United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston
Emory W. Roberts, Jr., #2016003071, Plaintiff,
Sheriff Dwayne Lewis, et al., Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
GORDON BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
a civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff
is a pretrial detainee incarcerated at Hill Finklea Detention
Center located in Moncks Corner, South Carolina. Plaintiff is
proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis.
After three proper form orders, this case is now in proper
form. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1), and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2) (D.S.C.), the
United States Magistrate Judge is authorized to review the
case initially and to submit findings and recommendations to
the United States District Judge. After careful review, the
Magistrate Judge recommends that the Complaint (DE# 1), as
amended (DE# 1-3), should be summarily dismissed,
without prejudice, and without issuance and service of
process, for the following reasons:
The Present Lawsuit
is a pretrial detainee with currently pending state criminal
charges. On January 19, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in
federal court under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (DE# 1, totalling
25 pages with attachments). On February 16, 2017, Plaintiff
indicated he wished to amend his Complaint in order to add a
defendant (Davis Schwacke, Public Defender), but otherwise
made no other changes to his Complaint. (DE#
1-3). Plaintiff sues the following twelve
defendants: (1) Sheriff Dwayne Lewis; 2) Director Randy
Demory; 3) Captain Phyall; 4) S/A Justin Wingo; 5) CO D.
Wilson; 6) CO Harvey; 7) CO Ravenell; 8) Corpral (sic)
Carroll; 9) Sgt. Dobbs; 10) Sgt. Samuel; 11) CO Green
(Intake/Admissions); and 12) Davis P. Schwacke (Public
Defender). Plaintiff indicates that he is suing the
Defendants in their official and individual capacities.
(Id. at 3-4, ¶ I(B)).
The Complaint's Allegations
Complaint consists largely of a list of conclusory
generalized statements against all the defendants
collectively. Liberally construed, the gist of the Complaint
is that Plaintiff is complaining that unspecified officers
illegally searched his home without a warrant, arrested him,
and seized unspecified property. (DE# 1 at 6). Plaintiff
contends that they invaded his “privacy in violation of
my 4th Amendment rights to the Constitution, ” and that
by arresting him, they “unlawfully
imprisoned/kidnapped” him. (Id.). He complains
that upon arrest, he “was denied screening/right to
counsel, ” but (inconsistently) indicates he wishes to
sue his public defender for unspecified reasons. (DE# 1-3).
Plaintiff also complains that his grievances were ignored or
were not successful. (Id. at 6, 9).
pre-printed complaint form asks the Plaintiff “what
federal constitutional or statutory rights do you claim are
being violated by state or local officials?” (DE# 1 at
7). Plaintiff responded as follows (verbatim):
“(Article IV. Searches and Seizures)(Article V. Rights
of Accused in Criminal Proceedings; Due process; Eminent
domain)(8th Amendment, Cruel and Unusual Punishment, right to
bail, unlawful incarceration, right to counsel) 4th, 5th,
6th, 8th, 14th Amendments Illegally Detained, Unlawfully
Imprisoned, Kidnapping.” (Id., ¶ II (B)).
asked to “explain how each defendant acted under color
of state or local law, Plaintiff responded: “S/A Justin
Wingo did raid my home and arrest & seize me without
search warrant or arrest warrant. Dwayne Lewis unlawfully
imprisoned myself without commitment warrant, Randy Demory
& Phyall (Captain and Director) aided & abetted this
action. Plaintiff makes no specific factual allegations
against any other Defendants.
“injuries, ” Plaintiff lists the following:
“paranoid (N/A medically), pain and suffering, lost
wages, mental anguish, defamation of character,
becoming/rendered absentee father to my children, lost all of
my belongings/property, lost my job, and means of support for
my children.” Id., ¶ V).
relief, the Plaintiff does not indicate any amount of damages
and indicates that these are “to be determined at a
later time once I've had time to consult with a
lawyer.” (DE# 1 at 10, ¶ VI “Relief”).
The Plaintiff additionally states “I would like to be
released.” (Id.). In a subsequent letter to
the Court, the Plaintiff indicates he wants “$7.5
million dollars in damages.” (DE# 5).
Standard of Review
established local procedure in this judicial district, the
Magistrate Judge has carefully reviewed this pro se
prisoner complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and in
light of the following precedents: Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324-25 (1989); Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97 (1976); Haines v. Kerner,
404 U.S. 519 (1972); and Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d
1147 (4th Cir. 1978).
pro se Plaintiff is proceeding in forma
pauperis, 28 U.S.C. § 1915 applies to this case.
Such statute permits an indigent litigant to commence an
action in federal court without prepaying the administrative
costs of proceeding with the action. To protect against
possible abuses of this privilege, the statute allows the
court to dismiss the case upon finding that the case is
“frivolous or malicious, ” “fails to state
a claim on which relief may be granted, ” or
“seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C.
§1915(e)(2)(B). A finding of frivolity can be made where
the complaint lacks an arguable basis either in law or in
fact. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992). A
claim based on a meritless legal theory may be dismissed
sua sponte “at any time” under 28 U.S.C.
§1915(e)(2)(B). Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 319. The
statute “is designed largely to discourage the filing
of, and waste of judicial and private resources upon,
baseless lawsuits.” Id. at 326. The Prison
Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) also provides for
the screening of complaints “in which a prisoner seeks
redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of
a governmental entity.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).
se pleadings are given liberal construction and are held
to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by
attorneys. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007); Jackson v. Lightsey, 775 F.3d 170, 178 (4th
Cir. 2014). However, “[t]he ‘special judicial
solicitude' with which a district court should view ...
pro se filings does not transform the court into an
advocate. United States v. Wilson, 699 F.3d 789, 797
(4th Cir. 2012), cert. denied, 133 S.Ct. 2401
(2013). Only those questions which are squarely presented to
a court may properly be addressed.” Weller v. Dept.
of Soc. Servs., City of Baltimore, 901 F.2d 387, 391
(4th Cir. 1990). Giving “liberal construction”
does not mean that the Court can ignore a prisoner's
clear failure to allege facts that set forth a cognizable
claim. “Principles requiring generous ...