United States District Court, D. South Carolina
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
V. Hodges, United States Magistrate Judge
Feaster (“Plaintiff”),  proceeding pro se and in
forma pauperis, is a pretrial detainee incarcerated at the
Cherokee County Detention Center (“CCDC”). He
filed this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
alleging violations of his constitutional rights by Sheriff
Steve Mueller, the Cherokee County solicitor's office,
and Cherokee County Assistant Solicitor Kim Lescanic.
Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and
Local Civ. Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d) (D.S.C.), the undersigned is
authorized to review such complaints for relief and submit
findings and recommendations to the district judge. For the
reasons that follow, the undersigned recommends the district
judge dismiss the complaint without prejudice and without
issuance and service of process.
Factual and Procedural Background
claims there was a riot at the CCDC on April 7, 2018. [ECF
No. 1 at 7]. Plaintiff alleges the riot was the result of
detainees holding a hunger strike to challenge widespread
abuses at the jail. Id. Plaintiff states he and six
other detainees were handcuffed and taken to disciplinary
segregation after the riot ended, but only he and three other
detainees were charged with a disciplinary violation.
Id. Plaintiff says on April 10, 2018, he was
notified of disciplinary infraction charges and sanctions and
a hearing was held. Id. Plaintiff claims he was also
served with an arrest warrant for participating in a riot,
malicious damage to property, assault and battery by a mob,
resisting arrest, and assault of an officer. Id.
Plaintiff claims the issuance of the arrest warrant violated
his constitutional right against double jeopardy.
Id. Plaintiff asks the court to dismiss all charges
related to the arrest warrant. Id. at 8.
Standard of Review
filed his complaint 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. To protect against possible
abuses of this privilege, the statute allows a district court
to dismiss a case upon a finding that the action fails to
state a claim on which relief may be granted or is frivolous
or malicious. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i), (ii). A
finding of frivolity can be made where the complaint lacks an
arguable basis either in law or in fact. Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992). A claim based on a
meritless legal theory may be dismissed sua sponte
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). See Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989).
complaints are held to a less stringent standard than those
drafted by attorneys. Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d
1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). A federal court is charged with
liberally construing a complaint filed by a pro se litigant
to allow the development of a potentially meritorious case.
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). In
evaluating a pro se complaint, the plaintiff's
allegations are assumed to be true. Fine v. City of
N.Y., 529 F.2d 70, 74 (2d Cir. 1975). The mandated
liberal construction afforded to pro se pleadings means that
if the court can reasonably read the pleadings to state a
valid claim on which the plaintiff could prevail, it should
do so. Nevertheless, the requirement of liberal construction
does not mean that the court can ignore a clear failure in
the pleading to allege facts that set forth a claim currently
cognizable in a federal district court. Weller v.
Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 390-91 (4th Cir.
complaint is subject to dismissal based upon the
Younger doctrine. In Younger v. Harris, 401
U.S. 37 (1971), the Supreme Court held that a federal court
should not equitably interfere with state criminal
proceedings except in the most narrow and extraordinary of
circumstances. See also Gilliam v. Foster, 75 F.3d
881, 903 (4th Cir. 1996). The Younger Court noted
that courts of equity should not act unless the moving party
has no adequate remedy at law and will suffer irreparable
injury if denied equitable relief. Younger, 401 U.S.
at 43-44 (citation omitted). From Younger and its
progeny, the Fourth Circuit has culled the following test to
determine when abstention is appropriate: “(1) there
are ongoing state judicial proceedings; (2) the proceedings
implicate important state interests; and (3) there is an
adequate opportunity to raise federal claims in the state
proceedings.” Martin Marietta Corp. v. Maryland
Comm'n on Human Relations, 38 F.3d 1392, 1396 (4th
Cir. 1994) (citing Middlesex County Ethics Comm'n v.
Garden State Bar Ass'n, 457 U.S. 423, 432 (1982)).
these factors to this case, abstention is appropriate. First,
Plaintiff is involved in an ongoing state criminal
proceeding. If this court were to make factual findings that
defendants acted improperly in relation to Plaintiff's
arrest and criminal prosecution, the court would be
improperly interfering with a pending criminal state court
proceeding. Second, the Supreme Court has noted that
“the States' interest in administering their
criminal justice systems free from federal interference is
one of the most powerful of the considerations that should
influence a court considering equitable types of
relief.” Kelly v. Robinson, 479 U.S. 36, 49
(1986). Finally, Plaintiff has the opportunity to present his
double jeopardy claim in state court before, during, and
after the disposition of his criminal charges. Accordingly,
the Younger abstention doctrine compels the court to
abstain from exercising jurisdiction over Plaintiff's
appears to argue that prison discipline and criminal charges
for the same offense violates his rights under the
Constitution. However, disciplinary sanctions do not
implicate the double jeopardy clause. See, e.g., Warren
v. Byars, No. 6:12-CV-3187-DCN, 2014 WL 906276, * *5-6
(D.S.C., March 7, 2014) (summary dismissal) (citing
Hudson v. United States, 522 U.S. 93, 98-99 (1997));
Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 556 (1974)
(“Prison disciplinary proceedings are not part of a
criminal prosecution. . . .”); Anderson v.
Padula, No. 0:05-3029-PMD, 2006 WL 1075003, at *4
(D.S.C. Apr. 19, 2006) (concluding the double jeopardy clause
was not implicated when the plaintiff was sanctioned twice
for one prison disciplinary charge); see also Fogle ...