United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charotte Division
D. Whitney Chief United States District Judge
MATTER is before the Court on initial review of
Plaintiff's Complaint, (Doc. No. 1). See 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e), 1915A(a). Plaintiff is
proceeding in forma pauperis. (Doc. No. 6).
Plaintiff Aziz Manteen-El, a North Carolina pre-trial
detainee incarcerated in the Mecklenburg County Jail, filed
the instant Complaint on April 30, 2018, pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, naming the following persons as
Defendants: (1) W. Robert Bell, identified as a North
Carolina Superior Court judge; (2) P. Lytle, identified as a
state magistrate in North Carolina; (3) R. Andrew Murray,
identified as a District Attorney in Charlotte, North
Carolina; (4) Karen D. McCullum, identified as an Assistant
Public Defender in Charlotte, North Carolina; (5) Kevin
Tully, identified as a Public Defender in Charlotte, North
Carolina; (6) Jessica B. Delucia, identified as an Assistant
Public Defender in Charlotte, North Carolina; (7) Peter
Nicholson, identified as an Assistant Public Defender in
Charlotte, North Carolina; (8) Irwin Carmichael, identified
as the Mecklenburg County Sheriff; (9) FNU Morton, identified
as an employee of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's
office; (10) FNU Albertson, identified as a Charlotte
Mecklenburg police officer; and (11) Tashaun S. Lane,
identified as an employee of McDonalds in Charlotte, North
Carolina. Although Plaintiff's allegations are not clear,
he appears to be complaining that he is being unlawfully
detained in the Mecklenburg County Jail on some unspecified
state criminal charges, after being arrested in Charlotte,
North Carolina, on November 21, 2017. Plaintiff seeks
compensatory and punitive damages.
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 or
malicious [or] fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Furthermore,
§ 1915A requires an initial review of a “complaint
in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a
governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental
entity, ” and the court must identify cognizable claims
or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if
the complaint is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted; or seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.
frivolity review, this 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). Furthermore, a
pro se complaint must be construed liberally. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). 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).
Plaintiff complains that he is being wrongfully detained in
the Mecklenburg County Jail because of pending state criminal
charges against him based on an illegal arrest. In
Younger v. Harris, the Supreme Court held that a
federal court should not interfere with state criminal
proceedings except in the most narrow and extraordinary of
circumstances. 401 U.S. 37, 43-44 (1971). Under the
Younger abstention doctrine, abstention is proper in
federal court when (1) there is an ongoing state court
proceeding; (2) the proceeding implicates important state
interests; and (3) the plaintiff has an adequate opportunity
to present the federal claims in the state proceeding.
Emp'rs Res. Mgmt. Co. v. Shannon, 65 F.3d 1126,
1134 (4th Cir. 1995). Here, the Court finds that all of the
elements of Younger have been met. The Court will,
therefore, abstain from addressing Plaintiff's claims
while state court criminal charges are pending against him.
as to state court judges and magistrates named as Defendants,
it is well established law that judges are absolutely immune
in a Section 1983 lawsuit for civil liability for actions
which they performed in their judicial capacity. Bradley
v. Fisher, 80 U.S. 335 (1871). This protection of
judicial immunity extends to situations where the allegations
raise a question of whether the judicial officer erred in
exercising judicial authority. See Dean v. Shirer,
547 F.2d 227, 231 (4th Cir. 1976) (“[T]he law has been
settled for centuries that a judge may not be attacked for
exercising his judicial authority, even if done
improperly.”). Here, Plaintiff's allegations relate
to conduct by the Defendant judges while they were acting in
their judicial capacities. Thus, the Defendant judges are
entitled to absolute judicial immunity.
as to any district attorneys and assistant district attorneys
named as Defendants, these Defendants enjoy absolute
prosecutorial immunity from suit. See Imbler v.
Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409 (1976). As to the attorney public
defenders named as Defendants, an attorney (whether retained,
court-appointed, or a public defender) does not act under
color of state law, which is a jurisdictional prerequisite
for any civil action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
See Polk Cnty. v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 312 (1981);
see also Davidson v. Ratliff No. 4:11-1072-RBH-SVH,
2011 WL 3678679, at *2 (D.S.C. June 3, 2011) (private counsel
was not acting under color of state law under 42 U.S.C.
for the reasons stated herein, this action will be dismissed.
conducted an initial review in accordance with 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2), the Court finds that this action must be
dismissed. To the extent that the Court is abstaining from
addressing Plaintiffs claims of an ...