MADISON v. THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE CENTER et al
MEMORANDUM AND/OR OPINIONSIGNED BY HONORABLE THOMAS N. ONEILL, JR ON 11/14/13. 11/14/13 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED TO PRO SE PLAINTIFF.(rf, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE CENTER, et al.
By t; "
Yvette Madison brings this pro se civil action against the
Criminal Justice Center and Philadelphia Municipal Court Judges
Marsha Neifeild and David Shuter.
She seeks to proceed in forma
For the following reasons, the Court will grant
plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis and dismiss her
complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
1915(e) (2) (B).
Plaintiff alleges that she was arrested and discriminated
against by Judges Shuter and Neifield.
She also claims to have
been falsely imprisoned at Norristown State Hospital "with false
charges pressed against [her]."
that plaintiff's claims are based on a criminal proceeding
brought against her in the Philadelphia Municipal Court.
The docket for that proceeding reflects that
Judges Shuter and Neifield presided over plaintiff's criminal
case at various times and, in the course of doing so, issued a
bench warrant for her arrest, withdrew that warrant, and had her
committed to Norristown State Hospital after concluding that she
was not competent to proceed with trial.
Plaintiff asserts that
Judge Neifield "kept finding [her] not competent because
[plaintiff] was suing [the Judge]."
(Compl. ~ III.C.)
After her release from Norristown State Hospital, plaintiff
initiated this action, claiming "obstruction of justice,
harassment, retaliation, racism discrimination, false
[violations of her]
ath and 14th [Amendment]
pain and suffering & emotional distress, conspiracy, and
She seeks $2 million in damages.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
As plaintiff has satisfied the criteria set forth in 28
U.S.C. § 1915, she is granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
Accordingly, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) (2) (B) applies.
requires the Court to dismiss the complaint if it is frivolous or
malicious, fails to state a claim, or seeks monetary relief from
a defendant who is immune.
Whether a complaint fails to state a
claim under§ 1915(e) is governed by the same standard applicable
to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b) (6), §§g Tourscher v. McCullough, 184 F.3d 236, 240 (3d Cir.
1999), which requires the Court to determine whether the
complaint contains "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true,
to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face."
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
The Court may also consider matters of public record.
Hampton TwP. Sch. Dist., 452 F.3d 256, 260 (3d Cir. 2006).
plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court must construe her
Higgs v. Att'y Gen., 655 F.3d 333, 339
(3d Cir. 2011).
The Court understands plaintiff to be raising constitutional
claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
1983, and related state law claims
based on her arrest and related commitment to Norristown State
However, her claims must be dismissed because all of
the defendants are entitled to immunity.
The Criminal Justice
Center, a court that is part of Pennsylvania's Unified Judicial
System, is entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity and, in any
event, is not a "person" for purposes of
See Will v.
Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 66 (1989)
1983 "does not provide a federal forum for litigants who
seek a remedy against a State for alleged deprivations of civil
liberties"); Benn v. First Judicial Dist. of Pa., 426 F.3d 233,
235 n.1 & 241 (3d Cir. 2005)
(holding that Pennsylvania courts
are entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity) .
Furthermore, as it
is apparent that plaintiff is suing Judges Neifield and Shuter
based on acts they took in their judicial capacity, the judges
are entitled to absolute judicial immunity.
See Gallas v.
Supreme Court of Pa., 211 F.3d 760, 768 (3d Cir. 2000)
are immune from suit under section 1983 for monetary damages
arising from their judicial acts."); see also Figueroa v.
Blackburn, 208 F.3d 435, 441-42 (3d Cir. 2000)
judges of courts of limited jurisdiction are entitled to judicial
immunity); Langella v. Cercone, 34 A.3d 835, 838 (Pa. Super. Ct.
("[J]udges are absolutely immune from liability for damages
when performing judicial acts, even if their actions are in error
or performed with malice
(quotations omitted and
alteration in original) .
A district court should generally provide a pro se plaintiff
with leave to amend unless amendment would be inequitable or
See Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 114
(3d Cir. 2002).
Here, amendment would be futile because
plaintiff cannot cure the deficiencies in her complaint.
Accordingly, plaintiff will not be permitted to file an amended
For the foregoing reasons, the Court will dismiss
An appropriate order follows.
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