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Adams-Bey v. Rogers

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

May 17, 2018

FNU ROGERS, et al., Defendants.


          Frank D. Whitney, Chief United States District Judge.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on initial review of pro se Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, (Doc. No. 26). Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis. See (Doc. No. 7).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Pro se Plaintiff Gregory Adams-Bey[1] has filed a civil rights suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc-1(a), with regards to incidents that allegedly occurred at the Lanesboro Correctional Institution. The Complaint was dismissed on initial review because Plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The Court granted him the opportunity to file an Amended Complaint which is now before the Court for initial review.[2]

         Plaintiff names the following as Defendants in their official and individual capacities: Superintendent John Herring, Correctional Officer and Security Risk Group (“SRG”) Intelligence Officer Hatley, Prison Emergency Response Team (“PERT”) Officer FNU Gibbs, and PERT Officer FNU Adams.

         Construing the Amended Complaint liberally and accepting it as true, PERT Officers Defendants Adams and Gibbs searched Plaintiff's unit between 7:00 and 11:30 AM on February 18, 2017. Defendants Adams, Gibbs, and an unidentified officer placed Plaintiff in handcuffs, and made him step out of the cell. Gibbs stood outside of Plaintiff's cell with him while Adams and the unidentified officer searched through Plaintiff's legal property. Plaintiff saw Adams breaking seals on legal envelopes and reading “VERY VITAL LEGAL PETITIONS” and told Gibbs that he had “vital LEGAL MATERIAL” that was being tampered with. (Doc. No. 26 at 3). Gibbs instructed Plaintiff to step away from the door because he was not allowed to see what was going on.

         Adams left the cell with legal petitions and a flyer for the birthday feast of “profit Noble Drew-Ali….” (Doc. No. 26 at 4). Plaintiff asked Adams to return the legal material but Adams laughed and said “YEAH, MOORISH GUY, PRAY AND GET YOUR SHIT BACK!” (Doc. No. 26 at 4). The legal material seized from Plaintiff consisted of:

An Averment of Jurisdiction in appearance De Bene Esse ‘Special Appearance' Petitions to state and federal courts challenging conviction & pending charge; proof of Denationalization Motions Amended Complaint 5:16CTS 0202 Interrogatories, Petition for Discretionary Review to the North Carolina Supreme Court, Supplemental Grievance on ADA Connie Jordan of New Hanover County to the North Carolina State Bar, letter/instruments to and fro the Colorado Secretary of State, etc.

(Doc. No. 26 at 4).

         Plaintiff claims that all of the foregoing pertained to civil rights and liberty issues which he was hindered in pursuing. Plaintiff stressed the validity of his legal materials and that there were deadlines that would lead to default.

         Plaintiff received a sanction charging him with contraband SRG material. He was charged with a disciplinary offense for gang or Security Threat Group (“STG”) activities. Defendant Hatley made untrue allegations and sanctioned Plaintiff, stating that Plaintiff used “SOVEREIGN CITIZEN TACTICS BY ISSUING FALSE SUMMONS AGAINST STATE AND GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS.” (Doc. No. 26 at 5). Hatley classified him as SRG without a disciplinary hearing. Plaintiff was never found guilty by a Disciplinary Hearing Officer.

         He further alleges that “Plaintiffs facts in averment along with proof of the International Crime of DENATIONALIZATION etc; with civil claims have been hindered in being proved to obtain redress in litispendence.” (Doc. No. 26 at 5).

         Plaintiff seeks declaratory judgment; preliminary and permanent injunction; compensatory damages; punitive damages; dismissal of sentence in case number 12CRS58024, 12CRS9328; dismissal of pending charge 16CR060166; a jury trial; costs; and any additional relief the court deems just, proper and equitable. (Doc. No. 26 at 9).


         Because 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 Cir. 1999)).

         A 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 ...

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