United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division
Torrance A. Gantt, Plaintiff,
Valorie Stroman; and Trooper Trotter, Arresting Officer, Defendants.
REPORT OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE
F. McDONALD, Magistrate Judge.
pro se plaintiff is a resident of Columbia, South
Carolina. According to the complaint, "Valorie"
Stroman, works at 1400 Huger Street in Columbia, South
Carolina. It can be judicially noticed that the plaintiff is
bringing suit against Valerie R. Stroman, a county magistrate
in Richland County, South Carolina. Trooper Trotter is the
"STATEMENT OF CLAIM" portion of the complaint
reveals that this civil rights action arises out of the
plaintiff's arrest and conviction for driving under
suspensionthird offense. The plaintiff alleges: (1) Officer
Trotter did not have probable cause to "pull [the
plaintiff] over" (doc. 1 at 3); (2) Judge Stroman found
the plaintiff guilty of driving under suspension-third
offense in a bench trial where the plaintiff submitted
evidence that proves he was supposed to have his license (
id. ); (3) the plaintiff did not sign the refusal
paper with respect to a urine or blood test ( id. );
(4) the plaintiff still has an "administrative
action" pending against him indicating that he refused a
urine or blood test ( id. ); (5) the plaintiff was
initially charged with DUI, but the plaintiff "blew
0.00" ( id. ); (6) Officer Trotter has received
thousands of dollars from Solicitor Myers "for their
charity" ( id. ); (7) "[t]hey have worked
together in conspiracy to keep [the plaintiff]
oppressed" ( id. ); and (8) it was in Judge
Stroman's power to drop the administrative act, "but
she didn't off [ sic ] of good faith by Officer
Trotter, in which overrided [the plaintiff's] evidence
and testimony" ( id. ). An attachment
incorporated into the complaint indicates that the plaintiff
appealed his conviction to the South Carolina Court of
Appeals, but was unsuccessful in his appeal ( id. at
5). In his prayer for relief, the plaintiff requests that the
"administrative act" and the three driving under
suspension charges be dropped and seeks a refund of the
plaintiff's bond money, restitution to the plaintiff, and
fifty thousand dollars ( id. at 6).
established local procedure in this judicial district, a
careful review has been made of the pro se complaint
pursuant to the procedural provisions of 28 U.S.C. Â§ 1915.
The plaintiff is a pro se litigant, and thus his
pleadings are accorded liberal construction. See
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 90-95 (2007)(
per curiam ). When a federal court is evaluating a
pro se complaint or petition, the plaintiff's
allegations are assumed to be true. Merriweather v.
Reynolds, 586 F.Supp.2d 548, 554 (D.S.C. 2008). Even
under this less stringent standard, the complaint is subject
to summary dismissal. The requirement of liberal construction
does not mean that the court can ignore a clear failure in
the pleading to allege facts that set forth a claim currently
cognizable in a federal district court. Weller v.
Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 390-91 (4th Cir.
the plaintiff was convicted of driving under suspension-third
offense, the above-captioned case is barred by the holding in
Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994),
because a right of action has not accrued.
courts are courts in the State of South Carolina's
unified judicial system. See S.C. Const. Article V,
Â§ 1 ("The judicial power shall be vested in a unified
judicial system, which shall include a Supreme Court, a Court
of Appeals, a Circuit Court, and such other courts of uniform
jurisdiction as may be provided for by general law.");
and City of Pickens v. Schmitz, 376 S.E.2d 271, 272
(S.C. 1989). County magistrates and municipal court judges
are judges in the State of South Carolina's unified
judicial system. See In re Hughes, 710
S.E.2d 75, 75-76 (S.C. 2011). As a county magistrate in the
State of South Carolina's unified judicial system,
Magistrate Stroman is immune from suit with respect to her
actions in the plaintiff's trial for driving under
suspension-third offense. See Mireles v.
Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11 (1991) ("Judicial immunity is
an immunity from suit, not just from ultimate assessment of
damages."); and Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S.
349, 351-64 (1978); Chu v. Griffith, 771 F.2d 79, 81
(4th Cir. 1985) ("It has long been settled that a judge
is absolutely immune from a claim for damages arising out of
his judicial actions.").
federal court cannot issue a writ of mandamus to compel the
South Carolina Department of Public Safety or the South
Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles to change the
"administrative action" against the plaintiff.
Gurley v. Superior Court of Mecklenburg Cnty., 411
F.2d 586, 587-88 (4th Cir. 1969); and Smith v.
Shwedo, Civil Action No. 3:12-2286-CMC-PJG, 2012 WL
5463207, at *3 (D.S.C. Oct. 23, 2012), adopted by
2012 WL 5463089 (D.S.C. Nov. 8, 2012).
on the foregoing, it is recommended that the district court
summarily dismiss the above-captioned case without