BALLARD v. WEINER et al
MEMORANDUM AND/OR OPINION. SIGNED BY HONORABLE TIMOTHY J. SAVAGE ON 3/30/21. 3/31/21 ENTERED AND COPIES NOT MAILED TO PRO SE.(rf, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
STEVEN WEINER and GINA CLARK
March 30, 2021
Todd Ballard, a prisoner currently incarcerated at SCI-Phoenix, initiated this action
by filing two documents on forms entitled “Private Criminal Complaint.” The forms are
provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for use of complainants to initiate private
criminal proceedings in state court. The Clerk of Court treated the filings as commencing
a civil action.
On December 22, 2020, we ordered the Clerk to provide Ballard with the Court’s
standard form for filing an application to proceed in forma pauperis and ordered Ballard
to complete and file the application with a certified copy of his inmate account statement.
After receiving the Order, Ballard returned the application to proceed in forma pauperis.
He stated unequivocally, “(I submitted Criminal Complaints and a Petition for Injunctive
Relief) not a civil Complaint.”1 He reiterates that he seeks “injunctive relief pending
criminal complaints.”2 Thus, he does not intend to proceed with a civil action.
The Prisoner Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) requires a court to screen a prisoner
complaint for possible dismissal before or as soon as practical after docketing. 28 U.S.C.
Application for Prisoners to Proceed in District Court Without Prepaying Fees or Costs at 1 (Doc. No. 8).
Id. at 2.
§ 1915A(a). The court must dismiss the action if it “(1) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails
to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. Ss 1915(e)(2).
A court may dismiss an action “at any time” whether an IFP application is pending
or not. Thus, a court has the discretion to evaluate an IFP application before, after or
simultaneously with screening the merits. Brown v. Sage, 941 F.3d 655, 660 (3d Cir.
Without ruling on the application to proceed in forma pauperis, we shall dismiss
this action without prejudice to Ballard’s right to proceed in state court. The federal court
does not have the authority to initiate criminal proceedings.
Pennsylvania Healthcare Serv. Staffs, 530 F. App’x 115, 118 (3d Cir. 2013) (per curiam).
Ballard’s recourse is to file his private criminal complaint in the Pennsylvania courts.
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