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Cook v. Sartin

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division

June 22, 2015

TERRY LYNN COOK,
v.
CAROLYN SARTIN, ET AL

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

MARK L. HORNSBY, Magistrate Judge.

In accordance with the standing order of this court, this matter was referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge for review, report and recommendation.

STATEMENT OF CLAIM

Before the court is a civil rights complaint filed in forma pauperis by pro se plaintiff Terry Lynn Cook ("Plaintiff"), pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This complaint was received and filed in this court on January 21, 2015. Plaintiff is incarcerated at the Caddo Correctional Center in Shreveport, Louisiana. He claims his civil rights were violated during his criminal trial proceedings. Plaintiff names attorney Carolyn Sartin, attorney Allen Golden, and the Caddo Parish Public Defender's Office as defendants.

Plaintiff claims attorney Carolyn Sartin provided him with ineffective assistance of counsel. He claims she has not worked on his case, has not kept him updated, has failed to listen to him, lies to him, and told him that he was going to serve time without first reviewing his case. Plaintiff claims he has written Carolyn Sartin and Allen Golden, the head of the Caddo Parish Public Defender's Office, but has not received a reply.

Accordingly, Plaintiff seeks monetary compensation.

For the following reasons, Plaintiff's civil rights complaint should be dismissed.

LAW AND ANALYSIS

Attorneys Carolyn Sartin and Allen J. Golden

Section 1983 prescribes redress for conduct by any person who, under color of state law, acts to deprive another person of any right, privilege or immunity secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States. 42 U.S.C. § 1983. A plaintiff in a civil rights suit must show that the conduct complained of was committed by a person acting under color of state law. Neither privately obtained nor court appointed defense attorneys act under color of state law for purposes of Section 1983.

Both a retained and a court appointed attorney serve their client, the accused; they do not serve the state. They serve a private function for their client that follows from the very nature of the attorney-client relationship and for which no state office or authority are needed. Hence, neither a retained nor a court appointed attorney acts under color of state law and cannot be held liable under Section 1983. See Polk County v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 312 (1981); Ellison v. DeLa Rosa, 685 F.2d 959, 960 (5th Cir. 1982); United States ex rel. Simmons v. Zibilich, 542 F.2d 259, 261 (5th Cir. 1976); Nelson v. Stratton, 469 F.2d 1155 (5th Cir. 1972); Richardson v. Fleming, 651 F.2d 366 (5th Cir. 1981); Mills v. Criminal District Court #3, 837 F.2d 677 (5th Cir. 1988)(citing Nelson, supra). Accordingly, Plaintiff's civil rights claims against Carolyn Sartin and Allen J. Golden should be dismissed as frivolous.

Caddo Parish Public Defender's Office and Allen Golden

Plaintiff claims Allen Golden failed to respond to his correspondence. 42 U.S.C. § 1983 will not support a claim based on a respondent superior theory of liability. See Mouille v. City of Live Oak, 977 F.2d 924 (5th Cir. 1992), cert. denied, 508 U.S. 951, 113 S.Ct. 2443, 124 L.Ed.2d 660 (1993); Jennings v. Joshua Independent School District, 877 F.2d 313 (5th Cir. 1989), cert. denied, 496 U.S. 935, 110 S.Ct. 3212, 119 L.Ed.2d 226 (1990). Accordingly, Plaintiff's ...


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