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Edwards v. State

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

September 25, 2019

COCA L. EDWARDS, JR., Plaintiff
v.
STATE OF LOUISIANA, ET AL., Defendants

          DEE D. DRELL JUDGE

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

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

         Before the Court is a civil rights Complaint and Amended Complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 filed by pro se Plaintiff Coca L. Edwards (“Edwards”). (Docs. 1, 6). At the time of filing, Edwards was a pretrial detainee at the Jackson Parish Correctional Center (“JPCC”) in Jonesboro, Louisiana. Edwards complains that he was wrongfully arrested in Winn Parish and subjected to excessive force after being transferred to JPCC. (Doc. 1, p. 4).

         Because Edwards's excessive force claim is without merit, and his claim regarding his arrest and detention is barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), Edwards's Complaint and Amended Complaint (Docs. 1, 6) should be DENIED and DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

         I. Background

         Edwards alleges that he was wrongfully stopped by a law enforcement officer who informed Edwards that he would be cited for an expired registration and license plate. (Doc. 1, p. 3). Several other law enforcement officers arrived, and the state trooper on the scene asked for consent to search Edwards's vehicle. (Doc. 1, p. 3). Although Edwards initially agreed, he subsequently changed his mind and declined to give consent. (Doc. 1, p. 3). Nonetheless, Edwards alleges that he heard an officer state that the K-9 had made a “responsive alert.” (Doc. 1, p. 7). Officers then entered Edwards's vehicle and confiscated Edwards's property. (Doc. 1, p. 8).

         Edwards alleges that he was arrested and transported to the Winn Parish Sheriff's Office. (Doc. 1, p. 8). The following day, Edwards was informed he was having a bond hearing by telephone. (Doc. 10). Edwards alleges that he could not hear the judge over the speakerphone. (Doc. 1, p. 10).

         Edwards was called to meet with someone from the Indigent Defender Board, who asked Edwards to sign paperwork if he wanted a bond reduction. (Doc. 1, p. 11). Edwards refused to sign. (Doc. 1, p. 11).

         According to his exhibits, Edwards was charged with several drug offenses as well as possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. (Doc. 18-1, p. 25). Edwards alleges that he filed numerous pro se motions in the Eighth Judicial District Court, which were denied. (Doc. 1, p. 13). Edwards alleges he was eventually convicted of the crimes charged. (Doc. 19).

         After his arrest, Edwards was transported to JPCC. (Doc. 1, p. 11). Edwards alleges that Captain Kelly entered his dorm and shouted to the men that they would receive haircuts in the front of the dorm. (Doc. 1, p. 15). Edwards refused to leave his bunk area, explaining to Captain Kelly that he did not want a haircut. (Doc. 1, p. 15). Captain Kelly ordered Edwards to the “interlock.” Once inside the “interlock, ” Captain Kelly ordered Edwards to turn around. (Doc. 1, p. 15). Edwards states that he did not comply with the first or second order. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Edwards alleges that, after Captain Kelly gave the order a third time, he sprayed Edwards with Mace as Edwards was beginning to turn in compliance with the order. (Doc. 1, p. 15). After being sprayed, Edwards turned away again. (Doc. 1, p. 15). Edwards alleges that, as he turned back toward Captain Kelly, he was sprayed a second time. (Doc. 1, p. 15). Edwards further claims that he was led to a barber's chair but stood up saying he did not want his hair cut. Captain Kelly and several other officers forced him to sit. (Doc. 1, p. 15). Captain Kelly then put Edwards “in a choke hold and took [Edwards] to the floor, ” giving someone instructions to cut Edwards's hair. (Doc. 1, p. 15).

         II. Law and Analysis

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

         Edwards is a prisoner who has been allowed to proceed in forma pauperis. Title 28 U.S.C. § 1915A provides for the preliminary screening of lawsuits filed by prisoners seeking redress from an officer or employee of a governmental entity. See Martin v. Scott, 156 F.3d 578, 579-80 (5th Cir. 1998) (per curiam); Rosborough v. Mgmt. and Training Corp., 350 F.3d 459, 461 (5th Cir. 2003). Because Edwards 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 a 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.

         B. Edwards's claims regarding wrongful arrest and ...


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