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Stevens v. Barham

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

September 17, 2019

GREG STEVENS
v.
WILL BARHAM, 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 May 1');">14, 201');">19, under 42 U.S.C. § 1');">1983. He names the following defendants: Assistant District Attorney Will Barham and the Fifth Judicial District, District Attorney's Office.[1');">1" name="FN1');">1" id= "FN1');">1">1');">1] For reasons that follow, the Court should dismiss Plaintiff's claims.

         Background

         Plaintiff alleges that, on June 1');">1, 201');">17, Captain Todd Roberts filed a criminal complaint against him. [doc. # 1');">10');">1');">10, 1');">1');">p. 1');">1]. The same day, a trial judge signed a warrant for Plaintiff's arrest. [doc. #s 1');">10');">1');">10, 1');">1');">p. 1');">1; 1');">10');">1');">10-1');">1, p. 8');">p. 8]. At the time, Plaintiff was already incarcerated for a parole violation. [doc. # 1');">10');">1');">10, p1');">1');">p. 1');">1, 3]. He maintains that, although Captain Todd Roberts knew where he was incarcerated, Roberts did not arrest him for the charges in the June 1');">1, 201');">17 complaint.[2]Id. at 2.

         On June 1');">19, 201');">17, Roberts filed a criminal complaint against Plaintiff before the Fifth Judicial District, District Attorney's Office. Id. at 3. Plaintiff refers to this as “the initiation of prosecution” and claims that, starting June 1');">19, 201');">17, he lacked appointed counsel for forty-four days. [doc. # 1');">1, p. 3]. He faults Assistant District Attorney Will Barham, claiming that, because he had not been arrested yet, it was Barham's responsibility to bring him before a judge so the judge could appoint counsel. [doc. # 1');">10');">1');">10, p. 4].

         On June 20, 201');">17, Barham filed a bill of information even though, according to Plaintiff, he knew that the alleged victim lied when she stated that Plaintiff “made her call [him] every two hours while [he] was at work” and when she stated that Plaintiff “used her phone to send her boyfriend . . . specific and explicit text messages.” Id. at 2, 22.

         On August 2, 201');">17, the trial court arraigned Plaintiff and appointed him counsel. Id. at 1');">10');">1');">10, 1');">19.

         On January 9, 201');">18, Plaintiff's counsel moved for a preliminary examination. Id. at 1');">12. Plaintiff claims that, at a February 22, 201');">18 hearing on the motion, Barham “produce[d] the absence” of the State's primary witness, Roberts, to prevent the alleged victim from testifying and to secure a continuance. Id. at 1');">12-1');">13. Plaintiff claims that Barham's actions constituted “crimen falsi.” Id. at 1');">13. The trial court continued the hearing. Id.

         Plaintiff was arrested on February 28, 201');">18. Id. at 1');">15. On April 1');">11');">1, 201');">18, Barham presented the allegations against Plaintiff to a grand jury. Id. at 1');">15. Plaintiff faults Barham for bringing his “case to the grand jury ten months after the initiation of prosecution and eight months after the bill of information was filed . . . .” [doc. # 1');">1, p. 3]. Plaintiff, moreover, faults Barham for presenting the victim's “inconsistent statements and perjured testimony” to the grand jury and for failing to inform the grand jury that the victim had a history of alcohol abuse. [doc. #s 1');">1, p. 3; 1');">10');">1');">10, 1');">1');">p. 1');">16].

         On April 25, 201');">18, the trial court “dismissed” the preliminary examination. Id. at 1');">13.

         Plaintiff claims that Barham deprived him of his liberty and caused him humiliation, embarrassment, emotional distress, and emotional suffering. Id. at 1');">19. Plaintiff seeks $1');">1, 500, 000.00, and he asks the Court to dismiss his charges with prejudice. Id.

         Law and Analysis

         1');">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. § 1');">191');">15A.[3] See Martin v. Scott,1');">156 F.3d 578, 579-80 (5th Cir. 1');">1998) (per curiam). Because he is proceeding in forma pauperis, his Complaint is also subject to screening under § 1');">191');">15(e)(2). Both § 1');">191');">15(e)(2)(B) and § 1');">191');">15A(b) provide for sua sponte dismissal of the complaint, or any portion thereof, if the Court finds it is ...


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