United States District Court, D. South Carolina
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
J. Gossen UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
plaintiff, Joseph Charles Tice, a self-represented state
prisoner, brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff files this action in forma
pauperis under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 1915A.
This matter is before the court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2) (D.S.C.). Having
reviewed the Complaint in accordance with applicable law, the
court concludes that it should be summarily dismissed without
prejudice and without issuance and service of process.
brings claims of constitutional violations pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against the South Carolina circuit court
judge who revoked his probation based on Plaintiff's
failure to pay probation fees, which resulted in
Plaintiff's incarceration. (Compl., ECF No. 1 at 5.)
Plaintiff indicates the South Carolina Court of Appeals
reversed the circuit judge's revocation of
Plaintiff's probation because the judge did not make a
finding that Plaintiff's failure to pay fees was willful.
(Id.) Plaintiff claims the circuit judge's
decision violated several constitutional rights and he seeks
damages for those violations. (Id. at 4, 7.)
Standard of Review
established local procedure in this judicial district, a
careful review has been made of the pro se Complaint
pursuant to the procedural provisions of the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), Pub. L. No.
104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996), including 28 U.S.C. §
1915 and 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. The Complaint has been filed
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, which permits an indigent
litigant to commence an action in federal court without
prepaying the administrative costs of proceeding with the
lawsuit, and is also governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A,
which requires the court to review a complaint filed by a
prisoner that seeks redress from a governmental entity or
officer or employee of a governmental entity. See McLean
v. United States, 566 F.3d 391 (4th Cir. 2009). Section
1915A requires, and § 1915 allows, a district court to
dismiss the case upon a finding that the action is frivolous,
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); 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
court is required to liberally construe pro se
complaints, which are held to a less stringent standard than
those drafted by attorneys. Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 94 (2007); King v. Rubenstein, 825 F.3d
206, 214 (4th Cir. 2016). Nonetheless, the requirement of
liberal construction does not mean that the court can ignore
a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts which set
forth a claim cognizable in a federal district court. See
Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th
Cir. 1990); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 684 (2009) (outlining pleading requirements under Rule 8
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for “all civil
action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 allows “a party who
has been deprived of a federal right under the color of state
law to seek relief.” City of Monterey v. Del Monte
Dunes at Monterey, Ltd., 526 U.S. 687, 707 (1999). To
state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege: (1)
that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the
United States was violated, and (2) that the alleged
violation was committed by a person acting under the color of
state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
In this action, Plaintiff alleges that the Honorable R.
Markley Dennis, South Carolina Circuit Court Judge, violated
multiple provisions of the United States Constitution when he
revoked Plaintiff's probation. However, the court finds
that Plaintiff's Complaint should be summarily dismissed
because the defendant, as a judge, is immune from suit.
well settled that judges have absolute immunity from a claim
for damages arising out of their judicial actions. See
Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11 (1991) (providing that
judges are entitled to absolute immunity from suit, not just
the ultimate assessment of damages, for judicial actions
taken within their jurisdiction); Chu v. Griffith,
771 F.2d 79, 81 (4th Cir. 1985) (“It has long been
settled that a judge is absolutely immune from a claim for
damages arising out of his judicial actions.”).
Judicial immunity is not pierced by allegations of corruption
or bad faith, nor will a judge “be deprived of immunity
because the action he took was in error, was done
maliciously, or was in excess of his authority.”
Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 356-57 (1978).
Because judicial immunity is a protection from suit, not just
from ultimate assessment of damages, Mireless, 502
U.S. at 11, Plaintiff's claims against the defendant are
barred, and this action should be dismissed pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(iii) and § 1915(b)(2).
on the foregoing, the court recommends the Complaint be
dismissed without prejudice and without issuance and service
parties are directed to note the important information in the
attached “Notice of Right to File Objections ...