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LaConey v. Wilson

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

April 29, 2018

Glen Keith LaConey, Plaintiff,
v.
Alan McCrory Wilson; Kinli Abee; R. Knox McMahon; Jocelyn Newman, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          PAIGE J. GOSSETT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         The plaintiff, Glen Keith LaConey, a self-represented state pretrial detainee, 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 issuance and service of process.

         I. Procedural Background

         Plaintiff indicates he is currently being held in the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center in Richland County, South Carolina, on state criminal charges of harassment in the first degree and threatening the use of destructive devices. (Compl., ECF No. 1 at 10.) He indicates he was arrested on July 3, 2014 and released on bond on October 3, 2014. (Id.) Plaintiff was indicted on November 12, 2014. (Id.) Plaintiff was appointed a public defender. (Id.) Trials for his charges were originally set for December 7, 2015 and May 31, 2016, but were delayed for unknown reasons. (Id.)

         On July 21, 2016, Plaintiff's bond was revoked and a competency hearing was ordered by Defendant Judge R. Knox McMahon, after he originally rejected the State's multiple requests for a competency hearing. (Id. at 11.) On August 1, 2016, Plaintiff submitted to a competency examination. (Id.) Plaintiff claims that the bond revocation and competency hearing were “designed to oppress and to coerce [Plaintiff] into a plea arrangement which [Plaintiff] has persistently rejected.” (Id.) A competency hearing was scheduled for February 2, 2018, despite the fact that a trial date was set for November 7, 2016. (Id. at 12.) On November 7, 2016, Plaintiff was transported to court, expecting a trial, but instead was taken to the probate court to be screened for participation in a mental health court program. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges the mental health court program was “pretext designed to induce” him into a plea agreement. (Id.)

         On August 31, 2017, Defendant Judge Newman denied Plaintiff's motion for reinstatement of bond. (Id.) On February 2, 2018, Judge Newman held a competency hearing and found Plaintiff competent to stand trial. (Id. at 14.) Plaintiff's trial was scheduled for the week of June 11, 2018. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges the case has not been officially docketed for trial, the State has not produced discovery, and Plaintiff has not been “formally arraigned.” (Id.)

         Plaintiff raises numerous allegations of unlawful actions in this state criminal proceeding. Plaintiff claims the delay in holding a trial on his charges violates his constitutional right to a speedy trial, is presumptively prejudicial, and is intended to “oppress and coerce” him into a plea agreement. (Id. at 16.) Plaintiff contends that the officers of the Richland County Court of General Sessions should be disqualified from and conflicted out of his case, and any actions they have taken are null and void.[1] (Id. at 17.) Thus, he argues his right to a trial before a fair and impartial tribunal has been compromised. (Id.) He alleges error in the trial court's findings in the competency hearing and revocation hearing. (Id. at 20.) He argues that his detention is unlawful under the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses. (Id.) He argues that Judge McMahon's order appointing counsel is null and void, and in violation of his right to counsel, due process, and equal protection. (Id.) He further alleges that all of the defendants participated in a conspiracy to violate his civil rights. (Id.) He claims the State's failure to produce discovery violated his right to due process and equal protection. (Id.)

         As to relief from this court, Plaintiff seeks immediate release from detention, vacation of the trial court's order appointing counsel, dismissal of his indictments, and to enjoin the trial court from entertaining further proceedings. (Id. at 22.) Alternatively, he seeks a change of venue because of the delay in receiving a trial. (Id.) Plaintiff also seeks monetary damages against the defendants. (Id.)

         II. Discussion

         A. Standard of Review

         Under 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).

         This 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 actions”).

         B. Analysis

         1. Equitable and ...


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