United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Edwards, Plaintiff Pro Se
E. THOMPSON U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Mack Edwards' ("Plaintiff”) civil
rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Complaint, Docket Entry 1. 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. For the reasons set forth below, the Court concludes
that the complaint will be dismissed. Plaintiff shall be
granted leave to file an amended complaint.
brings this civil rights action against New Jersey Superior
Court Judge Robert Billmeier, Assistant Mercer County
Prosecutor Michael Grillo, Assistant Mercer County Prosecutor
Michelle Gasparian, Detective Mercello Masseroni, Mercer
County Correctional Center ("MCCC") Warden Charles
Ellis, and MCCC Deputy Warden Phyllis Oliver. The following
factual allegations are taken from the complaint and are
accepted for purposes of this screening only. The Court has
made no findings as to the truth of Plaintiffs allegations.
states he was arrested by the Trenton Police on murder
charges in January 2011. Complaint ¶ 18. He was placed
in the MCCC in approximately March 2011. Id.
According to Plaintiff, Judge Billmeier ordered Plaintiff to
be removed from general population on October 4, 2016 as the
Mercer County Prosecutor's Office had charged him with
witness tampering. Id. Plaintiff alleges Judge
Billmeier ordered him to be placed in solitary confinement
and for his phone communications, visits, and incoming and
outgoing mail to be suspended. Id. ¶ 19.
cell was searched by a Mercer County Prosecutor's Office
detective pursuant to a warrant on October 6 and 16, 2016.
Id. ¶ 20. The detective seized discovery
material from Plaintiffs criminal case in addition to all of
Plaintiff s personal effects. Id. Plaintiff
complained to Judge Billmeier, and the judge ordered the
return of the discovery material. Id. ¶ 21.
Plaintiff states he never received any of the material back
from the prosecutor's office or the MCCC. Id.
alleges that Judge Billmeier's order only permitted
visits from Plaintiffs daughter. The order did not permit any
other family member to accompany her. Id. ¶ 22.
He further alleges he was only afforded limited access to his
attorney and all phone calls and visits had to be conducted
in Deputy Warden Oliver's presence. Id.
makes various allegations about being denied access to the
courts due to insufficient legal supplies, access to his
attorney, and interference with his legal mail. Id.
¶¶ 26-28. He asserts Warden Ellis and Deputy Warden
Oliver confiscated his mail and did not comply with prison
procedures regarding confiscated mail. Id.
¶¶ 28-29. He further claims personal items were
seized from his cell and were used as evidence in his trial.
Id. ¶¶ 30-32.
raises claims of malicious prosecution, unlawful search and
seizure, interference with his access to the courts, perjury,
and negligent failure to protect. In addition to monetary
damages, he asks the Court to order the Mercer County
Prosecutor's Office to "[r]emove all perjured
testimony from the records of the Grand Jury Proceeding in
the Tampering with a Witness case" and "[r]emove
tampered evidence and all derivative evidence that was
recovered for the violation involving defendants Grillo, and
Gasparian." Id. at 13(B)(2) & (4)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Standards for a Sua Sponte Dismissal
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(e)(2)(b) because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma
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,
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).
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). Although pro se
pleadings are liberally construed, plaintiffs "still
must allege sufficient facts in their complaints ...