TALBERT v. CITY OF PHILADELPHIA et al
MEMORANDUM AND/OR OPINION. SIGNED BY HONORABLE MARK A. KEARNEY ON 10/16/2017. 10/16/2017 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED TO PRO SE.(sg, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, et al.
: CIVIL ACTION
: NO. 17-4209
October 16, 2017
Charles Talbert, a frequent civil rights plaintiff in federal courts, now pro se sues the City
of Philadelphia and the City of Camden claiming his August 2017 arrest on a 2011 warrant
violates his constitutional rights because of the delay from 2011. He does not challenge the
substance of the warrant. Mr. Talbert seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis. We grant him
leave to proceed in forma pauperis and dismiss his complaint as he does not, and cannot, plead a
civil rights claim based on the timing of his arrest.
Officers of the Philadelphia Police Department arrested Mr. Talbert on August 9, 2017
based on a November 2011 warrant from Camden County, New Jersey. Mr. Talbert alleges the
police should have arrested him on the warrant earlier when he had run-ins with the law between
the issuance of the warrant and the time of his arrest. He alleges Camden and Philadelphia have
“maintained a widespread practice of using and operating an inadequate NCIC system that
allows fugatives [sic] to be undetected for several years.”1 Mr. Talbert further alleges he planned
to enroll in community college courses but his arrest on a 2011 warrant interferes with these
college plans. He now sues pro se claiming the City’s delay in arresting him due to allegedly
defective record keeping violates his civil rights.
Mr. Talbert’s may proceed in forma pauperis because, from our review of his motion, it
appears he is incapable of paying the fees to commence this civil action.
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and (ii), we dismiss the complaint if frivolous or fails
to state a claim. A complaint is frivolous if it “lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact,”2,
and is legally baseless if it is “based on an indisputably meritless legal theory.” 3 To survive
dismissal for failure to state a claim, the complaint must contain “sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” 4 “[M]ere conclusory
statements do not suffice.”5
As Mr. Talbert proceeds pro se, we liberally construe his
“To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by
the Constitution and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was
committed by a person acting under color of state law.”6 “[T]here is no constitutional right to be
arrested promptly or otherwise.”7
Mr. Talbert is not alleging probable cause was lacking for his arrest or that the warrant
was facially invalid. Instead, he claims the officers violated his rights by failing to arrest him
earlier – when he had other altercations with the police - as a result of a defective system for
There is no constitutional right to be arrested at a convenient time.
seemingly wishes he had been arrested earlier on his 2011 warrant from Camden County. His
wish for an earlier arrest does not create a constitutional right. He has not alleged sufficient facts
to support a plausible constitutional violation here.
In the accompanying Order, we first allow Mr. Talbert to proceed in forma pauperis but
must dismiss Mr. Talbert’s complaint for failure to state a plausible constitutional claim. Any
claim to be arrested earlier does not create a constitutional claim and never can under these facts.
ECF Doc. No. l at 2.
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989).
Deutsch v. United States, 67 F.3d 1080, 1085 (3d Cir. 1995).
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quotations omitted).
West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
United States v. Joines, 258 F.2d 471, 473 (3d Cir. 1958); see also Hoffa v. United States, 385
U.S. 293, 310 (1966) (“There is no constitutional right to be arrested.”); United States v.
Berkowitz, 429 F.2d 921, 926 (1st Cir. 1970) (“We are unaware of any right of a defendant to be
arrested at a particular time.”); United States v. Toro, 840 F.2d 1221, 1233 (5th Cir. 1988)
(“[L]aw enforcement officials are under no constitutional duty to terminate a criminal
investigation the moment they have an arrest warrant in their hands.”); Dimanche v. Lake Cty.
Sheriff’s Office, No. 10-377-Oc-10TBS, 2012 WL 1532561, at *4 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 30, 2012)
(citing the cases above to dismiss plaintiff’s Eighth Amendment claim under § 1983, finding no
constitutional right to be promptly arrested).
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