United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division
Harwell United States District Judge
Olandio Ray Workman, a pretrial detainee proceeding pro se,
filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
the above-captioned Defendants. See ECF No. 1. The
matter is before the Court for consideration of
Plaintiff's objections to the Report and Recommendation
(“R & R”) of United States Magistrate Judge
Kevin F. McDonald, who recommends summarily dismissing this
action without prejudice. See ECF Nos. 9 & 11.
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to the Court.
The Magistrate Judge's recommendation has no presumptive
weight, and the responsibility to make a final determination
remains with the Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S.
261, 270-71 (1976). The Court must conduct a de novo review
of those portions of the R & R to which specific
objections are made, and it may accept, reject, or modify, in
whole or in part, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge
or recommit the matter with instructions. 28 U.S.C. §
Court must engage in a de novo review of every portion of the
Magistrate Judge's report to which objections have been
filed. Id. However, the Court need not conduct a de
novo review when a party makes only “general and
conclusory objections that do not direct the [C]ourt to a
specific error in the [M]agistrate [Judge]'s proposed
findings and recommendations.” Orpiano v.
Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). In the absence
of specific objections to the R & R, the Court reviews
only for clear error, Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc.
Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005), and the
Court need not give any explanation for adopting the
Magistrate Judge's recommendation. Camby v.
Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199-200 (4th Cir. 1983).
Plaintiff, a state pretrial detainee being held at the
Greenville County Detention Center, has filed this §
1983 action against his court-appointed attorney (Cassandra
Gorton), two solicitors (Derek Polsinello and Walter
Wilkins), the mayor of Greenville (Knox White), and the clerk
of the Greenville County Circuit Court (Paul Wickensmer).
See ECF No. 1. Plaintiff's allegations relate to
his ongoing criminal proceedings, including his preliminary
hearing. The Magistrate Judge recommends summarily
dismissing this action because (1) Defendant Gorton is not
amenable to suit under § 1983; (2) Defendants Polsinello
and Wilkins have prosecutorial immunity; (3) Plaintiff fails
to provide specific factual allegations concerning how
Defendants White and Wickensmer have violated his
constitutional rights; and (4) Defendant Wickensmer is immune
from suit to the extent his liability is alleged to stem from
his performance as clerk of court. R & R at pp. 2-4.
Plaintiff lodges several objections to the R & R,
see ECF No. 11, the Court finds Plaintiff's
claims fail not only for the reasons set forth in the R &
R but also for an additional reason not discussed in the R
& R-namely, that this Court should abstain from hearing
this action pursuant to the Younger abstention
doctrine. The Court finds Younger abstention is
appropriate because (1) Plaintiff is involved in ongoing
state criminal proceedings (2) that implicate important state
interests, and because (3) Plaintiff has an adequate
opportunity to raise his federal claims in the state
proceedings. See Sprint Commc'ns, Inc. v.
Jacobs, 134 S.Ct. 584 (2013) (addressing the appropriate
grounds for Younger abstention); Robinson v.
Thomas, 855 F.3d 278, 285 (4th Cir. 2017) (summarizing
the three Younger criteria). By alleging (1) that
Defendant Gorton conspired with Defendants Polsinello and
Wilkins (and other prosecutors) and seeking their disbarment,
that (2) Wickensmer “coconspir[ed], ” and (3)
that Defendant White was a “policymaker” allowing
these alleged acts, Plaintiff is effectively asking this
Court to intervene in a pending state criminal matter.
See, e.g., Hawthorne v. Edgefield Cty.,
2016 WL 7228243 (D.S.C. Dec. 14, 2016) (summarily dismissing
based on Younger abstention where the plaintiff
alleged his defense counsel was ineffective in pending state
criminal proceedings); Bradley v. Salisbury Police
Dep't, 2013 WL 6592489 (D. Md. Dec. 13, 2013)
(summarily dismissing a case based on Younger
abstention where the plaintiff was involved in ongoing state
criminal proceedings), aff'd, 562 F. App'x
166 (4th Cir. 2014) (“[W]e affirm for the reasons
stated by the district court.”).
Plaintiff has not made a showing of “extraordinary
circumstances” justifying federal interference with the
state proceedings. See Robinson, 855 F.3d at 286
(“A federal court may disregard Younger's
mandate to abstain from interfering with ongoing state
proceedings only where ‘extraordinary
circumstances' exist that present the possibility of
irreparable harm.”). Accordingly, the Court modifies
the R & R to reflect this additional reason for
dismissal, and overrules Plaintiff's objections.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court overrules
Plaintiff's objections, adopts the R & R [ECF No. 9]
as modified herein, and DISMISSES
this action without prejudice and without issuance and
service of process.
IS SO ORDERED.
 The Magistrate Judge issued the R
& R in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and
Local Civil Rule ...