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Hawthorne v. Edgefield County

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

November 17, 2016

Leonard Rauch Hawthorne, #253799, Plaintiff,
Edgefield County; Judge Brenda Black Carpenter; Chief Lamaz Robinson; Sheriff Adell Dobey; Roger LeDuc; Micheal W. Chesser, Defendants.


          Jacquelyn D. Austin United States Magistrate Judge.

         Leonard Rauch Hawthorne (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se, brings this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his constitutional rights. Plaintiff is a South Carolina Department of Corrections (“SCDC”) inmate incarcerated at the Manning Correctional Institution. He files this action in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915. This case is subject to summary dismissal.


         Plaintiff filed an original Complaint only against Edgefield County. In response to this Court's Order to require Plaintiff to bring his case into proper form, Plaintiff completed the prisoner form for a civil action, and he named five additional defendants. The two documents now have been linked together as the Complaint. [See Doc. 1.]

         In the instant action, Plaintiff is not complaining about the conditions at Manning Correctional Institution. Instead, he complains about the prison conditions at the Edgefield County Jail in Edgefield, South Carolina, where he spent time in detention. [Doc. 1.] And, he is suing about other matters unrelated to Manning Correctional Institution. [Id.]

         Specifically, Plaintiff alleges the following facts. He is currently serving a sentence in SCDC due to a probation violation. [Doc. 1-2 at 5.] Edgefield County has brought charges against Plaintiff for burglary violent second degree, larceny / grand larceny, and conspiracy. [Doc. 1.] He seems to contend the Edgefield County court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the charges; thus, the warrants should be abated. [Id.] He complains that his due process rights have been violated during the criminal proceedings pending against him. [Id.] Because the appropriate criminal procedures allegedly have not been followed, Plaintiff requests “notice to abate under authority of 28 U.S.C. § 1867(e).” [Id.] He alleges that he was not notified of a grand jury being seated in which he was the target of the investigation, and thus he did not have the opportunity to challenge the individuals seated on the grand jury. And, because of that, Plaintiff contends the state court lacks subject matter jurisdiction and this Court “should abate the Plaintiff's claims.” [Id.]

         Chief Lamaz Robinson gave false testimony to state magistrate judge Carpenter. [Doc. 1-2.] Judge Carpenter wrongfully sent his case to general sessions based on grand larceny value more than $2, 000 but less than $10, 000, because the incident report showed the value of the property was $1, 327. [Id.] After Plaintiff wrote to Judge Carpenter to object to his case being sent to general sessions, the judge indicated that there was jurisdiction to send the case to general sessions. [Id.] The judge stated that Plaintiff should ask his lawyer about the true bill. [Id.] Plaintiff has written to the South Carolina Supreme Court about the issues, and it stated that all motions must be presented by Plaintiff's lawyer so he should contact his lawyer. [Id.] He has contacted his court-appointed lawyer, Micheal W. Chesser, but he has done nothing. [Id.] Mr. Chesser has not filed any motions that Plaintiff has requested nor tried to protect Plaintiff's constitutional rights. [Doc. 1-4.]

         While Plaintiff was in the Edgefield County Jail, he contends that there was no law library, and he was told to contact his lawyer with legal questions. [Doc. 1-2, Doc. 1-4.] Plaintiff alleges the jail was hazardous due to no sprinkler system, “no fire proof mold everywhere.” [Doc. 1-2.] Also, he alleges the jail should be condemned; there is “rusty pipe, rusty bed, go without ventilation for weeks to a month.” [Doc. 1-4.] He alleges his “legal mail open before I received it.” [Id.] He contends he reported the jail conditions to Sgt. Shouster, and he replied that the jail passed inspection. [Id.]

         Plaintiff contends he suffered injury of “lost 20 pounds in 2 weeks mental stress and anguish. The doctor told me I had to eat.” [Doc. 1-2.]

         Based on those facts, Plaintiff contends the following rights were violated: Sixth amendment, cross examine witness / effective counsel / speedy trial / equal protection; Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual punishment; Fourteenth Amendment due process; Fifth Amendment indictment / life. [Doc. 1-2 at 4.]

         For his relief, Plaintiff requests damages, and he wants all pending charges in Edgefield County against him dropped. [Doc. 1-2.]


         Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. §636(b)(1)(B), and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d) DSC, the undersigned is authorized to review the Complaint for relief and submit findings and recommendations to the District Court. Plaintiff filed this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the in forma pauperis statute. This statute authorizes the District Court to dismiss a case if it is satisfied that the action “fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, ” is “frivolous or malicious, ” or “seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Further, Plaintiff is a prisoner under the definition in 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(c), and “seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Thus, even if Plaintiff had prepaid the full filing fee, this Court is charged with screening Plaintiff's lawsuit to identify cognizable claims or to dismiss the Complaint if (1) it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         As a pro se litigant, Plaintiff's pleadings are accorded liberal construction and held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by attorneys. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). However, even under this less stringent standard, the pro se pleading remains subject to summary dismissal. The mandated liberal construction afforded to pro se pleadings means that if the court can reasonably read the pleadings to state a valid claim on which Plaintiff could prevail, it should do so, but a district court may not rewrite a petition to include claims that were never presented, Barnett v. Hargett, 174 F.3d 1128, 1133 (10th Cir. 1999), or construct Plaintiff's legal arguments for him, Small v. Endicott, 998 F.2d 411, 417-18 (7th Cir. 1993), or “conjure up questions never squarely presented” to the court, Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985). The requirement of ...

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