Letizia v. Hickman et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER granting 2 APPLICATION to Proceed In Forma Pauperis Email sent to Manager of Three Strikes List, dismissing with prejudice 1 Complaint. (Signed by Judge Sim Lake) Parties notified. (aboyd, 4)
United States District Court
Southern District of Texas
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
RICHARD VINCENT LETIZIA,
HARRIS COUNTY SHERIFF RON
HICKMAN, et al.,
April 13, 2018
David J. Bradley, Clerk
CIVIL ACTION NO. H-18-0930
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
The plaintiff, Richard Vincent Letizia, also known as Richard
Harris County Jail.
Letizia has filed a Complaint for Violation of
Civil Rights under 42 U.S.C.
No. 1), alleging constitutional violations in connection with an
Letizia has also filed an Application to
Proceed in District Court Without Prepaying Fees or Costs (Docket
required to scrutinize the claims and dismiss the Complaint,
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) .
the pleadings, the court concludes that this case must be dismissed
for the reasons explained below.
private property by officers on a "fugitive squad" and booked into
the Harris County Jail on July 6,
offense he committed in Florida. 1
in connection with an
Letizia contends further that he
Alleging violations of the Fourth Amendment and the Due Process
Abbott, and Florida Governor Rick Scott. 3
He asks this court to
dismiss the fugitive charges against him and award a total of $4.2
million in damages from each defendant for the violation of his
constitutional rights. 4
remanding Letizia for
Florida on September 20,
Letizia has challenged that order on appeal, which remains
Complaint, Docket Entry No. 1, p. 12.
Id. at 15-16.
Id. at 2-3, 12-18.
Id. at 18-20.
See State of Texas v. Richard Letizia, Cause No. 2100551
(Harris Cnty. Crim. Ct. at Law No. 10, Sept. 20, 2016), available
through the Office of
the Harris County District Clerk,
http://www.hcditrict.clerk.com (last visited April 12, 2018).
pending in state court.
See Ex parte Richard Vincent Letizia,
Appeal No. 01-16-00808-CR (Tex. App. -Houston [1st Dist.]).
All of the defendants listed in the Complaint are supervisory
To the extent that Letizia contends that his initial
defendants were personally involved in that incident or that his
result of a
constitutionally deficient policy. 7
Absent personal involvement or the existence of a constitutionally
deficient policy enforced by any of these supervisory officials,
Letizia fails to state a claim for false arrest against them. 8
Thompkins v. Belt, 828 F.2d 298, 303-04 (5th Cir. 1987).
Complaint, Docket Entry No.
4 and 8
According to Letizia, the Governor of Florida requested his
extradition, which was approved by the Governor of Texas, following
Letizia's arrest by the fugitive squad.
See Complaint, Docket
Entry No. 1, p. 14.
Under these circumstances, the Uniform
Criminal Extradition Act authorizes the arrest and extradition of
anyone in Texas who is wanted in connection with a criminal offense
in another state.
See Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Art. 51.13, §§ 7-9
(detailing the governor's duty to issue a warrant of arrest which
"shall authorize" a peace officer or other person to arrest the
accused "at any time and any place where he may be found within the
Letizia appears to concede that he was arrested by fugitive
squad officers on July 6, 2016, because he had "outstanding
warrants" from Florida. See Complaint, Docket Entry No. 1, p. 12.
Under these circumstances, he does not show that his arrest lacked
See, e.g., United States v. McDonald, 606 F.2d
552, 553-54 (5th Cir. 1979) (per curiam) (holding that officer had
probable cause to arrest the defendant if he reasonably believed
that he was the subject of an outstanding warrant).
Letizia also fails to state a due process claim concerning his
confinement while awaiting extradition.
It is well established
that a prisoner cannot recover money damages based on allegations
of "unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for other harm
caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render a conviction or
expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a state tribunal
authorized to make such determination, or called into question by
a federal court's issuance of a writ of habeas corpus
Heck v. Humphrey, 114 S. Ct. 2364, 2372
validity of the state court's extradition order, which has not been
invalidated or set aside,
barred by the rule in Heck.
See Knowlin v. Thompson, 207 F.3d 907,
909 (7th Cir. 2000)
procedures are barred by Heck).
dismissed with prejudice.
for monetary damages are
1983 challenges to extradition
Accordingly, those claims must be
See Johnson v. McElveen, 101 F.3d 423,
(explaining that claims barred by Heck are
"dismissed with prejudice to their being asserted again until the
Heck conditions are met").
To the extent that Letizia asks this court to intervene in an
extradite him to Florida,
relief also fails.
his civil rights claim for injunctive
Under the well-established doctrine set out in
Younger v. Harris,
cannot interfere in state criminal proceedings unless extraordinary
circumstances are present.
(5th Cir. 2018).
See Gates v. Strain, 885 F.3d 874, 880
Because Letizia is challenging the extradition
proceeding on appeal in state court, he does not show that he lacks
an adequate opportunity to raise his constitutional challenges in
that forum or that extraordinary circumstances otherwise warrant
Therefore, this case will be dismissed for
failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted under 42
1983 and as legally frivolous for purposes of 28 U.S.C.
Conclusion and Order
Based on the foregoing,
the court ORDERS as follows:
The Application to Proceed in District
Without Prepaying Fees or Costs (Docket
No. 2) is GRANTED.
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
§ 1915(b), and forward those funds to the Clerk of
Court until the entire fee is paid.
Letizia's Complaint for Violation of Civil Rights
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Docket Entry No. 1) is
DISMISSED with prejudice.
The dismissal will count as a strike for purposes
of 28 U.S.C. § 1915 (g).
The Clerk is directed to provide a copy of this Memorandum
Opinion and Order to the plaintiff.
The Clerk will also provide a
this Memorandum Opinion and Order by regular mail
electronic mail to:
(1) the Harris County Jail Inmate Trust Fund,
Attn: Sergeant Tom Katz, 1200 Baker Street, Houston, Texas 77002,
phone: 713-755-8436, fax: 713-755-4546; and (2) the Three Strikes
List at Three_Strikes@txs.uscourts.gov.
SIGNED at Houston, Texas, on this the 13th day of April, 2018.
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