Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Morris v. Maggie

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

May 8, 2019

REGINALD T MORRIS #1077432
v.
PUBLIC DEFENDER MAGGIE ET

          JUNEAU JUDGE.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Patrick J. Hanna United States Magistrate Judge.

         Pro se complainant, Reginald T. Morris, an inmate in the custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections, filed the instant civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 on April 29, 2019. Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center (LPCC). He names the following as defendants: Public Defender Maggie, Assistant District Attorney Renee M. Louviera and Judge Comeaux. 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. For the following reasons it is recommended that the complaint be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE as frivolous and for failing to state a claim for which relief may be granted.

         Statement of the Case

         Plaintiff alleges that the public defender in St. Martin Parish violated his constitutional rights by refusing to properly defend him. Judge Comeaux violated his civil rights by refusing to remove Maggie, the public defender, from his case and the Assistant District Attorney, along with Judge Comeaux and the public defender, acted improperly in connection with the proceedings against him in St. Martin Parish.

         Law and Analysis

         1. Frivolity Review

         Morris has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this matter. Accordingly, his complaint is subject to screening under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), which provides for sua sponte dismissal of the complaint or any portion thereof if the court determines that it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii).

         A complaint is frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis in law or fact. Gonzalez v. Wyatt, 157 F.3d 1016, 1019 (5th Cir. 1998). A complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted if it is clear the plaintiff cannot prove any set of facts in support of his claim that would entitle him to relief. Doe v. Dallas Indep. Sch. Dist., 153 F.3d 211, 215 (5th Cir. 1998). When determining whether a complaint is frivolous or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, the court must accept the plaintiff's allegations as true. Horton v. Cockrell, 70 F.3d 397, 400 (5th Cir. 1995) (frivolity); Bradley v. Puckett, 157 F.3d at 1025 (failure to state a claim).

         2. Defendants

         a. Judge Comeaux

         Plaintiff's claims against Judge Comeaux arise out of the performance of his judicial duties. Judges have absolute immunity for acts done within the scope of their jurisdiction. Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349 (1978). The Fifth Circuit has delineated three elements to identify acts as being judicial in nature, and thus not in the clear absence of all jurisdiction: “(1) normal judicial functions that (2) occurred in the judge's court or chambers and were (3) centered around a case pending before the judge.” Eitel v. Holland, 787 F.2d 995, 998 (5th Cir.1986). These factors are construed liberally in favor of immunity. Adams v. McIlhany, 764 F.2d 294, 297 (5th Cir.1985). As the claims against Judge Comeaux meet the criteria set forth above, he is immune from suit and claims against him should be dismissed.

         b. Public Defender Maggie

         Plaintiff alleges wrongdoing on the part of the head St. Martin Parish Public Defender's Office, Maggie. Section 1983 claims require that the conduct complained of be done under color of law, and private attorneys, even court-appointed attorneys, are not official state actors, and generally are not subject to suit under section 1983. Nelson v. Stratton, 469 F.2d 1155 (5th Cir.1972), cert. denied, 410 U.S. 957 (1973). As a matter of law, the acts of an individual's attorney in representing a criminal defendant do not constitute the necessary "state action" for a viable claim under ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.