Thames v. Gonzales

Filing 6

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER granting 3 Application for Leave to Proceed without Prepayment of Filing Fee, dismissing without prejudice 1 Complaint. (Signed by Judge Sim Lake) Parties notified. (aboyd, 4)

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United States District Court Southern District of Texas ENTERED October 27, 2017 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS HOUSTON DIVISION TRAHEEM THAMES, SPN #02806855, Plaintiff, v. HARRIS COUNTY SHERIFF ED GONZALES, Defendant. § § § § § § § § § § David J. Bradley, Clerk CIVIL ACTION NO. H-17-3100 MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER The plaintiff, Traheem Thames, is currently in custody at the Thames has filed a Prisoner's Civil Rights Harris County Jail. Complaint No. 1), under 42 U.S. C. § 1983 challenging state court ("Complaint") (Docket criminal proceedings Entry that are pending against him in Harris County. Thames has submitted an "Affidavit court of Indigency," which the construes as an application for leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee (Docket Entry No. court is required to 3). Because Thames is incarcerated, scrutinize the claims and dismiss the the Complaint, in whole or in part, if it determines that the Complaint "is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted" or "seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). After considering the pleadings the court concludes that this case must be dismissed for the reasons explained below. I . Background Thames is presently in custody at the Harris County Jail as the result of trafficking, others. 1 criminal charges filed compelling prostitution, against him for human and sexual assault, among Public records confirm that Thames was booked into the Harris County Jail on October 9, 2016, after he was charged with the following felony offenses: 151545501010; No. aggravated sexual assault, Cause sexual aggravated assault, Cause No. 151545601010; and possession of a controlled substance, Cause No. 150957401010. 2 On April 11, 2017, the following additional charges were lodged against Thames: sexual assault of a child, Cause No. 154742701010; compelling prostitution of a child younger than 18, Cause No. 154742601010; trafficking conduct, Cause No. 154742501010. 3 of a child prohibited All of these charges are pending in the 179th District Court for Harris County, Texas. Thames has filed this civil rights lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzales, alleging that he was denied a prompt probable cause determination within 48 hours of his arrest on October 9, 2016. 4 1 Arguing that his Fourth Amendment Complaint, Docket Entry No. 1, p. 4. 2 Harris County District Clerk's Office website, located at: (last visited Oct. 26, 2017). 3 Id. 4 Complaint, Docket Entry No. 1, p. Memorandum, Docket Entry No. 2, pp. 1-3. -2- 4; see also Legal rights have been violated, Thames asks for the charges against him to be "dismissed with prejudice" and he asks this court to order his immediate release from custody. 5 II. allegations Thames' Discussion concern criminal currently pending against him in state court. charges that are Absent extraordinary circumstances the doctrine of abstention announced in Younger v. Harris, 91 S. Ct. federal court with DeSpain v. 746, 751 a pending Johnston, (1971), state 731 F.2d 1171, prohibits interference by a criminal 1176 prosecution. (5th Cir. 1984) See ("The Younger doctrine establishes a presumption that the federal courts should abstain in cases in which a state criminal proceeding is pending."); see also Louisiana Debating and Literary Ass'n v. City of New Orleans, 42 F. 3d 1483, 1489 (5th Cir. 1995) ("[Abstention] 'is generally deemed appropriate [when] assumption of jurisdiction by a federal court would interfere with pending state proceedings, whether of a criminal, civil, or even administrative character.'") (citation omitted). Thames has an adequate avenue for raising his claims in state court, where records show that he is represented by counsel. pleadings in extraordinary this case circumstances intervention is warranted. 5 do not are otherwise present or demonstrate that federal The that court Under these circumstances the court Complaint, Docket Entry No. 1, p. 4. -3- must abstain from exercising jurisdiction over the plaintiff's claims. III. Conclusion and Order Based on the foregoing, the court ORDERS as follows: 1. The application for leave prepayment of the filing fee is GRANTED. to proceed without (Docket Entry No. 3) 2. Officials at the Harris County Jail are directed to deduct the filing fee for indigent litigants ( $350. 00) from the Inmate Trust Fund account of Traheem Thames (SPN #02806855) in periodic installments pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b), and forward those funds to the Clerk of Court until the entire fee is paid. 3. The Prisoner's Civil Rights Complaint filed by Traheem Thames (Docket Entry No. 1) is DISMISSED without prejudice. The Clerk is directed to provide a copy of this Memorandum Opinion and Order to the plaintiff. The Clerk will also provide a copy of this order by regular mail or electronic mail to the Barris County Jail Inmate Trust Fund, Attn: Sergeant Tom Katz, 1200 Baker Street, Houston, Texas, 77002, phone: (713) 755-8436, fax: 713-7554546. SIGNED at Houston, Texas, on this~~ th day SIM LAKE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE -4-

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