United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
WILLIAM I. ERWIN, Plaintiff,
ERIC RODRIGUEZ, CHUCK VINES, Defendants.
D. Whitney, Chief United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court on initial review of pro
se Plaintiff William I. Erwin's Amended Complaint (Doc.
No. 12). See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A,
is a prisoner of the state of North Carolina. He names Eric
Rodriquez, identified as a detective employed by the Marion
Police Department, and Chuck Vines, identified as an agent
with the State Bureau of Investigation, as Defendants in this
action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
was arrested on May 18, 2016, and charged with murder,
attempted robbery, and first-degree burglary. He was
interrogated by Defendants. (Plaintiff's Aff. ¶ 1,
Doc. No. 12 at 7.) According to Plaintiff's affidavit
attached to the Complaint:
After a few minutes of [interrogation], I attempted to invoke
my right to have an attorney present by telling the officers
that I did not wish to speak to them any longer without an
attorney, and I attempted to remain silent. Instead of
honoring this request by stopping all questioning, they
discouraged my desire with an implied promise of leniency by
telling me that the district attorney would not go easy on me
if I did not co-operate with them.
The proposition of this faulse [sic] promise proved to be the
key to causing my will to be [overborne] and my defenses
collapsed. From this point forward I was in full compliance
with the officers [sic] requests and I scrupulously honored
my side of the bargaining chip I thought I had entered into.
During this extensive flow of information the officers gained
a considerable amount of knowledge concerning my personal
well being. I told them I was intoxicated on controlled
substances and suffering from a long term addiction, that I
had been deprive[d] of any significant amount of sleep for a
long period of time, and I was obviously malnourished and
extremely under weight. I told the[m] about my past, and on
going mental health issues and that I had been contemplating
and attempting to take my own life for the past few weeks. I
told them that I had reacquired a shotgun and had [intended]
to use it to kill myself had my arrest not occurred.
(Plaintiff's Aff. ¶¶ 2-4.)
contends that Defendants “are responsible for
circumventing [his] 5th Amendment protection against
compelled self-incrimination” (Am. Compl. 2, Doc. No.
12), and that they “acted with reckless indifference by
compelling [him] to confess to a crime” (Am. Compl. 3).
He seeks compensatory and punitive damages for the alleged
constitutional violation and for pain and suffering. (Am.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court must
review the Complaint to determine whether it is subject to
dismissal on the grounds that it is “frivolous, ”
“malicious, ” “fails to state a claim on
which relief may be granted, ” or “seeks monetary
relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). In its frivolity
review, the Court must determine whether the Complaint raises
an “indisputably meritless legal theory, ”
Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32 (1992), or is
founded upon clearly baseless factual contentions, such as
“fantastic or delusional scenarios, ” Neitzke
v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327-28 (1989).
complaint fails to state a claim if after accepting all
well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and drawing
all reasonable factual inferences from those allegations in
the plaintiff's favor, the complaint does not contain
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). While a pro se
complaint must be construed liberally, see Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), the liberal
construction requirement will not permit a district court to
ignore a plaintiff's clear failure to allege facts which
set forth a claim that is cognizable under federal law,
see Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387
(4th Cir. 1990).