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TRAVIS MENDEZ v. COUNTY OF MIDDLESEX

November 29, 2010

TRAVIS MENDEZ,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
COUNTY OF MIDDLESEX, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joel A. Pisano United States District Judge

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

APPEARANCES:

Travis Mendez, Pro Se 384716 Essex County Correctional Facility 354 Doremus Avenue Newark, NJ 07105 PISANO, District Judge

Plaintiff, Travis Mendez, is currently confined as an immigration detainee at the Essex County Correctional Facility, Newark, New Jersey. Plaintiff seeks to bring this action in forma pauperis, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, for violations of his constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

At this time, the Court must review the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) 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. For the following reasons, the complaint will be dismissed.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff seeks to challenge his guilty plea, which resulted in a criminal conviction and removal proceedings against him. He states that he was never informed of the immigration consequences when he pled guilty. He is now subject to deportation. Plaintiff recently filed a post-conviction relief motion in state court to challenge his plea, which was denied in August of 2010. Plaintiff does not indicate whether or not he appealed the denial.

Plaintiff does not ask for monetary relief. He asks for a stay of his deportation order, and for this Court to order that his guilty plea be vacated.

DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

The Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), Pub. L. No. 104-134, §§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to 1321-77 (April 26, 1996), requires a district court to review a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner is proceeding in forma pauperis or seeks redress against a governmental employee or entity. The Court is required to identify cognizable claims and to sua sponte dismiss any claim that is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A. This action is subject to sua sponte screening for dismissal under both 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) because plaintiff is proceeding as an indigent.

In determining the sufficiency of a pro se complaint, the Court must be mindful to construe it liberally in favor of the plaintiff. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93-94 (2007) (following Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976) and Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972)). See also 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.

Recently, the Supreme Court refined this standard for summary dismissal of a complaint that fails ...


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