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Taylor v. Doggett

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

March 1, 2019

DERECK TAYLOR JR., Plaintiff
v.
MARY DOGGETT, ET AL., Defendants

          JUDGE DEE D. DRELL

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          JOSEPH H.L. PEREZ-MONTES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before the Court is a civil rights Complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 filed by pro se Plaintiff Dereck Taylor Jr. (“Taylor”) (#594882). (Docs. 1, 5). Taylor is a pretrial detainee, currently housed at the Rapides Parish Detention Center in Alexandria, Louisiana. He names as Defendants Judge Mary Doggett, Correctional Officer J. Morrow, and Correctional Officer B. Neal. (Doc. 5, p. 3). Taylor challenges the criminal charges pending against him in the Ninth Judicial District Court, Rapides Parish. Taylor seeks compensatory damages as well as the dismissal of the charges.

         Because Judge Doggett is immune from suit; the dismissal of charges cannot be obtained in a civil rights action; and Taylor presents no claims against Defendants Morrow and Neal, the Complaint (Docs. 1, 5) should be DENIED and DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

         I. Background

         Taylor alleges that he was arrested and charged with attempted second-degree murder. (Doc. 1-2, p. 7). According to information provided to the Court in a prior lawsuit, Taylor filed a motion to dismiss his criminal case for lack of jurisdiction, which Judge Doggett denied. (1:17-cv-999, Doc. 1, p. 5). Judge Doggett determined that Taylor needed an attorney and could not represent himself in the criminal proceeding. (1:17-cv-999, Doc. 1, p. 5). Taylor also previously alleged that Judge Doggett sent him to the Eastern Louisiana Mental Health System “to be competent again.” (1:17-cv-999, Doc. 1, p. 5).

         Taylor is now incarcerated at the Rapides Parish Detention Center. Taylor claims that Judge Doggett failed to adequately inform him of the charges against him and denied his motions to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. (Doc. 1, p. 1; Doc. 5, p. 3).

         Taylor also lists as Defendants Correctional Officers Morrow and Neal (Doc. 5, p. 3), but he does not provide any allegations involving those Defendants.

         II. Law and Analysis

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

         Taylor is an inmate who has been allowed to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 13). As a prisoner seeking redress from an officer or employee of a governmental entity, Taylor'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, Taylor'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. Judge Doggett is entitled to immunity.

         Taylor claims that Judge Doggett failed to adequately inform him of the charges against him and improperly denied his motions to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. (Doc. 5, p. 3). “Judicial officers are entitled to absolute immunity from claims for damages arising out of acts performed in the exercise of their judicial functions.” Boyd v. Biggers, 31 F.3d 279, 284 (5th Cir. 1994). “A judge is absolutely immune from liability for his judicial acts even if his exercise of authority is flawed by the commission of grave procedural errors.” Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 359 (1978). “[J]udicial immunity is an immunity from suit, not just from ultimate assessment of ...


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