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Simpson v. Florence County Complex Solicitor's Office

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division

December 30, 2019

Randall Loyis Simpson, Plaintiff,
v.
Florence County Complex Solicitor's Office, Florence County Complex Public Defender's Office, Defendants.

          ORDER

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter is before the court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Plaintiff Randall Loyis Simpson, a pretrial detainee proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed the instant action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on October 31, 2019, alleging that Defendants violated his constitutional rights. (ECF No. 1.) On November 7, 2019, the Magistrate Judge issued an Order (ECF No. 7) directing the Clerk not to authorize service of process. On the same day, the Magistrate Judge issued his Report and Recommendation (“Report”) (ECF No. 9), recommending that the court dismiss Plaintiff's action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, without prejudice.[1]

         Objections to the Report were due by November 21, 2019, with an additional three (3) days if served by mail or otherwise allowed under Fed.R.Civ.P. 6 or Fed R. Crim. P. 45. (See ECF No. 9 at 10.) Plaintiff filed no objections to the Report by November 21, 2019. In the absence of timely objections to the Magistrate Judge's Report, this court is not required to provide an explanation for adopting the recommendation. See Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199 (4th Cir. 1983). Instead, the court must only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation. Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory committee's note).

         The court accepts the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge and dismisses Plaintiff's Complaint (ECF No. 1) without prejudice and without issuance or service of process. The court incorporates pertinent facts from the Report herein.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The Magistrate Judge's Report is made in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(e) for the District of South Carolina. The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270 (1976). The recommendation has no presumptive weight. Id. at 270-71. The responsibility to make a final determination remains with this court. Id. As such, the court is charged with making de novo determinations of those portions of the Report to which specific objections are made. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3). The court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the Magistrate Judge's Report. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

         III. DISCUSSION

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the court must dismiss a case filed in forma pauperis if at any time it determines that the action (1) “is frivolous or malicious, ” (2) “fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, ” or (3) “seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii). Before docketing, if feasible, the court should review a civil complaint “in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.” See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). A “prisoner” is “any person incarcerated or detained in any facility who is accused of . . . violations of criminal law.” See Id. § 1915A(c). As Plaintiff is incarcerated and accused of violations of criminal law in the Florence County Court of General Sessions, he is a prisoner under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. (See ECF No. 9.) Further, Plaintiff “seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.”

         Because he is a pro se litigant, Plaintiff's pleadings are construed liberally by the court and held to a less stringent standard than attorneys' formal pleadings. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam). This, however, “does not transform the court into an advocate” for Plaintiff; the court is not required to recognize Plaintiff's claims if there is clearly no factual basis supporting them. See Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 391 (4th Cir. 1990).

         Plaintiff filed his Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 1.) Section 1983 “'is not itself a source of substantive rights,' but merely provides ‘a method for vindicating federal rights elsewhere conferred.'” Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994) (quoting Baker v. McCollan, 442 U.S. 137, 144, n.3 (1979)). “Section 1983 . . . creates a private right of action to vindicate violations of ‘rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws' of the United States.” Rehberg v. Paulk, 566 U.S. 356, 361 (2012). To show a violation of § 1983, Plaintiff must show “(1) that [the state actors] ‘deprived [him] of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States'; and (2) that they ‘deprived [him] of this constitutional right under color of [State law].'” See Mentavlos v. Anderson, 249 F.3d 301, 310 (4th Cir. 2001) (quoting Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 150 (1970).

         Younger Abstention

         Plaintiff requests injunctive relief regarding his pending criminal charges in state court. (See generally ECF No. 1.) While the district court has the power to enjoin state officers in state criminal proceedings, such injunctive relief against a state officer should be exercised in only “extraordinary circumstances, where the danger of irreparable loss is both great and immediate.” Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 45 (1971). This court must not restrain state criminal prosecution unless the moving party has no “adequate remedy at law” and irreparable damage will result from the denial of injunctive relief. Id. at 43-44. Abstention from injunction, under Younger, is appropriate when the following requirements have been met: (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.” See Martin Marietta Corp. v. Md. Comm'n on Human Relations, 38 F.3d 1392, 1396 (4th Cir. 1994).

         There are ongoing state criminal proceedings at issue here involving Plaintiff. These proceedings implicate important state interests, as “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.” See Kelly v. Robinson, 479 U.S. 36, 49 (1986). Plaintiff may address his claims against the solicitor and public defender through his pending criminal proceedings. Furthermore, no “extraordinary circumstances” have been shown that would necessitate interference in the state court proceedings. Therefore, the court denies Plaintiff's request for an injunction to stay his pending state criminal charges.

         Failure to State a ...


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