PALMER v. WEINTRAUB et al
MEMORANDUM AND/OR OPINION. SIGNED BY HONORABLE LAWRENCE F. STENGEL ON 9/11/13. 9/11/13 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED TO PRO SE PETITIONER. (jpd)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
WALTER C. PALMER
Palmer brings this pro se civil rights action,
pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
1983, based on allegations that he was
denied various constitutional rights in connection with criminal
proceedings in the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas that led to
in forma pauperis.
He seeks to proceed
For the following reasons, the Court will
grant plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis and dismiss
his complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
1915(e) (2) (B) (i).
Plaintiff initiated the instant lawsuit against Mathew
Weintraub, the prosecutor who handled his criminal case, and
Nichole Lakeauwitz, who testified against him in state court.
alleges that Weintraub violated several of his constitutional
rights by recharging him with various criminal offenses after
those charges were initially dismissed, by introducing false
testimony from certain witnesses, including Lakeauwitz, and by
introducing evidence in violation of his Fifth Amendment rights.
He also appears to be alleging that Weintraub violated his rights
by making certain objections in the course of the criminal
Plaintiff does not clearly specify the relief he
seeks through this lawsuit.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
As plaintiff has satisfied the criteria set forth in 28
1915, he is granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
§ 1915(e) (2) (B)
requires the Court to dismiss the complaint if, among other
things, it is frivolous.
A complaint is frivolous if it "lacks
an arguable basis either in law or in fact," Neitzke v. Williams,
490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989), and is legally baseless if it is "based
on an indisputably meritless legal theory."
Deutsch v. United
States, 67 F.3d 1080, 1085 (3d Cir. 1995).
Plaintiff's claims lack legal merit because, whether he is
seeking release from imprisonment, declaratory relief, or
monetary relief for violation of his constitutional rights as a
result of his conviction and imprisonment, his claims are not
cognizable in a
1983 action. 1
475, 500 (1973)
See Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411
("[W]hen a state prisoner is challenging the
very fact or duration of his physical imprisonment, and the
relief he seeks is a determination that he is entitled to
immediate release or a speedier release from that imprisonment,
The public record reflects that the sentence plaintiff is
currently serving and his related convictions have not yet been
See Palmer v. Rozum, E.D. Pa. 12-3303; Palmer v.
Rozum, E.D. Pa. Civ. A. No. 11-2353; Palmer v. McCullough, E.D.
Pa. 03-1654; Palmer v. McCullough, E.D. Pa. Civ. A. No. 01-836;
see also 200 EDA 2012; 2519 EDA 2011; CP-09-CR-0003709-1996,
his sole federal remedy is a writ of habeas corpus."); see also
Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 81-82
1983 action is barred (absent prior invalidation)
no matter the relief sought (damages or equitable relief), no
matter the target of the prisoner's suit (state conduct leading
to conviction or internal prison proceedings)
if success in
that action would necessarily demonstrate the invalidity of
confinement or its duration.")
plaintiff's claims against Weintraub are legally frivolous
because Weintraub is entitled to absolute prosecutorial immunity
1983 claims based on acts he took in the course of
charging plaintiff and presenting the Commonwealth's case in
See Imbler v. Pactman, 424 U.S. 409, 431 (1976)
initiating a prosecution and in presenting the State's case, the
prosecutor is immune from a civil suit for damages under s
1983."); Yarris v. Cnty. of Delaware, 465 F.3d 129, 139 (3d Cir.
("[A] prosecutor is absolutely immune from liability for
using false testimony in connection with [a] prosecution.")
(quotations omitted and alteration in original) .
if Lakeauwitz could be considered a state actor for purposes of
1983, she is entitled to absolute immunity from claims based on
her testimony in court.
See Rehberg v. Paulk, 132
Furthermore, plaintiff's apparent request for criminal
charges against Weintraub are not cognizable as a "private
citizen lacks a judicially cognizable interest in the prosecution
or nonprosecution of another." See Linda R.S. v. Richard D., 410
u.s. 614, 619 (1973).
trial witness has absolute immunity [from suit
under § 1983] with respect to any claim based on the witness'
For the foregoing reasons, plaintiff's complaint is
Plaintiff will not be given leave to amend because
amendment would be futile.
See Grayson v. Mayyiew State Hosp.,
293 F.3d 103, 114 (3d Cir. 2002).
An appropriate order follows.
For the above reasons, plaintiff cannot articulate a viable
claim against the named defendants. Nor can the Court discern a
legitimate basis for a timely, cognizable § 1983 claim against
the other individuals referenced in the complaint.
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