United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division
CAMERON MCGOWAN CURRIE SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the court on Plaintiff's complaint
regarding his 2015 prosecution in Kershaw County Magistrate
Court. ECF No. 1. Plaintiff entered a guilty plea for
conditional discharge pursuant to South Carolina Code
§44-53-450, pleading to simple possession of marijuana.
ECF No. 1-1 at 5. Plaintiff failed to comply with his
conditional discharge and was charged a fine of $1, 047.51.
Id. at 7. Plaintiff appealed to Kershaw County Court
of Common Pleas, which affirmed the Magistrate Court.
now requests this court “declare the proceeding in
the [state] magistrate court was a violation of Due Process,
” “clarify nullify [sic] that orders
from the magistrate are invalid do [sic] to
violation of Due Process, ” and “grant money
judgment” to Plaintiff in the amount of three times the
fine imposed by the state Magistrate Court. ECF No. 1. In
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule
73.02 (B)(2), D.S.C., this matter was referred to United
States Magistrate Judge Shiva V. Hodges for pre-trial
proceedings and a Report and Recommendation
(“Report”). On November 1, 2017, the Magistrate
Judge issued a Report recommending this matter be summarily
dismissed without prejudice and without issuance and service
of process. ECF No. 10. The Magistrate Judge advised
Plaintiff of the procedures and requirements for filing
objections to the Report and the serious consequences if he
failed to do so. Plaintiff filed objections to the Report on
November 17, 2017. ECF No. 12.
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the
responsibility to make a final determination remains with the
court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261 (1976).
The court is charged with making a de novo determination of
any portion of the Report of the Magistrate Judge to which a
specific objection is made. The court may accept, reject, or
modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation made by the
Magistrate Judge or recommit the matter to the Magistrate
Judge with instructions. See 28 U.S.C. §
seeks a declaratory judgment his Due Process rights were
violated and damages from the State of South Carolina based
on his prosecution in the Kershaw County Magistrate Court.
The Magistrate Judge construed this as a claim under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. ECF No. 10. Section 1983 “creates a
remedy for violations of federal rights committed by persons
acting under color of state law.” Howlett By and
Through Howlett v. Rose, 496 U.S. 356, 356 (1990). This
court agrees with the Magistrate Judge this action is
properly construed as brought under § 1983, and his
claim for damages against the State of South Carolina would
be barred by Eleventh Amendment Sovereign
objections, Plaintiff contends his complaint was
“misconstrued” and is not a claim under §
1983. ECF No. 12. Plaintiff's Complaint states 18 U.S.C.
§ 241 and 242 give this court jurisdiction over this
matter. However, those are criminal statutes, used to bring
charges against an individual by the Federal Government.
See United States v. Price, 383 U.S. 787, 784 n.7
(1966) (noting 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is the civil counterpart
to § 242). Neither grants a federal court jurisdiction
over a civil lawsuit such as this one. As explained above,
Plaintiff's claim is properly construed as one against
the State of South Carolina under § 1983, and a claim
for damages under that section should be dismissed based on
sovereign immunity. The court, nonetheless, assumes without
deciding Plaintiff may be able to amend his Complaint to
allege a cause of action for damages against a party amenable
to suit under §1983, or to add facts or jurisdictional
allegations sufficient to allege another cause of action
amenable to suit in this court.
reasons above, the court adopts the Report as supplemented
above, and dismisses this case without prejudice. To afford
Plaintiff an opportunity to attempt to cure deficiencies in
the existing Complaint, the court will delay entering
judgment to give Plaintiff an opportunity to amend his
Complaint. Plaintiff shall have until January 12, 2018 to
file an Amended Complaint should he desire to do so. Failure
to file an Amended Complaint will result in entry of judgment
dismissing this action without prejudice.
IS SO ORDERED.
 The court notes Plaintiff's claim
for declaratory judgment asks this court to invalidate orders
and proceedings by the South Carolina Magistrate Judge. The
court's issuance of a declaratory judgment to that effect
would necessarily imply the invalidity of Plaintiff's
conviction in state court. See Heck v. Humphrey, 512
U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994); Harvey v. Horan, 278 F.3d
370, 375 (4th Cir. 2002) (“While Heck dealt with a
§ 1983 claim for damages, the Court did not limit its
holding to such claims. And we see no reason why its
rationale would not apply in a situation where a criminal
defendant seeks injunctive relief that necessarily implies
the invalidity of his conviction.”), ...