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VanBuren v. District Attorney Office Ouachita Parish

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

April 18, 2018

JOSHUA J. VANBUREN
v.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY OFFICE OUACHITA PARISH, ET AL.

         SECTION P

          JUDGE, TERRY A. DOUGHTY

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          KAREN L. HAYES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Joshua J. VanBuren, a detainee at Ouachita Correctional Center proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed the instant Complaint on December 28, 2017, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff alleges that he is awaiting trial on charges of aggravated assault with a firearm and illegal use of a dangerous weapon. He names “District Attorney Office Ouachita Parish, ” Josephine P. Heller, Nick Anderson, Doug Walker, Daniel J. Hunter, and Shirley Wilson Davis as Defendants.[1] For the following reasons it is recommended that Plaintiff's Complaint be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

         Background

         Plaintiff alleges that he has “been a victim of multiple malicious prosecution[s] filed by the Ouachita Parish, LA District Attorney['s] Office.” He claims that several district attorneys have filed and dismissed multiple bills of information.[2]

         Plaintiff maintains that, on January 4, 2011, Defendant Davis charged him with distribution of cocaine. On April 7, 2017, Defendant Walker moved to dismiss the charge. Plaintiff alleges that, on June 6, 2012, Defendant Heller charged him with possession of cocaine and “possession while on school property or within 1000 ft. of school property.” On March 11, 2013, Defendant Anderson moved to dismiss the charges.

         On July 18, 2014, Defendant Anderson charged Plaintiff with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of Alprazolam with intent to distribute, and possession of drug paraphernalia. On April 7, 2017, Defendant Walker moved to dismiss the charges. On September 19, 2014, Defendant Walker charged Plaintiff with attempted second degree murder and intimidating a witness. On February 16, 2016, Defendant Walker moved to dismiss the charges.

         On March 15, 2017, Defendant Hunter charged Plaintiff with aggravated assault with a firearm and illegal use of a dangerous weapon. Plaintiff argues that he was “twice put in jeopardy for the same offense.” He maintains that he has been incarcerated since January 26, 2017, on pending charges.

         Plaintiff seeks nominal damages, $500, 000.00 in punitive damages, and $500, 000.00 in compensatory damages for pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of wages, and defamation. Plaintiff filed a related suit in this Court on December 28, 2017, alleging that several officers and detectives employed by the West Monroe Police Department falsely arrested him on multiple occasions. VanBuren v. Police Dep't City of West Monroe, No. 3:17-cv-1684 (W.D. LA. Dec. 28, 2017). That proceeding is pending. Id.

         Law and Analysis

         1. Preliminary Screening

         Plaintiff is a detainee who has been permitted to proceed in forma pauperis. As a detainee seeking redress from an officer or employee of a governmental entity, his complaint is subject to preliminary screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.[3] See Martin v. Scott, 156 F.3d 578, 579-80 (5th Cir.1998) (per curiam). Because he is proceeding in forma pauperis, his 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. Courts are also afforded the unusual power to pierce the veil of ...


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