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Erwin v. Rodriguez

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division

September 15, 2017

WILLIAM I. ERWIN, Plaintiff,
v.
ERIC RODRIGUEZ, CHUCK VINES, Defendants.

          ORDER

          FRANK D. WHITNEY, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         THIS 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, 1915(e).[1]

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff 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.

         Plaintiff 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.)

         Plaintiff 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. Compl. 3-4.)

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Because 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).

         A 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).

         III. ...


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