The opinion of the court was delivered by: DICKINSON DEBEVOISE, Senior District Judge
Plaintiff Pierre Johnny Joseph, currently detained at the
Passaic County Jail in Paterson, New Jersey, seeks to bring this
action in forma pauperis. He alleges violations of his
constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 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 or about June 22, 2002, Plaintiff was arrested while waiting
for a ride on the street. According to the police report
submitted with the complaint, Plaintiff pointed to another man
when an undercover officer attempted to buy drugs from
him.*fn1 He was searched incident to the arrest and officers
confiscated $198.00 off his person.
Plaintiff insisted to officers that he had nothing to do with
the drug sale, and that it was all a big mistake, but the
officers told him to "explain that to the judge and good luck in
court." Plaintiff, along with the co-defendant, were charged with
various drug crimes. Plaintiff was indicted by a grand jury;
however, on April 11, 2003, all charges against him were
dismissed on motion of the prosecutor. According to Plaintiff the
dismissal was based upon the guilty plea and sentence of the
co-defendant who admitted that Plaintiff had not conspired with him. It appears that Plaintiff was incarcerated at some point or
the entire time between his arrest and the dismissal of charges.
Liberally construing the instant complaint, Plaintiff contends
that his due process rights were violated, he was falsely
arrested, illegally searched, maliciously prosecuted, and falsely
imprisoned. He states that due to the false charges and
incarceration he suffered irreparable injury and loss of
property, and pain and suffering.
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 ...