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Williams v. Soumilas

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

July 23, 2018

DAMON WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
ASSISTANT PROSECUTOR NEVAN SOUMILAS, et al., Defendants.

          Damon Williams, Petitioner pro se

          OPINION

          JEROME B. SIMANDLE U.S. District Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter comes before the Court on a civil rights complaint filed by Plaintiff Damon Williams. Docket Entry 1. At this time, the Court must review the complaint, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 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 reasons set forth below, the Court concludes that the complaint will be dismissed without prejudice with two exceptions that shall be dismissed with prejudice.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed this complaint against the Camden County Prosecutor's Office, the Camden County Sheriff's Department Identification Unit, Assistant Prosecutor Nevan Soumilas, and Record Support Technician (“RST”) Sheryl Klemowitz for perjury, subornation of perjury, and official misconduct. Complaint at 1.[1] Plaintiff indicates he is the defendant in Indictment 3823-12-14 wherein he was charged with robbing a Bank of America branch on August 13, 2014. According to Plaintiff, Assistant Prosecutor Soumilas submitted false evidence to the trial court in response to Plaintiff's motion to suppress the fingerprint evidence from the scene of the crime: a demand note with six partial prints. Id. He also alleges that Assistant Prosecutor Soumilas purposefully presented false evidence at trial through RST Klemowitz and Detective Fallon. Id. at 2. “[T]he deliberate deception of the court and jurors, the repeated inconsistencies in regard to the fingerprint evidence, and the perjury requires the assumption that these deceitful action refer to somemore, [sic] and calls into question the good faith of Assistant Prosecutor Soumilas, my arrest, and this fingerprint evidence which was the probable cause of my arrest.” Id.

         Plaintiff asks that a criminal complaint be filed against Assistant Prosecutor Soumilas and RST Klemowitz and that an investigation be conducted into his case. Id. at 3.

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A. Standards for a Sua Sponte Dismissal

         Per the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L. No. 104-134, §§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to 1321-77 (April 26, 1996) (“PLRA”), district courts must review complaints in those civil actions in which a prisoner is proceeding in forma pauperis, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), seeks redress against a governmental employee or entity, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), or brings a claim with respect to prison conditions, see 42 U.S.C. § 1997e. The PLRA directs district courts to sua sponte dismiss any claim that is frivolous, is 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. This action is subject to sua sponte screening for dismissal under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 because Plaintiff is a prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis.

         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)); see also United States v. Day, 969 F.2d 39, 42 (3d Cir. 1992). According to the Supreme Court's decision in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, “a pleading that offers ‘labels or conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'” 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). To survive sua sponte screening for failure to state a claim[2], the complaint must allege “sufficient factual matter” to show that the claim is facially plausible. Fowler v. UPMS Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Fair Wind Sailing, Inc. v. Dempster, 764 F.3d 303, 308 n.3 (3d Cir. 2014) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). Moreover, while pro se pleadings are liberally construed, “pro se litigants still must allege sufficient facts in their complaints to support a claim.” Mala v. Crown Bay Marina, Inc., 704 F.3d 239, 245 (3d Cir. 2013) (citation omitted) (emphasis added).

         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 ...

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