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Billiot v. Sullivan

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

January 14, 2015

MELVIN R. BILLIOT,
v.
DISTRICT JUDGE HENRY G. SULLIVAN, ET AL., Section:

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

SALLY SHUSHAN, District Judge.

Plaintiff, Melvin R. Billiot, a state pretrial detainee, filed this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[1] He named as defendants Judge Henry G. Sullivan, Deputy Mercadel, and Assistant Sergeant J. Alexander. On January 6, 2015, the undersigned conducted a Spears hearing in order to better understand the nature and factual bases of plaintiff's claims. See Spears v. McCotter, 766 F.2d 179 (5th Cir. 1985). The United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has observed that a Spears hearing is in the nature of a Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e) motion for more definite statement, and a plaintiff's testimony at such a hearing becomes a part of the total filing by the pro se applicant. Eason v. Holt, 73 F.3d 600, 602 (5th Cir. 1996). Based on plaintiff's complaint and his testimony at the Spears hearing, the Court finds that plaintiff is making the following allegations in this lawsuit.

After plaintiff filed a motion to suppress evidence in his state criminal case, Judge Sullivan improperly denied the motion and allowed perjured testimony into evidence. Plaintiff then sought supervisory review from the Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal and the Louisiana Supreme Court. He subsequently received the rulings in envelopes purportedly mailed to him from those courts; however, he suspects that the rulings were inauthentic because the envelopes had no cancellation markings from the postal service and the rulings bore only the judges' initials rather than their actual signatures. Based on the foregoing, plaintiff suspects that defendant Mercadel, who works in the jail's mailroom, never actually mailed his writ applications to the courts and is somehow involved in the forgery of the purported rulings.

Plaintiff also alleges that, during an incident at the jail on March 31, 2013, he was hit on the legs with a "billy stick" by Assistant Sergeant J. Alexander.[2] At the Spears hearing, plaintiff stated that he was not injured; however, he was upset that it occurred. He further testified that he did not file an administrative grievance concerning that incident.[3]

I. Standards of Review

Federal law mandates that federal courts "review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity." 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).[4] Regarding such lawsuits, federal law further requires:

On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint -
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

Additionally, with respect to actions filed in forma pauperis, such as the instant lawsuit, federal law similarly provides:

Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that... the action or appeal -
(i) is frivolous or malicious;
(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may ...

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