United States District Court, D. South Carolina
ORDER AND NOTICE
V. HODGES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Sandy Scott, Jr. (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se
and in forma pauperis, filed this civil action alleging
violations of his constitutional rights by the Fifth Judicial
Circuit General Sessions Court and South Carolina Circuit
Judges G. Thomas Cooper and L. Casey Manning (collectively
“Defendants”). Pursuant to the provisions of 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civ. Rule 73.02(B)(2)(f)
(D.S.C.), the undersigned is authorized to review such
complaints for relief and submit findings and recommendations
to the district judge.
alleges in June 2011, he and his attorney presented before
Judge Manning a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's criminal
charges of throwing bodily fluids. [ECF No. 1 at 6].
Plaintiff claims Judge Manning forced him to undergo a mental
evaluation out of anger. Id. Plaintiff alleges the
Fifth Judicial Circuit refused his request for a speedy trial
on his charges of burglary, larceny, and throwing bodily
fluids. Id. Plaintiff sues Judge Cooper for denying
his motion to dismiss the charges of throwing bodily fluids.
Id. at 7. Plaintiff requests monetary damages and
dismissing all charges.
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 finding 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 the court can ignore a clear failure in the
pleading to allege facts setting 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.
well-settled that judges have immunity from claims arising
out of their judicial actions. Mireless v. Waco, 502
U.S. 9, 12 (1991). Judicial immunity is a protection from
suit, not just from ultimate assessment of damages, and such
immunity is not pierced by allegations of corruption or bad
faith. Id. at 11; see also Stump v.
Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 356‒57 (1978) (“A
judge will not be deprived of immunity because the action he
took was in error, was done maliciously, or was in excess of
his authority; rather, he will be subject to liability only
when he has acted in the ‘clear absence of all
jurisdiction.'”) (citation omitted). As
Plaintiff's claims against Judges Manning and Cooper
relate to their judicial actions, they are entitled to
Fifth Judicial Circuit is not a “Person”
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege two essential elements: (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). Plaintiff names the “Fifth
Judicial Circuit General Session Court.” However, this
defendant is not a “person” subject to suit under
§ 1983. A judicial circuit is not considered a legal
entity subject to suit. See Harden v. Green, 27
Fed.Appx. 173, 178 (4th Cir. 2001) (finding that the medical
department of a prison is not a person pursuant to §
1983); see also Post v. City of Fort Lauderdale, 750
F.Supp. 1131 (S.D. Fla. 1990) (dismissing city police
department as improper defendant in § 1983 action
because not “person” under the statute);
Shelby v. City of Atlanta, 578 F.Supp. 1368, 1370