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Lukens v. Rapides Parish District Attorney's Office

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

February 8, 2018

STEPHEN ALLEN LUKENS, Plaintiff
v.
RAPIDES PARISH DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, ET AL., Defendants

          DEE D. DRELL JUDGE.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION JUDGE.

          Joseph H.L. Perez-Montes United States Magistrate Judge.

         Before the Court is a civil rights complaint (42 U.S.C. § 1983) filed by pro se Plaintiff Stephen Allen Lukens (“Lukens”). Lukens was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 4). Lukens is a pretrial detainee housed at the Rapides Parish Detention Center. Lukens complains that he was not timely charged by indictment or bill of information.

         This matter has been referred to the undersigned for review, report, and recommendation in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636 and the standing orders of the Court.

         I. Background

         Lukens was arrested and incarcerated on July 26, 2017. (Doc. 8). Lukens was not arraigned until December 11, 2017. (Doc. 8). Lukens alleges that he should have been charged by indictment or information within 120 days of his detention. (Docs. 1, 8).

         II. Law and Analysis

         A. Lukens's complaint is subject to screening under §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A.

         Lukens is a prisoner who has been permitted to proceed in forma pauperis. As a prisoner seeking redress from an officer or employee of a governmental entity, Lukens's complaint is subject to preliminary screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. See Martin v. Scott, 156 F.3d 578, 579-80 (5th Cir. 1998) (per curiam). Because he is proceeding in forma pauperis, Lukens's complaint is also subject to screening under § 1915(e)(2). Both §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b) provide for sua sponte dismissal of the complaint, or any portion thereof, if the Court finds it is frivolous or malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.

         A complaint is frivolous when it “lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). A claim lacks an arguable basis in law when it is “based on an indisputably meritless legal theory.” Id. at 327. A complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted when it fails to plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007); Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009).

         B. Lukens cannot obtain a release from custody through a § 1983 suit.

         Lukens asks that he be released from custody and that all charges against him be dismissed. (Doc. 1). A release from custody is not available through a civil rights action, and must be requested through a petition for writ of habeas corpus. See Carson v. Johnson, 112 F.3d 818, 820 (5th Cir. 1997); Cook v. Texas Dep't of Criminal Justice Transitional Planning Dep't, 37 F.3d 166, 168 (5th Cir. 1994); Pugh v. Parish of St. Tammany, 875 F.2d 436, 439 (5th Cir. 1989). A civil rights suit is the proper procedure for attacking unconstitutional conditions of confinement and prison procedures. See Carson, 112 F.3d at 820; Cook, 37 F.3d at 168 (§ 1983 action is appropriate for recovering damages resulting from illegal administrative procedures, but habeas corpus is the appropriate federal remedy for a state prisoner challenging the fact of his confinement). “Challenges to the validity of any confinement or to particulars affecting its duration are the province of habeas corpus.” Muhammad v. Close, 540 U.S. 749, 750 (2004). Therefore, Lukens's § 1983 complaint should be dismissed.

         C. The defendants are immune from suit.

         Lukens names as defendants the Rapides Parish District Attorney's Office and District Attorney Phillip Terrell. To the extent that Lukens seeks monetary damages from Defendant ...


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