The opinion of the court was delivered by: JEROME SIMANDLE, District Judge
Plaintiff David Bankes, a/k/a David Banks, a prisoner currently
confined at South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton, New Jersey,
seeks to bring this action in forma pauperis pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his constitutional rights.
Based on his affidavit of indigence and the absence of three
qualifying dismissals within 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g), the Court will
grant Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) and order the Clerk of the Court
to file the Complaint. At this time, the Court must review the Complaint to determine
whether it should be dismissed as frivolous or malicious, for
failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or
because it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune
from such relief.
The following factual allegations are taken from Plaintiff's
Complaint and are accepted as true for purposes of this review.
On February 26, 2003, Plaintiff was arrested pursuant to a
warrant that he alleges was defective. The arresting police
officer was Defendant Steven Felice, and the court officer
signing the warrant was Defendant Jeanne DuBois, the City of
Millville Court Administrator. The Court construes this as a
allegation that Plaintiff was arrested without probable cause and
was unlawfully detained pursuant to that arrest. Plaintiff was
later convicted of some or all of the charges pursuant to a
Plaintiff also alleges that the Hon. Richard Geiger, of the
Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Cumberland County,
named as a defendant here, refused to permit him to withdraw his
guilty plea due to the defects in the arrest warrant. Plaintiff
asserts that the refusal to permit him to withdraw his guilty
plea violates Plaintiff's right to due process, under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and his right
under the Sixth Amendment to a jury determination of his guilt.
Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages, expungement
of the criminal conviction, and immediate release. All Defendants
are sued in their individual and official capacities.
II. STANDARDS FOR A SUA SPONTE DISMISSAL
This Court must dismiss, at the earliest practicable time,
certain in forma pauperis and prisoner actions that are
frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim, or seek monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) (in forma pauperis actions);
28 U.S.C. § 1915A (actions in which prisoner seeks redress from a
governmental defendant); 42 U.S.C. § 1997e (prisoner actions
brought with respect to prison conditions).
In determining the sufficiency of a pro se complaint, the
Court must be mindful to construe it liberally in favor of the
plaintiff. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972);
United States v. Day, 969 F.2d 39, 42 (3d Cir. 1992). The Court
must "accept as true all of the allegations in the complaint and
all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom, and view
them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Morse v.
Lower Merion School Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997). The
Court need not, however, credit a pro se plaintiff's "bald
assertions" or "legal conclusions." Id.
A pro se complaint may be dismissed for failure to state a
claim only if it appears "`beyond doubt that the plaintiff can
prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle
him to relief.'" Haines, 404 U.S. at 521 (quoting Conley v.
Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)); Milhouse v. Carlson,
652 F.2d 371, 373 (3d Cir. 1981). Where a complaint can be remedied
by an amendment, a district court may not dismiss the complaint
with prejudice, but must permit the amendment. Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 34 (1992); Grayson v. Mayview State
Hospital, 293 F.3d 103, 108 (3d Cir. 2002) (dismissal pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)); Shane v. Fauver, 213 F.3d 113,
116-17 (3d Cir. 2000) (dismissal pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1)); Urrutia v. Harrisburg County Police Dept.,
91 F.3d 451, 453 (3d Cir. 1996).
III. SECTION 1983 ACTIONS
A plaintiff may have a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
for certain violations of his constitutional rights. Section 1983
provides in relevant part:
Every person who, under color of any statute,
ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State
or Territory . . . subjects, or causes to be
subjected, any citizen of the United States or other
person within the jurisdiction thereof to the
deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities
secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable
to the party injured in an action at law, suit in
equity, or other proper proceeding for redress. . . . Thus, to state a claim for relief under § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege, first, the violation of a right secured by the
Constitution or laws of the United States and, second, that the
alleged deprivation ...