United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
ORDER AND OPINION
Richard Mark Gergel, United States District Court Judge
matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation
of the Magistrate Judge, recommending Plaintiffs complaint
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 be summarily dismissed because
the requested relief (release from pretrial detention) is
unavailable in a § 1983 action, because of
Younger abstention, because the solicitor has
absolute prosecutorial immunity, and because Plaintiffs
court-appointed attorney does not act under color of state
law and so can have no liability in a § 1983 action.
(Plaintiffs amended complaint abandons claims against other
Defendants named in the case caption.) The Court fully agrees
with the Magistrate Judge's analysis of Plaintiffs claims
and additionally concludes the amended complaint is subject
to dismissal because it is a habeas petition that fails to
name a proper respondent. Plaintiff has filed no objections
to the Report and Recommendation.
amended complaint is written on a preprinted § 1983
complaint form, but the only requested relief is Plaintiffs
immediate release from pretrial detention. Plaintiff alleges
his pretrial detention is unlawful because he has been given
excessive bond, denied a speedy trial, and otherwise denied
due process of law. This purported § 1983 action
therefore must be construed as a habeas petition. See
Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 500 (1973).
claims and requested relief are substantively identical to
(albeit more clearly expressed than) the claims asserted in
his habeas petition filed August 14, 2017, in which he
challenged the same pretrial detention at issue here. See
Westpoint v. Cannon, Civ. No. 9:17-2137 (D.S.C. Oct. 30,
2017), appeal docketed, No. 17-7475 (4th Cir.). This
Court dismissed that petition without adjudication on the
merits for failure to exhaust state remedies. The amended
complaint in this action, therefore, is not a successive
habeas petition. See Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S.
473, 485-89 (2000). But "[a] habeas petitioner who is
physically confined must name [his] "immediate
custodian" as the habeas respondent" Kanai v.
McHugh, 638 F.3d 251, 255 (4th Cir. 2011). Plaintiff
names the solicitor and Plaintiffs court-appointed attorney
as Defendants while alleging that he is in the custody of the
Charleston County Sheriff. (See Dkt. No. 1-2.) He
therefore fails to state any claim for relief against any
named Defendant. Ordinarily, the proper course would be to
grant leave to amend to name the proper respondent. See,
e.g., Saunders v. U.S. Parole Cowiwi 'n,
665 Fed.Appx. 133, 135 (3d Cir. 2016). Here, however, leave
to amend to name the Sheriff would be futile because the
Court has already ruled upon Plaintiffs habeas petition
against the Sheriff and that ruling is currently under
appeal. The Court therefore dismisses the amended complaint
without prejudice as a duplicative filing. See
Slack, 529 U.S. at 478, 486 (holding that although
"a habeas petition which is filed after an initial
petition was dismissed without adjudication on the merits for
failure to exhaust state remedies is not a 'second or
successive' petition as that term is understood in the
habeas corpus context, " because the petitioner may
"return to federal court after the requisite exhaustion,
" "[f]ederal courts do, however, retain broad
powers to prevent duplicative or unnecessary
litigation."); Aloe Creme Labs., Inc. v. Francine
Co., 425 F.2d 1295, 1296 (5th Cir. 1970) ("The
District Court clearly had the right to take notice of its
own files and records and it had no duty to grind the same
corn a second time. Once was sufficient.").
Court therefore ADOPTS the Report and Recommendation of the
Magistrate Judge (Dkt. No. 15) as the Order of the Court,
with the further elaboration set forth in this Order. The
amended complaint is DISMISSED WITHOUT
governing law provides that:
(c)(2) A certificate of appealability may issue . . . only if
the applicant has made a substantial showing of the denial of
a constitutional right.
(c)(3) The certificate of appealability . . . shall indicate
which specific issue or issues satisfy the showing required
by paragraph (2).
28 U.S.C. § 2253(c). A prisoner satisfies the standard
by demonstrating that reasonable jurists would find this
court's assessment of his constitutional claims debatable
or wrong and that any dispositive procedural ruling by the
district court is likewise debatable. See Miller-El v.
Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 336 (2003); Slack v.
McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000); Rose v.
Lee, 252 F.3d 676, 683 (4th Cir. 2001). In this case,
the legal standard for the issuance of a certificate of
appealability has not been met. Therefore, a certificate of
appealability is DENIED.