United States District Court, D. South Carolina
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
KAYMANI D. WEST FLORENCE, SOUTH CAROLINA UNITED STATES
a civil action filed pro se by a local detainee. Pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), and Local Civil Rule
73.02(B)(2)(e) (D.S.C.), this magistrate judge is authorized
to review all pretrial matters in such pro se cases and to
submit findings and recommendations to the district court.
See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e); 1915A (as soon
as possible after docketing, district courts should review
prisoner cases to determine whether they are subject to
Odom ("Petitioner") is a detainee at the Al Cannon
Detention Center in Charleston County, South Carolina. He
asserts that his constitutional rights are being violated by
the continued prosecution of criminal charges that are
pending against him and asks the court to take judicial
notice of his "original writ of habeas corpus" and
transcripts and records from his preliminary hearing in the
Charleston County courts. Petitioner does not describe what
he wants this court to consider from those records nor does
he make them available to the court. He also asserts that he is
being prevented from pursuing habeas corpus proceedings in
state court because he cannot afford to pay the filing fee.
He asks this court to issue a writ of mandamus directing
Respondents to dismiss the pending charges.
Standard of Review
established local procedure in this judicial district, a
careful review has been made of Plaintiff s pro se initial
pleading filed in this case. This review has been conducted
pursuant to the procedural provisions of 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915, 1915A, and the Prison Litigation Reform
Act of 1996, and in light of the following precedents:
Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25 (1992); Neitzke
v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324-25 (1989); Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972); Nasim v. Warden, Md.
House of Corr., 64 F.3d 951 (4th Cir. 1995); Todd v.
Baskerville, 712 F.2d 70 (4th Cir. 1983); Boyce v.
Alizaduh, 595 F.2d 948 (4th Cir. 1979).
pleadings 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 pleading filed by a pro
se litigant to allow the development of a potentially
meritorious case. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89,
94 (2007); Kerr v. Marshall Univ. Bd. of Governors,
824 F.3d 62, 72 (4th Cir. 2016). When a federal court is
evaluating a pro se pleading, the pro se litigant's
allegations are assumed to be true. De 'Lonta v.
Angelone, 330 F.3d 630, 630 n.l (4th Cir. 2003).
Nevertheless, the requirement of liberal construction does
not mean that this court can ignore a clear failure in the
pleading to allege facts which set forth a claim currently
cognizable in a federal district court. Weller v.
Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 391 (4th Cir.
1990). Even under this less stringent standard, the Petition
for Writ of Mandamus filed in this case is subject to summary
dismissal under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. §
has captioned his initial pleading as a Petition for a Writ
of Mandamus and the relief he requests, dismissal of pending
state charges, sounds in mandamus. See Black's Law
Dictionary (9th ed. 2009) (mandamus: "A writ issued
by a court to compel performance of a particular act by a
lower court or a governmental officer or body, usually to
correct a prior action or failure to act."). Circuit
precedents teach that a writ of mandamus is a drastic remedy.
The writ of mandamus is infrequently used by federal courts,
and its use is usually limited to cases where a federal court
is acting in aid of its own jurisdiction. See 28
U.S.C. § 1361; Gurley v. Superior Ct. of Mecklenburg
Cnty., 411 F.2d 586, 587-88 & nn.2-4 (4th Cir.
1969). A federal district court may issue a writ of mandamus
only against an employee or official of the United
States. Moye v. Clerk, DeKalb Cnty. Sup. Court, 474 F.2d
1275, 1275-76 (5th Cir. 1973) (federal courts do not have
original jurisdiction over mandamus actions to compel an
officer or employee of a state to perform a duty
owed to the petitioner); see also In re Campbell,
264 F.3d 730, 731 (7th Cir. 2001) (same; collecting cases);
In re Carr, 803 F.2d 1180, 1180 (4th Cir. 1986)
(unpublished opinion) (same).
Gurley, a state prisoner sought a writ of mandamus
to compel the Superior Court of Mecklenburg County (North
Carolina) to prepare a free transcript. The district court
denied the relief sought by the prisoner. On appeal in
Gurley, the United States Court of Appeals for the
Fourth Circuit concluded that it was without jurisdiction to
issue a writ of mandamus because it exercised no supervisory
authority over the courts of the State of North Carolina. The
court also held that, if the prisoner's petition were
treated as an appeal from the district court's order
denying the issuance of the writ, the district court did not
have authority to issue a writ of mandamus: "Even if we
were to liberally construe this petition as an appeal from
the denial of the issuance of a writ of mandamus by the
District Court[, ] we still have no jurisdiction for the
reason that the District Court was also without jurisdiction
to issue the writ." Gurley, 411 F.2d at 587.
The holding in Gurley was followed by the United
States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Davis
v. Lansing, 851 F.2d 72, 74 (2d Cir. 1988). In Davis
v. Lansing, the court ruled that "[t]he federal
courts have no general power to compel action by state
officials[.]" 851 F.2d at 74; see also Craigo v.
Hey, 624 F.Supp. 414 (S.D. W.Va. 1985); see also Van
Sickle v. Holloway, 791 F.2d 1431, 1436 & n.5 (10th
Cir. 1986); Hatfield v. Bowen, 685 F.Supp. 478, 479
(W.D. Pa. 1988); Robinson v. Illinois, 752 F.Supp.
248, 248-49 & n.l (N.D. 111. 1990). Because Respondents
are either state or county officials and clearly not federal
employees or officials, the United States District Court for
the District of South Carolina does not have jurisdiction to
issue a writ of mandamus against either of them.
it is recommended that the district court dismiss this action
without prejudice. See Brown v. Briscoe, 998 F.2d
201, 202-04 (4th Cir. 1993); see also 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A (as soon as
possible after docketing, district courts should review
prisoner cases to determine whether they are subject to
parties are directed to note the important information in the
attached "Notice of Right to File Objections to ...