United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
D. Whitney Chief United States District Judge
MATTER is before the Court on initial review of
Plaintiff's Complaint, (Doc. No. 1). Plaintiff is
proceeding in forma pauperis. See (Doc. No.
8). Also pending are two Rule 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss
that the United States Attorney's Office has filed under
limited special appearance prior to service of process and
has on behalf of Defendants Cacheris, Mullen, Smith, and
Rose. (Doc. Nos. 4, 5).
se Plaintiff Adam Truesdale has filed a civil rights
suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 with regards to his
allegedly illegal Armed Career Criminal sentence in a federal
criminal case that was imposed March 21, 2000, that resulted
in his false imprisonment. Plaintiff names as Defendants:
United States District Judges James C. Cacheris and Graham C.
Mullen, Assistant United States Attorneys Jill Westmoreland
Rose and Kenneth M. Smith, and appointed defense attorney
Richard D. Falls.
the Compliant liberally and accepting the allegations as
true, Plaintiff was sentenced as an Armed Career Criminal
pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 924(e) on March 21, 2000.
Plaintiff's 262-month sentence exceeds the statutory
maximum of 10 years' imprisonment for the offense of
possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine. He should
have been released in 2008 but, as a result of the illegal
sentence, he was not released until May 12, 2016. This
sentence violated due process and arbitrarily enforced the
law. Defendants engaged in misconduct by failing to apply
equal protection to Plaintiff, which would have shown the
presumptive term for drug offenses is three years'
imprisonment pursuant to State law. The unconstitutional
residual clauseindicates that the law is fallible.
Plaintiff was falsely imprisoned which caused him anxiety and
jeopardized his future success. Defendants deliberately
disregarded Plaintiff's right of due process that left
him incarcerated illegally for years. Plaintiff now suffers
from anxiety and is not comfortable around people. Plaintiff
is now being held in the Mecklenburg County Jail, where he
has spent the last 15 months, the “assumption” of
a probation violation. (Doc. No. 1 at 3). In fact, the
illegal sentence was amended to time served, so there is no
legal authority for any probation.
March 21, 2000, Plaintiff explained to defense counsel, Mr.
Falls, that he wanted to appeal the Armed Career Criminal
sentence, but counsel said that he is an Armed Career
Criminal and got the best deal that was possible with his
priors. Plaintiff disagreed but counsel did not file an
appeal. In 2001, Plaintiff asked for the transcript but his
request was denied. On May 16, 2017, Plaintiff asked the
Clerk of Court for assistance and he received no reply. In
2001, Plaintiff filed a motion requesting documents and
transcripts to prepare his motion to vacate pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2255 (f)(3), which the Court denied.
fact that Plaintiff's Armed Career Criminal sentence
exceeded the statutory maximum and violated the constitution
shows that Defendants violated due process and arbitrarily
violated the law.
asks the Defendants to reopen his prior case, and he seeks
compensatory damages for the eight years that he was
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Plaintiff is a prisoner proceeding in forma
pauperis, the Court must review the Complaint to
determine whether it is subject to dismissal on the grounds
that it is “(i) frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to
state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks
monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). In its
frivolity review, a court must determine whether the
Complaint raises an indisputably meritless legal theory 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
should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim
“unless ‘after accepting all well-pleaded
allegations in the plaintiff's complaint as true and
drawing all reasonable factual inferences from those facts in
the plaintiff's favor, it appears certain that the
plaintiff cannot prove any set of facts in support of his
claim entitling him to relief.'” Veney v.
Wyche, 293 F.3d 726, 730 (4th Cir. 2002) (quoting
Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 244 (4th
pro se complaint must be construed liberally.
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); see
also Smith v. Smith, 589 F.3d 736, 738 (4th Cir. 2009)
(“Liberal construction of the pleadings is particularly
appropriate where … there is a pro se
complaint raising civil rights issues.”). However, the
liberal construction requirement will not permit a district
court to ignore a clear failure to allege facts in his
complaint which set forth a claim that is cognizable under
federal law. Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901
F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990). A pro se complaint must
still contain sufficient facts “to raise a right to
relief above the speculative level” and “state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 570
(2007); see Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009)
(the Twombly plausibility standard applies to all
federal civil complaints including those filed under §
1983). This “plausibility standard requires a plaintiff
to demonstrate more than a sheer possibility that a defendant
has acted unlawfully.” Francis v. Giacomelli,
588 F.3d 186, 193 (4th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks
omitted). He must articulate facts that, when accepted as
true, demonstrate he has stated a claim entitling him to
are absolutely immune from suit for a deprivation of civil
rights” for actions taken within their jurisdiction.
King v. Myers, 973 F.2d 354, 356 (4th Cir. 1992).
For immunity to apply, the act in question must be a
“judicial act, ” that is, a “function [that
is] normally performed by a judge, and [for which] the
parties dealt with the judge in his or her judicial
capacity.” Id. A judge will not be deprived of
immunity “because the action he took was in error, was
done maliciously, or was in excess of his authority; ...