Staley v. State of South Carolina et al
ORDER adopting Report and Recommendations of Magistrate Judge Bristow Marchant and dismissing this action without prejudice and without issuing summonses. Signed by Honorable Richard M Gergel on 3/7/2016.(cwhi, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA:
Lester Staley, Jr.,
ZO Ib HflR - 1 P 12: 3 3
Civil Action No.: 2:15-cv-4556-RMG
State of South Carolina, North Charleston
Police Department, Public Defender
This matter comes before the Court on the Report & Recommendation (R & R) of the
Magistrate Judge (Dkt. No. 15). For the reasons below, the Court adopts the R & R as the order
of the court and dismisses the complaint without prejudice and without issuance and service of
On November 9,2015, Plaintiff submitted a letter to the Court which was docketed as his
complaint. (Dkt. No.1). In his letter, Plaintiff requests (l) that the public defender assigned to
his state criminal case be relieved, (2) that new counsel be appointed, and (3) that the Court
dismiss his arrest warrant because he does not believe that it was signed by a judge and contains
an incorrect address.
On November 17,2015, Plaintiff was provided with a complaint form and directed to
return it, a summons form for all Defendants, and Form USM-285 for all Defendants no later
than December 11, 2015.
Plaintiff submitted summons forms for all Defendants, but he
submitted a USM-285 form only for Defendant Lewis.
On December 23,2015, Plaintiff filed a letter complaining about arrests from 2014 and
2015. (Dkt. Nos. 10, 10-1). January 27, 2016, Plaintiff filed another letter complaining about a
2015 burglary charge. (Dkt. No. 11). On February 1, 2016, the Magistrate Judge issued an R &
R recommending that the Court dismiss the complaint without prejudice and without issuing
summonses. (Dkt. No. 15). And on February 12,2016, Plaintiff filed a response. (Dkt. NO. 17).
The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court. The recommendation
has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility for making a final determination remains with
this Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261,270-71 (1976). This Court is charged with making
a de novo determination of those portions of the R&R to which specific objection is made.
Additionally, the Court may "accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or
recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). This Court may also
"receive further evidence or recommit the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions."
"A document filed pro se is to be liberally construed, and a pro se complaint, however
inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers." Erickwn v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (internal citations and quotation marks
removed). Even taking this liberal pleading standard into account, Plaintiff s compliant must be
First, to the extent that Plaintiff seeks to be released from prison, he can do so only
through a habeas action.
See Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 500 (1973); Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 US. 477 (1994) (reiterating that release from prison is unavailable under 42
US.C. § 1983).
Similarly, a federal court may not interfere in a state's pending criminal
proceedings. See Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 44 (1971). Finally, Defendant Lewis is
entitled to a summary dismissal because Plaintiffs complaint and subsequent letters do not
allege that he acted under color of state law, which is a requirement of actions under 42 US.c.
Plaintiffs letter in response to the R & R does not directly address any of these issues. In
fact, its primary aim appears to be to again allege that the arrest warrant and affidavit from 2014
have not been signed by a judge.
(Dkt. No. 17 at 1 ("I just want to dwell on the arrest
warrant ... and affidavit ...."). It closes by requesting "competent, sufficient and effective
Again, even by the most lenient standards of reading pro se complaints,
Plaintiffs complaint fails to state a claim and must be dismissed.
For the aforementioned reasons, this Court ADOPTS the R & R as the order of this Court
and dismisses this action without prejudice and without issuing summonses.
AND IT IS SO ORDERED.
United States District Court Judge
Charleston, South Carolina
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