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Jackson v. Daniels

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

March 27, 2019

DASHAUN JAMIL JACKSON, Plaintiff,
v.
JUDGE WILLIAM DANIELS et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          KEVIN MCNULTY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff, Dashaun Jamil Jackson, is presently detained at the Union County Jail in Elizabeth New Jersey. He commenced this action pro se[1] by filing a civil rights complaint, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, on December 21, 2018, at which time he paid the requisite filing fee in full. (DE 1.) The Court now undertakes an initial screening of the complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         II. ALLEGATIONS

         Mr. Jackson lists as defendants Judge William Daniels of the New Jersey Superior Court, Union County, and Michael A. Monahan, the acting prosecutor of Union County. He makes clear that he is alleging a violation of his right to counsel under the Sixth Amendment, though the circumstances of the alleged violation are not clear from the complaint. The facts section of the form complaint reads, in full,

My son on 11/13/2018 was told by Judge Daniels that he must have an attorney, and that he claimed that he didnt received his affidavit that was mailed certified and received by him on 10/16/2018. Stating that my son was representing himself in propria persona (natural person) and claiming his common law rights. Salina Burton (10/01/2018& 11/13/2018 and Sonya Jackson Bey (11/13/2018) was in the courtroom and saw and heard eveything that happened. Also the court transcripts is evidence. Please see attachment in detail.

(DE 1 ¶ IV.D).[2] The Court's copy of the complaint has no attachment. Mr. Jackson seeks as relief $100, 000 from each defendant, as well as $5000 per day since June 27, 2018. It seems that he also seeks the dismissal and expungement of all charges against him and his immediate release from the Union County Jail.

         III. LEGAL STANDARDS

         Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L. 104-134, §§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to 1321-77 (Apr. 26, 1996) ("PLRA"), district courts must review prisoner complaints when the prisoner seeks redress against a governmental employee or entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under the PLRA, the term prisoner applies to "any person incarcerated or detained in any facility who is accused of, convicted of, sentenced for, or adjudicated delinquent for, violations of criminal law or the terms and conditions of parole, probation, pretrial release, or diversionary program." 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(c). The PLRA directs district courts to sua sponte dismiss prisoner claims that are frivolous or malicious, that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See id.

         The legal standard for dismissing a complaint for failure to state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A is the same as that for dismissing a complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Courteau v. United States, 287 Fed.Appx. 159, 162 (3d Cir. 2008). Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, a complaint must include "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The Supreme Court has explained that, "[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell All. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)); see also Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009). "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." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; see also Fair Wind Sailing, Inc. v. Dempster, 764 F.3d 303, 308 n.3 (3d Cir. 2014). "A pleading that offers 'labels and conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'" Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

         Pro se pleadings, as always, will be liberally construed. See Raines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); Glunk v. Noone, 689 Fed.Appx. 137, 139 (3d Cir. 2017). Nevertheless, "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).

         A plaintiff may have a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for certain violations of his constitutional rights. That section provides,

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, 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, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer's judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable.

42 U.S.C. § 1983. To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege, first, the violation of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States, and second, that the alleged deprivation was committed or caused by a person acting under color of state law. See Harvey v. Plains Twp. Police Dep't,635 ...


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