United States District Court, D. South Carolina
C. Coggins, Jr. United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Complaint
alleging violations of his civil rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. ECF No. 1. In accordance with 28 U.S.C. §
636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2), (D.S.C.), this
matter was referred to United States Magistrate Judge
Jacquelyn D. Austin for pre-trial proceedings and a Report
and Recommendation (“Report”). On April 4, 2019,
the Magistrate Judge issued a Report recommending that this
action be dismissed without issuance of service of process.
ECF No. 10. Plaintiff filed objections to the Report. ECF No.
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the
responsibility to make a final determination remains with the
Court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261 (1976).
The Court is charged with making a de novo determination of
any portion of the Report of the Magistrate Judge to which a
specific objection is made. The Court may accept, reject, or
modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation made by the
Magistrate Judge or recommit the matter to the Magistrate
Judge with instructions. See 28 U.S.C. §
636(b). The Court will review the Report only for clear error
in the absence of an objection. See Diamond v. Colonial
Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th
Cir. 2005) (stating that “in the absence of timely
filed objection, a district court need not conduct a de
novo review, but instead must only satisfy itself that
there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to
accept the recommendation.” (citation omitted)).
Magistrate Judge determined that Judge Griffith is entitled
to judicial immunity, that Stumbo and White are entitled to
prosecutorial immunity, and that Sheek is entitled to
prosecutorial immunity or is not a state actor under §
1983. She found that Plaintiff fails to state a claim for
relief against the City of Greenwood and Greenwood County.
The Magistrate Judge determined that Plaintiff's claims
as they relate to money damages and injunctive relief for his
prior conviction and money damages for his pending state
action are barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477,
481 (1994). Finally, she found that the Court should abstain
from interfering with his claims for equitable relief as they
relate to his pending state action under Younger v.
Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971).
objects to the Magistrate Judge's Report. He states that
he was unlawfully arrested in March 2019. He appears to argue
that the court did not have jurisdiction over his prior
criminal charges, that Judge Griffith is not entitled to
judicial immunity because he acted without jurisdiction, that
Tumbo and White are not entitled to prosecutorial immunity
because they prosecuted him without a formal charge and
conspired without jurisdiction, and that Sheek was in a
conspiracy with the other Defendants. He also generally
objects to the Magistrate Judge's conclusion that he
failed to identify a specific policy or custom with respect
to the City of Greenwood and Greenwood County. He fails to
provide any additional facts or support for his claims.
initial matter, Plaintiff has not objected to the Magistrate
Judge's recommendations with respect to claims that are
barred by Heck or that the Court should abstain from
under Younger. The Court has reviewed this portion
of the Report for clear error and agrees with the
recommendation of the Magistrate Judge.
the Court agrees that the individual Defendants are entitled
to immunity as explained in more detail in the Report.
Plaintiff's statements that they are not entitled to
immunity are insufficient. It is clear that the allegations
against Stumbo, White, and Sheek are all based on the
performance of prosecutorial activities in Plaintiff's
criminal case. See generally Safar v. Tingle, 859
F.3d 241, 248 (4th Cir. 2017) (“It is well settled that
prosecutorial activities that are ‘intimately
associated with the judicial phase of the criminal
process' are absolutely immune from civil suit.”
(quoting Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 430
(1976))). It is also clear that the allegations against Judge
Griffith pertain to his judicial actions. See Mireles
v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9 (1991). The Court also agrees that
Plaintiff has failed to identify a specific policy or custom
to state a claim under § 1983 with respect to the City
of Greenwood and Greenwood County.
foregoing reasons the Court adopts the recommendation of the
Magistrate Judge. Plaintiff's claim that his current
state action should be dismissed is
DISMISSED with prejudice pursuant to
Younger. His remaining claims are
DISMISSED without prejudice.
OF RIGHT TO APPEAL
parties are hereby notified of the right to appeal this order
pursuant to Rules 3 and 4 of the Federal Rules of Appellate