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Williams v. Davis

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

March 8, 2018

STEVEN R. WILLIAMS
v.
LYNDA VAN DAVIS ET AL.

         SECTION “A” (2)

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          JOSEPH C. WILKINSON, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff, Steven R. Williams, is a prisoner currently incarcerated in the Louisiana State Penitentiary (“Angola”) in Angola, Louisiana. He filed this complaint pro se and in forma pauperis pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against former Orleans Parish Criminal District Judge Lynda Van Davis and his former defense counsel, Jason Roger Williams. Record Doc. No. 3 (Amended Complaint). In summary, plaintiff asserts the following:

(1) Judge Van Davis and defense counsel Williams acted “as if they did not know what [was] going on” when he was indicted under Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Division “B” Case No. 444-752, which was not timely prosecuted and “was dismissed” by the District Attorney's office. Id. at p. 4 (Section IV).
(2) Judge Van Davis is “hiding the DA [Office's] first indictment in Case No. 439-481, ” which is still pending in a different section of the Orleans Parish Criminal Court. Id.; p. 6, ¶ A.
(3) Judge Van Davis and defense counsel Williams did not proceed under pending Case No. 439-481, which was transferred to Judge Van Davis's section but proceeded instead under the “nonexistent” Case No. 444-752, which was dismissed by the District Attorney's office. Id. at p. 7, ¶ B.
(4) In April 2005, over a year after Case No. 444-752 was dismissed on February 10, 2004, he was “taken to a mock (fake) trial and voidly convicted” and sentenced to life imprisonment in the non-existent Case No. 444-752. Id., ¶¶ C and H.

         Plaintiff seeks an injunction, copies of the transcripts from a status hearing conducted on February 10, 2004, concerning Case No. 444-752, and that the District Attorney's office “show from [the] transcripts or court minute entry where Case No. 439-481 was dismissed by the D.A.['s] office.” Id. at p. 5, ¶ V.

         ANALYSIS

         I. STANDARDS OF REVIEW

         A prisoner's pro se complaint for alleged civil rights violations must be screened by the court as soon as practicable after docketing, regardless of whether it has also been filed in forma pauperis. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a); Lewis v. Estes, 242 F.3d 375, 2000 WL 1673382, at *1 (8th Cir. 2006); Shakur v. Selsky, 391 F.3d 106, 112 (2d Cir. 2004); Martin v. Scott, 156 F.3d 578, 579-80 (5th Cir. 1998). Such complaints by prisoners and by others proceeding in forma pauperis must be dismissed upon review if they are frivolous or fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b).

         A complaint is frivolous “if it lacks an arguable basis in law or fact.” Davis v. Scott, 157 F.3d 1003, 1005 (5th Cir. 1998); Reeves v. Collins, 27 F.3d 174, 176 (5th Cir. 1994). The law “‘accords judges not only the authority to dismiss a claim based on an indisputably meritless legal theory, but also the unusual power to pierce the veil of the complaint's factual allegations and dismiss those claims whose factual contentions are clearly baseless.'” Macias v. Raul A. (Unknown), Badge No. 153, 23 F.3d 94, 97 (5th Cir. 1994) (quoting Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989)).

         “‘A complaint lacks an arguable basis in law if it is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory, such as if the complaint alleges the violation of a legal interest which clearly does not exist.'” Davis, 157 F.3d at 1005 (quoting McCormick v. Stalder, 105 F.3d 1059, 1061 (5th Cir. 1997)). “When a complaint raises an arguable question of law which the district court ultimately finds is correctly resolved against the plaintiff, dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is appropriate; however, dismissal under the section 1915(d) standard is not.” Moore v. Mabus, 976 F.2d 268, 269 (5th Cir. 1992).

         In this case, plaintiff's Section 1983 complaint must be dismissed either as legally frivolous, for failure to state a claim or because it seeks relief from one defendant who is immune and ...


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