inc., 859 F.2d 434, 437 (6th Cir. 1988). District courts are not required to conjure up
questions never squarely presented to them. Beaudette, 775 F.2d at 1278. To do so would
"require ...[the courts] to explore exhaustively all potential claims of a pro se plaintiff, ... [and]
would...transform the district court from its legitimate advisory role to the improper role of an
advocate seeking out the strongest arguments and most successful strategies for a party." Id.
Even liberally construed, the Complaint does not set forth a valid federal claim. A
federal court must decline to interfere with pending state proceedings involving important state
interests unless extraordinary circumstances are present. See Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37,
44-45 (1971). Abstention is appropriate if: (1) state proceedings are on-going; (2) the state
proceedings implicate important state interests; and (3) the state proceedings afford an adequate
opportunity to raise federal questions. Middlesex County Ethics Comm. v. Garden State Bar
Ass’n, 457 U.S. 423, 432 (1982). Abstention is mandated whether the state court proceeding is
criminal, quasi-criminal, or civil in nature as long as federal court intervention “unduly interferes
with the legitimate activities of the State.” Younger, 401 U.S. at 44.
All three factors supporting abstention are present in this case. The issues presented in
the Complaint are clearly the subject of a state court criminal matter, which are of paramount
state interest. See Younger, 401 U.S. at 44-45. Furthermore, Plaintiff has not set forth facts
which reasonably suggest the Ohio courts cannot or will not provide an adequate opportunity for
him to raise his constitutional claims. Consequently, this court is required to abstain from
intervening in the Ohio court proceedings.
Finally, to the extent Plaintiff challenges "the very fact or duration of his physical
imprisonment, ... his sole federal remedy is a writ of habeas corpus." Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411
U.S. 475, 501 (1973).
Accordingly, this action is dismissed under section 1915A. The Court certifies, pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), that an appeal from this decision could not be taken in good faith.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
/s/ Patricia A Gaughan
PATRICIA A. GAUGHAN
United States District Court
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