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SANCHEZ v. GONZALEZ

August 16, 2005.

ANTHONY SANCHEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
OFC. M. GONZALEZ, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBERT KUGLER, Magistrate Judge

OPINION

Plaintiff Anthony Sanchez is currently confined at the Camden County Correctional Facility, Camden, New Jersey. Plaintiff seeks to bring this action in forma pauperis pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and alleges violations of his constitutional rights.

  At this time, the Court must review the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A 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.

  BACKGROUND

  Plaintiff, a pretrial detainee, states that on January 24, 2005, he was illegally stopped and searched without probable cause by defendant Officer M. Gonzalez. In particular, he states:
1-24-05 Officer M. Gonzalez #1249, stoped [sic] and searched me in violation of my 4th Amendment Constitutional Right and retrieved a handgun. This officer did not have probable cause to search me. To my knowledge, there was no calls or complaints made about a suspect with a gun. There is nothing to justify this officer's actions, which would warrant probable cause to be searched.
  Plaintiff further states that the Camden County Prosecutor's Office and defendant Vincent Sarubbi, the Camden County Prosecutor, violated his civil rights by failing to provide him a speedy trial, and by denying him a probable cause hearing under New Jersey law.

  He asks the Court to order a probable cause hearing in his state criminal case.

  DISCUSSION

  A. Standard of Review

  In 1996, Congress enacted the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), Title VIII of the Omnibus Consolidated Rescissions and Appropriations Act of 1996, Pub.L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (April 26, 1996). Congress's purpose in enacting the PLRA was "primarily to curtail claims brought by prisoners under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Federal Tort Claims Act . . . many of which are routinely dismissed as legally frivolous." Santana v. United States, 98 F.3d 752, 755 (3d Cir. 1996). A crucial part of the congressional plan for curtailing meritless prisoner suits is the requirement, embodied in 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), that a court must dismiss, at the earliest practicable time, any prisoner actions that are frivolous or malicious, fail to state a claim, or seek monetary relief from immune defendants.

  When determining the sufficiency of a complaint, the Court must be mindful to construe it liberally in favor of the plaintiff. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972); United States v. Day, 969 F.2d 39, 42 (3d Cir. 1992). The Court should "accept as true all of the allegations in the complaint and 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, lend credit to 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 520 (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)); Milhouse v. Carlson, 652 F.2d 371, 373 (3d Cir. 1981).

  B. 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 laws or Constitution of the United States and, second, ...

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