United States District Court, D. South Carolina
REPORT AND RECOMENDATION
Kaymani D. West, United States Magistrate Judge.
Leonard White (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se
and in forma pauperis, is an inmate incarcerated at
Greenville County Detention Center. He filed this Complaint
alleging a violation of his constitutional rights by Easley
Police Detective John Hamby, Chief of Police Tollison, and
Captain Murray. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(B) 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 that the district judge dismiss the
Complaint without prejudice and without issuance and service
Factual and Procedural Background
alleges Defendants “put a hold” on him while he
was incarcerated at Kirkland R&E Center without checking
to see if the charge was satisfied. ECF No. 1 at 5. Plaintiff
claims “[t]hen upon informing the Detective He still
served the warrant on me and Easley County jail employees
held me illegally.” Id. at 5-6. Plaintiff
seeks monetary damages. Id.
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.
action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on an
unreasonable seizure, “a public official cannot be
charged with false arrest when he arrests a defendant
pursuant to a facially valid warrant.” Porterfield
v. Lott, 156 F.3d 563, 568 (4th Cir. 1998); Brooks
v. City of Winston-Salem, 85 F.3d 178, 181-82 (4th Cir.
1996) (explaining when arresting official makes the arrest
with a facially valid warrant it is not false arrest).
Arresting officers are generally entitled to rely on a
facially valid warrant in effecting an arrest because the
officer's duty is not to assess guilt or innocence, but
merely to serve the warrant:
A reasonable division of functions between law enforcement
officers, committing magistrates, and judicial officers-all
of whom may be potential defendants in a § 1983
action-is entirely consistent with “due process of
law.” Given the requirements that arrest be made only
on probable cause and that one detained be accorded a speedy
trial, we do not think a sheriff executing an arrest warrant
is required by the Constitution to investigate independently
every claim of innocence, whether the claim is based on
mistaken identity or a defense such as lack of requisite
intent. Nor is the official charged with maintaining custody
of the accused named in the warrant required by the
Constitution to perform an error-free investigation of such a
claim. The ultimate determination of such claims of innocence
is placed in the hands of the judge and the jury.
Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 145-46 (1979)
support of his complaint, Plaintiff submitted arrest warrant
2015A2330206104 for vehicle/possession, conceal, sell, or
dispose of stolen vehicle, value $2, 000 or less (Enhancement
per 3614) that was issued on July 18, 2015. ECF No. 1-2 at 4.
The 2015A2330206104 arrest warrant was served on Plaintiff on
July 24, 2015. Id. Plaintiff pleaded guilty to these
charges on September 1, 2016, and was sentenced to five
years. Id. at 5. Plaintiff also submitted arrest
warrant 2015A3920400829 for Grand Larceny Over $2000, Less
Than $10, 000, Enhancement 16-13-30, that was issued on July
15, 2015. Id. at 1. The 2015A3920400829 arrest
warrant was served on Plaintiff on December 29, 2017.
Id. On June 22, 2018, the charges associated with
warrant number 2015A3920400829 were dismissed, and the bench
warrant issued under the warrant was recalled on June 28,
2018. Id. at 2-3.
undersigned finds Plaintiff has failed to establish any basis
for alleging his arrest was unlawful. Plaintiff has not
provided any evidence to undermine the validity of the
2015A3920400829 arrest warrant, and his allegation that he
informed the detective that he had already served time for
the warrant is insufficient to challenge the warrant's
facial validity. See Carter v. Baltimore Cnty., Md.,95 Fed.Appx. 471, 479 (4th Cir. 2004) (finding probable cause
exists when a defendant is named in a facially valid bench
warrant, and any Fourth Amendment argument arising out of the
arrest is without merit even if the bench warrant later turns
out to be invalid); Mann v. Township of Hamilton,
Civ. No. 90-3377, 1991 WL 87586, at *2 (D.N.J. May 20, 1991)
(holding a police officer who ...