United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division
A. DOUGHTY JUDGE
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
L. HAYES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Greg Stevens, a prisoner at Franklin Parish Detention Center
proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed the instant
proceeding on April 9, 2019, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He
names Clerk of Court Ann Johnson and Judge John Hamilton as
defendants. For reasons stated below, the Court should
dismiss Plaintiff's claims.
alleges that, on May 15, 2018, he filed an application for
writ of habeas corpus before the Fifth Judicial District
Court, Franklin Parish, and that on May 18, 2018, the trial
judge ordered Clerk of Court Ann Johnson “to notify the
Office of Public Defender, Fifth Judicial District, of the
writ of habeas corpus being filed so they could appoint
counsel to assist [him] with the writ of habeas corpus
proceedings.” [doc. # 6, p. 3');">p. 3]. Plaintiff claims that
Johnson “refused to notify the Office of Public
Defender, ” that he “was never appointed counsel
to assist [him] with the writ, ” and that, as a result,
his “writ of habeas corpus was denied on March 13,
2019.” Id. Plaintiff labels Johnson's
inaction, “nonfeasance.” Id.
maintains that he filed the application for writ of habeas
corpus because, in his underlying criminal proceeding, he was
not appointed counsel prior to the deadline for appointing
counsel. [doc. # 22');">22');">22');">22, p. 2]. As the undersigned
understands Plaintiff's claim, he contends that, had
Johnson facilitated the appointment of counsel in his habeas
corpus proceeding, counsel in the habeas corpus proceeding
would have secured his release due to the delay in appointing
counsel in his underlying criminal proceeding. Id.
has pending charges of second-degree kidnapping,
second-degree rape, and second-degree battery. [doc. # 22');">22');">22');">22, p.
3]. He filed his application for writ of habeas corpus to
secure release in connection with all of these charges.
Plaintiff claims that he attempted to file a civil rights
complaint on March 27, 2019, before the Fifth Judicial
District Court, but Johnson refused to file it “because
she did not know what to do with it.” [doc. #s 6, p. 3');">p. 3;
22');">22');">22');">22, p. 4]. Plaintiff was consequently forced to file his
claims in this civil rights proceeding. Id.
respect to his claims against Johnson, Plaintiff asks the
Court to dismiss his charges with prejudice and to award $1,
500, 000.00 in compensation. [doc. #s 6, p. 4; 22');">22');">22');">22, p. 3');">p. 3].
filed an amended pleading on July 29, 2019, naming Judge John
Hamilton as a defendant. [doc. # 23');">23]. Plaintiff alleges that
Judge Hamilton presided over “the writ of habeas corpus
proceedings.” Id. at 6.
claims that Judge Hamilton: (1) “allowed the writ of
habeas corpus to be continued five times” while
Plaintiff was without counsel; (2) conducted the habeas
corpus proceeding on November 8, 2018, “151 days past
[the] max[imum] time limit”; (3) did not inform him of
his right to appointed counsel for the habeas corpus
proceeding or otherwise ask Plaintiff if he wanted an
attorney; (4) did not conduct a hearing to ascertain if
Plaintiff was competent to represent himself; (5) failed to
prevent one of Plaintiff's public defenders from
representing him after Plaintiff informed Judge Hamilton that
the public defender was operating under a conflict of
interest; (6) should have granted the application for writ of
habeas corpus and released Plaintiff; (7) is allowing the
prosecution to use the victim's perjured statements; and
(8) “allowed the prosecution to continue after being
informed that the Assistant District Attorney took this case
to the grand jury ten months after the initiation of
prosecution . . . for the sole purpose of getting
[Plaintiff's] preliminary examination motion
dismissed.” Id. at 6-7, 11, 14, 15. Plaintiff
clarifies that his appointed counsel from his underlying
criminal proceeding was present at the habeas corpus
proceeding, but counsel did not assist him. Id. at
Hamilton conducted another hearing on January 16, 2019.
Id. at 8. As noted, Judge Hamilton denied
Plaintiff's habeas corpus application on March 13, 2019.
Id. at 9. Plaintiff challenges the denial,
maintaining that the delay in appointing counsel in his
underlying criminal proceeding clearly compelled his release.
Id. at 14. According to Plaintiff, prosecution was
initiated on June 19, 2017,  and counsel was appointed on
August 2, 2017. Id.
alleges that he has suffered humiliation, embarrassment,
emotional distress, and “emotional suffering.”
Id. at 16. He seeks $7, 500, 000.00. Id.
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, his 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, 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 ...