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.

Stevens v. Johnson

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

August 8, 2019

GREG STEVENS
v.
ANN JOHNSON, ET AL.

         SECTION P

          TERRY A. DOUGHTY JUDGE

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          KAREN L. HAYES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff 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.[1] For reasons stated below, the Court should dismiss Plaintiff's claims.

         Background

         Plaintiff 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.

         Plaintiff 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.[2] [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.

         Plaintiff 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. Id.

         Next, 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.

         With 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].

         Plaintiff 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.

         Plaintiff 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 7.

         Judge 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, [3] and counsel was appointed on August 2, 2017. Id.

         Plaintiff alleges that he has suffered humiliation, embarrassment, emotional distress, and “emotional suffering.” Id. at 16. He seeks $7, 500, 000.00. Id.

         Law and Analysis

         1. Preliminary Screening

         Plaintiff 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.[4] 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 ...


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.