United States District Court, D. South Carolina
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
BRISTOW MARCHANT, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff, Tajuan Pringle, proceeding pro se and in forma
pauperis, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.c. Â§ 1983.
Plaintiff is a pretrial detainee at the Dorchester County
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 and Â§ 1915A,
the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub.L. No. 104-134, 110
Stat. 1321 (1996), and in light of the following precedents:
Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25 (1992), Neitzke
v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319 (1989), Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972), Nasim v. Warden,
Maryland House of Corr., 64 F.3d 951 (4th Cir. 1995),
and Todd v. Baskerville, 712 F.2d 70 (4th Cir.
1983). Pro se complaints are held to a less stringent
standard than those drafted by attorneys, Gordon v.
Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978), and a
federal district court is charged with liberally construing a
pro se complaint to allow the development of a potentially
meritorious case. Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9
(1980); Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319 (1972);
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (citing
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56
even when considered pursuant to this liberal standard, for
the reasons set forth herein below this case 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 which set forth a claim
cognizable in a federal district court. See Weller v.
Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990);
see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679-679
(2009) [outlining pleading requirements under the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure].
alleges that he was charged, as to incidents which allegedly
occurred at a Little Caesar's restaurant in Summerville,
South Carolina on November 11, 2014, with armed robbery (two
counts), kidnaping, burglary second, and possession of a
weapon during a violent crime. Plaintiff alleges that the
vehicle allegedly used in the crime was traced back to a
woman who stated that Plaintiff and his co-defendant used her
car to go to the Dollar General Store approximately an hour
before the alleged crimes occurred, and they were only gone
for fifteen minutes. Plaintiff claims that even though no
detective has attempted to question Plaintiff or his
co-defendant about whether the vehicle owner's statement
is true, he has been detained since December 2014 with no
bond. He complains that in January 2016, the Solicitor stated
to Judge "Dixon" that he was not ready for trial
because he needed to determine if the Dollar General Store
had video surveillance from November 11, 2014, and that
"[t]he court is continuously agreeing with the
Solicitor's recommendation to deny bond on all charges,
" but the Solicitor is still not (after fourteen months)
prepared to go to trial. Plaintiff also claims he has not
seen or spoken to his attorney in approximately a month.
Complaint, ECF No. 1 at 2-4. Plaintiff writes that he is
attempting to litigate "improper procedures in court
room." Id. at 2. He asks this Court to
determine if anything can be done regarding the setting of a
bond or a trial date. Plaintiff also seeks dismissal of all
the charges. ECF No. 1 at 4-5.
to the extent Plaintiff is requesting release from detention,
such relief is not available in a civil action and may only
be obtained in a habeas action. See Preiser v.
Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 500 (1973)[complaint or
petition challenging the fact or duration of confinement
should be construed and processed as a habeas corpus
petition, while a complaint or petition challenging the
conditions of confinement should be construed and processed
as a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Â§ 1983]; Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 481 (1994) [stating that
"habeas corpus is the exclusive remedy for a state
prisoner who challenges the fact or duration of his
confinement and seeks immediate or speedier release, even
though such a claim may come within the literal terms of Â§
1983"]. As such, if Plaintiff wishes to challenge the
fact or duration of his confinement, he must obtain habeas
forms from the Clerk of Court and file a separate action,
after he has fully exhausted his state court
the only named Defendant, the Dorchester County Court,
is entitled to summary dismissal as a party Defendant because
it is not a state actor under Â§ 1983. A court is not a
"person" subject to suit under Â§
1983. See Mumford v. Basinski, 105
F.3d 264, 268 (6th Cir.1997). Even if, by liberally
construing the Complaint, an inference could be made that
Plaintiff meant instead to bring this case against
"Judge Dixon, " a judge is entitled to absolute
judicial immunity from suit for all actions taken in his
judicial capacity. See Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9
(1991); Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 351-64
(1978); Pressly v. Gregory, 831 F.2d 514, 517 (4th
Cir. 1987)[a suit by South Carolina inmate against two
Virginia magistrates]; 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."]; see also Siegert v.
Gilley, 500 U.S. 226 (1991) [immunity presents a
threshold question which should be resolved before discovery
is even allowed]; accord Bolin v. Story, 225 F.3d
1234 (11th Cir. 2000) [discussing judicial immunity of United
States District Judges and United States Circuit Judges].
Plaintiff also appears to make allegations in the body of his
Complaint against his attorney and the Solicitor, he has not
named these persons as defendants. Further, a solicitor is
entitled to absolute immunity for activities performed as
"an officer of the court" where the conduct at
issue is closely associated with the judicial phase of the
criminal process. See Van de Kamp v. Goldstein, 555
U.S. 335, 341-343 (2009). For example, when a prosecutor
"prepares to initiate a judicial proceeding, "
"appears in court to present evidence in support of a
search warrant application, " or conducts a criminal
trial, bond hearings, grand jury proceedings, and pre-trial
"motions" hearings, absolute immunity applies.
Id. at 343; see also Buckley v.
Fitzsimmons, 509 U.S. 259 (1993); Dababnah v.
Keller-Burnside, 208 F.3d 467 (4th Cir. 2000).
Additionally, a criminal defendant's attorney, whether
retained, court-appointed, or a public defender, does not act
under color of state law. See Polk Cnty. v. Dodson,
454 U.S. 312, 317-324 nn. 8-16 (1981)("A lawyer
representing a client is not, by virtue of being an officer
of the court, a state actor under color of state law'
within the meaning of Â§ 1983."]; Hall v.
Quillen, 631 F.2d 1154, 1155-1156 & nn. 2-3 (4th Cir.
1980)[court-appointed attorney]; Deas v. Potts, 547
F.2d 800 (4th Cir. 1976)[private attorney]. Therefore, even
if Plaintiff had named these individuals as party Defendants,
they would be entitled to dismissal.
Plaintiff also appears to request that this Court intervene
in the criminal actions pending against him in state court.
However, absent extraordinary circumstances, federal courts
are not authorized to interfere with a State's pending
criminal proceedings. See, e.g., Younger v. Harris,
401 U.S. 37, 44 (1971); Cinema Blue of Charlotte, Inc. v.
Gilchrist, 887 F.2d 49, 50-53 (4th Cir. 1989). In Cinema
Blue of Charlotte, Inc., the United States Court of Appeals
for the Fourth Circuit ruled that federal district courts
should abstain from constitutional challenges to state
judicial proceedings, no matter how meritorious, if the
federal claims have been or could be presented in an ongoing
state judicial proceeding. Id. at 52. Moreover, the
Anti-Injunction Act, 28 U.S.C. Â§ 2283, expressly prohibits
this court from enjoining such proceedings. See Bonner v.
Circuit Court of St. Louis, 526 F.2d 1331, 1336 (8th
Cir. 1975) (en banc)["Congress and the federal judiciary
have consistently recognized that federal courts should
permit state courts to try state cases, and that, where
constitutional issues arise, state court judges are fully
competent to handle them subject to Supreme Court
review."]; cf. District of Columbia Court of Appeals
v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 476 (1983) [federal courts
cannot review state court proceeding in appellate sense];
Gurley v. Superior Court of Mecklenburg Cnty., 411
F.2d 586, 587-88 & nn.2-4 (4th Cir. 1969)[federal courts may
not issue writs of mandamus against state courts]. Thus, this
Court should not intervene in Plaintiff's pending
on the foregoing, it is recommended that the Court dismiss
Plaintiffs Complaint without prejudice and without issuance
and service of process.